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GWAR return with first new song since the death of their guitarist

GWAR - Battle Maximus

There’s probably a fair amount of you out there that are familiar with notorious shock group GWAR, and not necessarily because of their music. Whether it’s because you saw their wide reaching, and hilarious chat show appearances, or heard stories about their unruly live shows, or even just follow their outspoken and often inappropriate frontman, Oderus Urungus, as he partakes in his latest bout of controversy baiting. Whether he’s mocking recent events in the news (such as the trials of Tim Lambesis and Randy Blythe), or just being a loveable asshole about current events, you’ve probably laughed at something he’s said, and then been subsequently appalled at yourself.

Well, for those of you who may not know, GWAR started as a punk band from Canada, and over time they built a strong reputation for their live shows, costumes and maniacal behaviour. Eventually, they morphed from a more straightforward punk act and rode the nu metal wave for a little while. When that died, they just did whatever the fuck they wanted, and earned the catch it all label of “Avant Garde” as songs would switch to the next with barely a resemblance between them. Eventually, they settled back into their punky roots, but with a thrash metal twist, and that’s where they’ve stayed, comfortably creating solid, but unremarkable thrashcore for a while now. Really, GWAR have got to a point where the music plays second fiddle to their overarching concept and comedic narrative. Saying that though, their last album, Bloody Pit Of Horror was a decent slab of space tinged thrash core that was critically well received.

GWAR’s line-up is often very unstable, with musicians switching out on a pretty regular basis and taking on new characters or new versions of characters within the band’s long-running space narrative. However, disaster struck at the end of 2011 when long time guitarist Cory Smoot sadly died while on tour. It was a shocking and critical blow for the band (I’d only seen them the week before and had the pleasure of meeting Smoot), but now, they’re finally back with a new replacement character. In the band Smoot played a character called Flattus Maximus and this album is dedicated to him. I think it’s encouraging that GWAR can return from such a crippling blow with a spring in their step and a smile on their faces. Despite the tragic nature of proceedings, they’re still able to twist it into their comedic, over-arching narrative. and have fun with it. Here’s what warty alien frontman Oderus Urungus has to say about all this:

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This album is both a tribute to Flattus and a telling of the next chapter in the story of GWAR,” said warty front-thing Oderus Urungus. “The combo of the brand new album and show should satisfy even the most hardcore Flattus devotee with the fact that GWAR’s slay-skills are as supreme as ever, and the band stands poised to embark on our most earth-shattering world tour yet. We have mourned, we have honored, and now it’s time to fucking DEVASTATE in the name of Flattus and the supreme entity that is GWAR.”

“This is our first record in our brand-new Slave Pit Studios, which Flattus had a lead role in designing, but without him we had no one left to twiddle the buttons, much less play the blazing metal leads and provide the musical direction that rescued GWAR from the depths of clown-band obscurity. I mean, Balsac is no slouch, but Flattus’ departure left a huge hole in our band. We had no choice. We had to blow the Horn of Hate…”

The Horn of Hate you say? What on earth is that when it’s at home? Well, the band describe it best in their press release as:

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The Horn of Hate is an ancient Slave Pit contraption that summons all the Scumdogs in the Universe in the unlikely event that one of them is killed in battle, disintegrated, or becomes a Mormon. As the cosmic tones echoed throughout the universe (which unfortunately sounds like a giant duck-fart), the Maximus tribe answered the call by travelling to Earth to wage the mighty “Battle Maximus”, a musical trial-by-combat for the right to follow in the footsteps of Flattus. When the dust had settled, but one Scumdog remained standing…the zit-encrusted and undeniably shred-tastic Pustulus Maximus.

All I can say is, Thank God that they have a defence against Mormonism. That’s that then. Flattus Maximus has been officially retired and replaced by his pus filled relative, Pustulus Maximus (Brent Purgason of Cannabis Corpse fame). Pustulus had to say about this divine honour:

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“It is a highlight of my corpse-littered life to join my Scumdog brothers and continue the legendary legacy of the Maximus clan. I am not so happy that Oderus vandalized my space-ship, effectively marooning me on Earth, but fuck it…it’s time to ROCK!”

Battle Maximus will see GWAR tackle their deadliest threat yet, an intergalactic being called Mr. Perfect, who’s hellbent on mutating the human race to fit his warped ideology of the “perfect” person. GWAR of course, can’t let that happen as it’s their job to destroy the human race! Not some other space faring shit kicker!

GWAR released the first track from Battle Maximus, called “Madness At The Core Of Time” and it’s a pretty straight forward and relatively uninspiring number. Seemingly more aggressive, but less focused than usual, it lacks the catchiness and memorable hooks that often make GWAR songs so much fun, instead just kind of blazing through a somewhat bland thrash piece. There’s clearly a lot of fingerwork at play here, but it does little to impress. Hopefully, the full album is better.

Here’s the tracklist for Battle Maximus:

01. Intro
02. Madness at the Core of Time
03. Bloodbath
04. Nothing Left Alive
05. They Swallowed the Sun
06. Torture
07. Raped at Birth
08. I, Bonesnapper
09. Mr. Perfect
10. Battle Maximus
11. Triumph of the Pig Children
12. Falling
13. Fly Now

GWAR are about to head on tour and promise the perfect tribute to Smoot with their most controversial and epic stage show yet. If you’re a fan of GWAR, you’d be a fool to miss it.

Battle Maximus will be released on September 17th via Metal Blade Records

What do you guys think? Are you glad to see GWAR return? Do you like the new song? Do you appreciate their sense of humour during this difficult time? Sound off in the comments!

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