• GWAR – Scumdogs Of The Universe 30th Anniversary Edition (Pit Records) Album Review

    Released by: Pit Records
    Released on: October 30th, 2020
    Purchase From Amazon

    Released in 1990 originally on Metal Blade records, two years after their debut album Hell-O, GWAR’s Scumdogs Of The Universe celebrates three decades of existence this year and to celebrate our lords and masters have seen fit that this seminal classic from their ever-expanding discography by remixed and remastered by Ronan Chris Murphy. The end results, we’re told, sound “the way the Scumdogs intended you to hear it!”

    Made up, at this point, of the late, great Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie – may he rest in peace) on lead vocals, Flattus Maximus (Dewey Rowell) on lead guitar, Balsac The Jaws Of Death (Mike Derks) on rhythm guitar, Beefcake The Mighty (Michael Bishop) on bass and Jizmak Da Gusha (Brad Roberts) on drums, Scumdogs remains a fan favorite and for good reason.

    The album opens with a serious fucking ripper, The Salaminizer, a raging four-minute thrash attack with a killer riff and a seriously ominous opening laugh from Oderus. It’s fast, it’s furious and it’s tight, a perfect way to open an album that still stands as the band’s most popular and recognizable effort.

    From there, we get the classic Maggots, it’s a great track that opens with the sound of a buzzing fly and that lets Oderus get downright guttural with the vocal delivery and again, the riffing on the track is not only instantly recognizable but catchy as Hell.

    From there, we get Sick Of You, an important track for the band as it got played on MTV and Much Music, giving a lot of fans their first glimpse at GWAR’s increasingly ambitious and profane stage show. Slaughterama, which introduced the world to GWAR’s manger, Sleazy P. Martini (who handles the vocals), follows, its mock game show vibe proving to be pretty hilarious and taking on a few different subcultures all at once. Both of these tracks do a great job of showcasing the band’s sense of humor.

    The Years Without Light is a darker track for sure, as are both King Queen (which features some wild vocal back and forth from Oderus, who seems to be doing a duet with himself here – totally fitting, given the track’s subject matter!) and Horror Of Yig (which uses a sample of that that famous Marlon Brando quote from Apocalypse Now over bagpipes to get things moving!), though they shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

    Things get comical again with, the next track, Vlad The Impaler, where Oderus pontificates about how the man who became Dracula should have been a sailor (hey, sailor rhymes with impaler so it makes total sense). Black And Huge is about fucking, but a lot of GWAR songs are about fucking - but this one some porn star style moaning throughout the track and some rad porno boogie style soundtrack music in the opening before it takes its foot off the brakes and goes for it.

    Love Surgery and Death Pod are, just like everything else on the record, remarkably solid tracks with some creative and bizarre songwriting really showcasing GWAR at the height of their powers. Sexecutioner gets Oderus off lead vocals so that Sexecutioner himself can take over in what is basically an unhinged rant about the lengths to which that character’s perversions can go. Bend over and let Sexy take over already! The album closes out with Cool Place To Park, again with Oderus off the mic and Beefcake The Mighty handling lead vocals (Oderus would play bass sometimes when the band did this live). His singing style is completely different than Oderus’ more recognizable style, but it works as he screeches his way to the album’s close.

    As to how this new mix sounds? The drums and the guitar playing is much higher in the mix, and the vocals are mixed down a bit. This gives an already ridiculously aggressive album an even more aggressive sound. Those used to the original mix may be taken back a bit when they hear this new version but give it a few spins and it just might start to grow on you. Will it replace the original version? Not for me, but it does make a really nice companion piece to it, even if it’s a shame that they didn’t go all out and throw some bonus tracks in the mix (if you want to spring for the expensive vinyl collector’s edition you do get a cassette loaded with demos, but… it’s a cassette).

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      You know that I'm not a super-GWAR fan, though I respect a lot of what they did, but this album is fucking STELLAR. I remember playing it for my ex-wife when we were married, and she loved it....always thought GWAR was a death metal band. Killer album.

      I'll give the remaster a chance if it shows up on der streamsitens.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      So, I gave it a lesson, and your assessment is pretty bang on. I'll stick to the original mix.
    1. Darcy Parker's Avatar
      Darcy Parker -
      *foot off the brakes