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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

GWAR

Bloody Pit of Horror

Review by Gary Hill

When you get a GWAR album, you pretty much know what you’ll be getting. Their form of sonic theater is sure to offend many, but it should be no real surprise. The thing is, if you write them off as just a gimmick band and assume that to mean they don’t have talent, you are in for a big shock. The group play relentless metal, but it’s also full of clever musical changes and bits. This isn’t just simplistic music. In fact, it’s about as far from it as you can get.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Zombies, March

The opening section here is a paraphrase of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, of all bands. That reference comes from the lyrics “Welcome once again / To the bloody pit my friends / We’re so glad you could attend / Come and die, come and die.” That is played over frantic technical metal, but the song just keeps changing from there. It’s an extreme metal thrasher in the fine tradition of GWAR. There’s even a section later that combines a ZZ Top sort of groove with the GWAR sound.

Come the Carnivor
A slower moving number, this feels a lot like Viking metal. It’s a great change from the fury of the opener.
A Gathering of Ghouls
Metalcore is the order of the day here. The chorus section has a more accessible tone, though, feeling closer to old school thrash. This is extreme and furious. It is also quite a short song that seems to run straight into the next one.
Storm is Coming
As much as it conveys a raw metal sound, this is far from simple. It works through a number of changes and in many ways has operatic and symphonic elements in terms of the musical score – but not in the arrangement.
Tick-Tits
What can you say about that title that hasn’t already been said? It’s a pretty typical piece of GWAR aggression musically. This isn’t bad, but it doesn’t stand up that well compared to the music around it.
Beat You to Death
This feels a lot like Iron Fist era Motorhead with a GWAR twist. It gets decidedly aggressive and raw.
You are my Meat
A tribute to cannibalism, this starts off as a ballad and holds that motif for a time. It powers out into slow moving metal that has a lot in common with Candlemass later. They drop it back to the mellow for a little instrumental section and more vocals. The cut runs straight into the next number.
Hail, Genocide!
Frantic speedcore is the order of the day on this one. It’s another monster of a track.
KZ Necromancer
While there are no huge musical alterations here, there is some cool Metallica like riffing at times. Hints of psychedelia emerge occasionally, too.
The Litany of the Slain
Based on a slow moving but rather twisty kind of jam, the vocal arrangement really steals the show here.
Sick and Twisted
Sometimes it’s amazing how GWAR can take something this raw and “sick and twisted” and make it feel somewhat familiar and accessible.
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