(This is Wil Cifer’s review of the new album by GWAR, whch will be released by Metal Blade Records on October 20.)
Their blood-drenched, cum-soaked live shows overshadowed the fact these guys had some good songs and made pretty killer albums up to, say, This Toilet Earth. They also used to be one of my favorite bands in high school, so the nostalgia runs deep. It also makes me proceed with caution knowing that they are carrying on without their lead singer Oderus Unrungus, whose human form Dave Brockie passed away in 2014. His voice fluctuated from a gruff punk-like bellow that could have come off of a Fear record to more of a growl or a croon.
I became more willing to give them a new shot when I learned that 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 has to grow on me even though he handled the vocals on the song “Nice Place to Park“. So his voice is not totally alien. It holds a Blackie Lawless-like edge. The songs on the new album typically carry a more straight-ahead metal feel in the vein of mid-’80s thrash, with songs like “Viking Death Machine” touching on their punk roots.