Gwar - "Violence Has Arrived"
(Metal Blade 2001, 3984-14374-2)
From Aural Innovations #20 (July 2002)
US hardcore legends Gwar's latest offering is yet another over-the-top LSD casualty gorefest of more bloody and barbaric warrior metal, the classic band still catering to the slightly more bizarre or even the more light hearted among us still serving the annals of heavy metal and punk with dedication and revulsion beyond the call of duty. Still able to charm their fans and mascots alike with their trademark razor wit and over-the-top theatrics, their brutal and uncompromising attitude to all things corrupt a cure delivered in healthy doses of disgust and intelligence.
With Violence Has Arrived, the current Gwar lineup of Oderus Urungus (vocals), Flattus Maximus (guitar), Beefcake The Mighty (bass), Balsac The Jaws Of Death (guitar) and Jizmax Da Cusha (drums) seemingly effortlessly recall the energy and refreshing sound and concept of their classic 1984 debut "Hell-O!" as if they had never lost some of their classic sound in the latter half of the 90's in a kind of creative musical stagnation catering more and more to mainstream US metal without losing any respect, and in spite of healthy doses of crass political concern and comment intact, Gwar's long crusade against everything from censorship in the music industry to political corruption with uncompromising comment and brutally satirical bite unheard of in the mainstream hardcore scene since the glory days of The Dead Kennedys, making them a much loved institution of US hardcore and punk, Gwar in all their mighty presence and shocking genre approach and legend alone, probably only equalled in sheer notoriety in the US punk, metal and hardcore scene of the 80's and 90's by perhaps only the Misfits, Gwar as a cult phenomena and an institution which even includes movies and comic books, their incredible stage shows and over-the-top theatrics as always manage to deliver their own brand of the grotesque and the bizarre to anyone experienced or primitive enough, as superstars of the apocalypse and LSD wrestling heroes of the universe serving up their epic latex and leather clad warrior mythology of the icy north to their faithful legions of fans, acid casualties and other cultural fallout roaming the inner cities and suburban wastelands of modern America.
"Violence Has Arrived" heralds something of a welcome change in the typical Gwar tradition, their usually more crass or political brand of hardcore becoming strangely exotic and darkly underground with the more classic heavy metal or darker blackmetal tradition of fantasy with this album. Seemingly drowning in the ancient worlds of the medieval or even the strangely occult as the album's rather cryptic and oddly subtle approach to the traditional Gwar concept and sound becomes strangely entrenched in a lyrical subtlety and comfortable organic feel so welcomly bizarre in its almost weird and obscure nature, as the album's highlights like "Battle-Lust", "Abyss Of Woe", "Immortal Corruptor", "Beautious Rot", "Licksore", "Biledriver" and the closing "Happy Death-Day" carry Gwar's tales of beautiful women and ancient battlefields and stories of warrior thirst and pacts of honor on "Violence Has Arrived" to a farflung realm so exotic and bizarre it remains a treat of the hitherto so far unexplored by this band, Gwar barbarically battling onward in this new and primitive world of legend and myth which they seem to conjure into existence on "Violence Has Arrived". Housed in an incredibly eye-popping and mindblowing fantasy-style poster style cover painting so disturbing and so truly awesome, it portrays the bloodthirsty and battle weary Gwar, fully armored and bloodied in all their barbarian battle glory, posing victoriously in the lush primitive underground world this album somehow seems to portray, with Oderus Urungus carrying the ultimate spoils of war, an impaled naked dead chick slumped over his left shoulder... And what a highly recommended piece of exotic heavy metal "Violence Has Arrived" is too.
For more information you can visit the web stronghold of Gwar at: http://www.gwar.net.
Reviewed by Charlie Yuga