GWAR’s punky thrash is still punctuated with plenty of ridiculousness.
Review by David Feltman
There’s something comically loveable about GWAR. Like a pre-pubescent fantasy of nerdy awesomeness, the band wallows in the oversized “metal-ness” of blood, monster costumes and half-nude women. Staging barbeques, art gallery shows and ritual sacrifices, the self-aware metalistas have kept their shtick offensive and light-hearted for over a quarter of a century.
Almost a year after the passing of Cory Smoot, GWAR returns with its 13th studio album, Battle Maximus. Cannabis Corpse guitarist Brent Purgason fills Smoot’s spot dutifully. Smoot’s blazing thrash style is often cited as raising the band from a goofy novelty to a solid, if not always serious, metal band and Purgason handles the signature sound with ease. In fact, the album’s central concept revolves around how Purgason won the right to join GWAR by waging the titular Battle Maximus. The title track is little more than a three-and-a-half-minute showcase for his shredding prowess.
GWAR’s punky thrash is still punctuated with plenty of ridiculousness. Song titles like “Madness at the Core of Time,” “Triumph of the Pig Children” and “Raped at Birth” should tell you all you need to know. The band doesn’t seem interested in experimenting or reinventing itself so much as just staying relevant and proving it’s capable of doing what it’s always done. What it’s always done is still entertaining, but it would be nice to see a band known for dressing as crazy blood-drenched monsters do something a little unexpected once in a while.