Friday, September 29, 2017

Gwar : "the Blood of Gods"

You may or may not know that Gwar used to be one of my favorite band's in High school. I think I checked out after "This Toilet Earth" as the song writing took a dive after that. Hard to imagine the band going on without Oderus. Blothar the new singer, is the old Beefcake the Mighty taking on a new mantel. So they promoted from within. I can deal with this better than if it was some new guy they just brought in.The new sound does take some getting used to even though, he did handle the vocals on the song "Nice Place to Park". So his voice is not totally alien. It does have more of a Blackie Lawless like metal quality which does help them out when it comes time to cover "If You Want Blood". This album needed a few listens before I could connect the changes.  It with a much more straight ahead metal feel in the vein of mid 80s thrash.  "Viking Death Machine" might touch on their punk roots , but it is a more rock n roll song.

It's not until we get to "El Presidente"  the band connects with who they really are, not matter who is wearing what costume. There get back into more of West Coast 80s rock thing on "I'll Be Your Monster". It has punk drive to it , but is rock n roll at it's heart. "Auroch" is more metal, but moves at more of a punk speed. Didn't really wow me. This is a case where much like Black Sabbath, Dio is technically the better singer, but Ozzy has a charisma to his voice that wins you over. The same could be said by the void being filled here, though I was a little disappointed by the AC/DC cover at the end because through out the album we are getting some raspy rock yelps that made me think he could do a good Bon Scott, but he doesn't go for it. One such moment is his performance on "Swarm" has a classic metal feel and the song overall is a better balance of these foot on the monitor rock moments with who Gwar is as a band.

Sawborg's is better than some of Techno Destructo's moments on earlier albums.The more theatrical elements of their brand of story telling are in place on "Death to Dickie Duncan" which is a about a mascot of  some fast food chain. They go full on thrash for "Crushed By the Cross" which musically reminds me of that time period post "This Toilet Earth" that I was not as into. The thrash vibe returns going into "Fuck This Place" though it stays more on the metal side of the fence than punk. "Phantom Limb" is a power ballad that is an ode to Oderus Urungus. It's one of the album's better songs. At the end of the day it's a fun listen, it might fall short of "Scumdogs" or  "America Must Be Destroyed" , but it's much better than some of the bands less inspired albums of the 00s. So I'll give it a 9.

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