02. Madness At The Core Of Time
04. Nothing Left Alive
05. They Swallowed The Sun
07. Raped At Birth
08. I, Bonesnapper
09. Mr. Perfect
10. Battle Maximus
11. Triumph Of The Pig-Children
13. Fly Now
[Metal Blade Records]
It’s hard to review the new GWAR album without referencing the situation surrounding it. While it may be a little jarring to see these plastic clad aliens, complete with prosthetic penises and track names that include but are not limited to ‘Lust In Space‘, ‘Saddam A Go-Go‘ and ‘Womb With A View‘, undergo a truly tragic situation following the loss of long time guitarist Flattus Maximus (a.k.a Cory Smoot), it’s obvious to anyone that this record may have been a tough one to put together.
Thankfully, Battle Maximus, named in tribute of the late great Smoot, is another solid chapter in the colourful and illustrious career of GWAR. Tracks such as ‘Madness At The Core Of Time‘ and ‘Bloodbath‘ will dig at that particular craving previous fans of the band will have for metal that isn’t afraid to be absurd, while still being backed up by frantic punk-influenced thrashy metal. It maintains that sense of identity the band have always had — they’re distinctly grounded in metal but there’s no one quite like them.
New lead guitarist Pustulus Maximus (Brent Purgason of Cannabis Corpse) slots effortlessly into the band with a whole collection of winding riffs and solos spattered over the album. All those years of pedaling dank grimy death metal have honed his playing into a formidable force and when combined with the always rock-solid approach of rhythm guitarist Balzac, it becomes a potent combination. See lone instrumental ‘Battle Maximus‘ for solid evidence.
Most importantly, the band’s twisted sense of humour is on full display here. ‘Raped At Birth‘ is sure raise the heads of a few first time listeners, not familiar the deranged topics the band has covered before, and ‘Bloodbath‘ contains some joyful verses such as:
Then out of the blue some homeless dude came hurtling through space
He had the most satisfied expression on his face
As if to say “in this last moment I am truly free”
Then the dude exploded on the street right in front of me
Oderus Urungus pens some sincerely sick little stories and Battle Maximus is no different. It’s no secret that much of what GWAR does is a part of the bigger picture, which is their infamous live show, and I can easily see much of this album fitting in seamlessly in a live setting — blood and jizz cannons included.
In all, Battle Maximus doesn’t aim to be anything more than a GWAR album, but it does aim to be a damn good one and easily hits that mark. Their career long transformation from a metal-influenced punk band to punk-influenced metal band has found themselves an irreplaceable niche carved ten miles deep at this point and if, thirteen albums in, you’re still producing great material come hell or high water then you deserve your place as a cornerstone of metal.
GWAR’s Battle Maximus gets…