GWAR still diving to the depths of depravity
By Joey Cutler
Thousands of years ago, a rogue group of extraterrestrials were imprisoned deep inside the glaciers of Antarctica. Once the ozone layer was breached and the global warming began, those glaciers began to melt and the alien monsters were set free to wreak havoc on planet Earth. They commandeered some instruments, made the United States their new home, and then began a twenty-five year plus onslaught on the aural and visual senses of the human inhabitants of the planet. They are … GWAR.
Now, in the year 2013, they are in the midst of a tour that will take them around the world to support their 13th studio album, “Battle Maximus”. They’ve just had their annual “GWAR-B-Q” – with “more great bands than ever,” says frontman, Oderus Urungus – including the GWAR side project, X-Cops.
The band is entering a brand new phase of their endless quest for world domination.
“We’ve built a brand new studio down in Antarctica that you can access most easily through a vortex hole we’ve created. It takes you right there,” Urungus said. Though, he admits, the experience might be a bit more distressful on the frame of the “puny” human body.
Slave Pit Studio, as it has been named, was largely the work of GWAR’s guitar player Cory Smoot, who had donned the iconic Flattus Maximus outfit from 2002 until his untimely death in 2011. Urungus explains, “We had to put a call out to the Maximus universe to send us another worthy Maximus.” Enter Pustulus Maximus.
“The new Maximus is revolting, offensive, repugnant, downright horrendous. He’s a perfect fit,” Urungus said.
With the personnel altered by one, the band has employed a musical approach that goes back to their earlier days of a more straight-forward thrash metal band. GWAR are taking their revamped sound and setting off on another tour of conquest worldwide. “We will be murdering the usual cast of celebrity victims, as we have always done,” Urungus says of the show. But they will not be summoning either of the world-eating maggots – huge fan favorites – this time around, as he goes on to explain, “They are both tremendous and terrible creatures. One is about half the size of a human football field and the other is the size of Clevelandand that fu*ker can eat suns!”
Since the maggot would, theoretically, be their ride back to their original home, they’ll be sticking around for a while longer. Besides, they admit to growing fond of this “helpless human race and the huge turd ball that is Earth” over time. With that, GWAR embarks on a brand new chapter in their evolution. Armed with a new home studio, thunderous new album, and new addition to introduce to the masses, GWAR Mark II is GO!
Since 1984 GWAR has consistently continued to amaze those naysayers that had initially dubbed them a novelty act. From the melted glaciers of Antarctica, aka Richmond, Va., GWAR has unfailingly managed to create some of the most depraved and offensive music and live performances humanly, or rather, inhumanly, possible. Not to mention a legion of rabid devotees along the way.
This marks studio record number 13 for this clan of delightfully perverse, otherworldly monsters. Once again, GWAR have succeeded in releasing an album worthy of playing at maximum volume to wreak sonic havoc on the auditory senses of the willing, and unwilling. “Battle Maximus” has turned out to be one of their most brutal, and significant, albums in several years as it is the first studio album without original character – and fan favorite – Flattus Maximus, due to the untimely passing of guitarist Cory Smoot. Following this terribly unfortunate loss, a new creature, Pustulus Maximus has become a new addition.
“Battle Maximus” is the first of their studio records to be recorded in their own Slave Pit Studios, which Flattus was quite instrumental in designing. At this point, it must be said that the sound of “Battle Maximus” is quite a fierce sound indeed. And more importantly, the songs are absolutely incredible. Think about something like Hell-O, (dare it even be said) Scumdogs of the Universe, and America Must be Destroyed, with a tinge of mid-eighties Sacred Reich-Surf Nicaragua era. Battle Maximus is, at its core, a really damn good thrash record. Having said that, fans of those first few albums that might’ve fallen by the wayside should really take some of their precious time and rediscover what these unearthly creatures have to show for themselves this time around.
“Battle Maximus” – in part, a tribute to Flattus Maximus – is a fantastic example of the kind of first-rate intensity that not only put GWAR on the map, but enabled them to endure and remain viable over the past 20+ years and through countless vacant trends. In addition to being a genuinely impressive release, “Battle Maximus” sounds like the turning of a brand new page for this band of hellish fiends that should not be ignored.