Lords and Masters of the Kill-Core and Horror Punk Domain
GWAR’s been at it for a while now; just about 26 years of outlandish sci-fi costumes, gory stage antics and hardcore thrash metal punk rock to back it up. It’s not for everyone, but it is definitely for some. Sometimes, there’s nothing more boring than a bunch of long-haired white men screaming at the top of their lungs and slamming on instruments to whip an angst-ridden male audience into a vicious moshpit. Tiresome, to say the least. Do something different! Provoke! Be imaginative! Wear the craziest damn costumes you could possibly come up with and simulate decapitations and trot out political figures to destroy! If nothing can be said about GWAR’s longevity or their records, what CAN be said is that they are far from boring.
2009’s Lust in Space is their most recent story. It can be a little disorienting to wrap your head around the entire “GWARnogrpahy,” but unlike Coheed and Cambria, whose mythic multi-album metal opera falls flat on its face, each GWAR record tells a silly story. Here, GWAR steal a Scumdog ship and do their best to leave Earth, where “Bloodstained tomb, beer-cans and piss” lead them to proclaim “this is no life” and “Earth is a prison” on the album titlular breakneck opener. Heavy stuff, no doubt. That’s only the beginning of the mayhem and gore. “Let Us Slay” follows with a rather infectious chant of “Let them slay!” And repeat. You can almost envision the GWAR maniacs pumping their fist in time.
To the uninitiated, GWAR is practically a movement. Dave Brockie, the primary vocalist, is the only current member who’s been around since the beginning. A rotating cast of crazy people and musicians fill out the band’s lineup of characters: Beefcake the Mighty is played here by Casey Orr (bassist since 2000), Balsac the Jaws of Death by Mike Derks (guitarist since the late ’80s), and the list goes on. Whoever is involved, the pace, sound, tone and energy never change – aggressive, terrifyingly dark and violent both in content and execution. Notable records of the past have some pretty amazing titles: This Toilet Earth (’94) and We Kill Everything (’99) to name a couple.
These songs are unabashedly about genocide and war. It’s a wonder more sensitive types don’t make a bigger deal out of this blood-thirsty punk music, but it just seems to get chalked up to over-the-top craziness. It’s all a show. But wouldn’t loads of people confess to secretly fantasizing about executing an asshole boss or mowing down their political opponents? GWAR LIVES!