It’s been three years since the crack addicted, necrophiliac, space-mutant maniac quintet (GWAR) went “Beyond Hell.” They return now to share their most recent intergalactic exploits through song with their eleventh studio album, Lust In Space. The album marks not only the bands return to the Metal Blade label, but also the return of bassist Casey Orr to the role of Beefcake The Mighty. Like many other GWAR albums, Lust In Space is a concept album constructed to coincide with their elaborate stage show. Their concurrent themes and cavalcade of characters allow them to mix up classic tunes with the new material almost seamlessly. The album was released on August 18, 2009 and commemorates GWAR’s 25th Anniversary of attempting to destroy the world.
The album begins with an epic title track that echoes earlier songs such as “We Kill Everything,” and “Go To Hell.” It begins as a melodic lament and quickly transcends into a full on metal soliloquy of hate, murder, sex, and escape. It also establishes the journey that the band is about to embark on within the following songs. “Let Us Slay” has all the makings of a classic GWAR song. It’s driving thrash rhythm and encompassing chorus, coupled with its barbaric themes of crusades and holy misconceptions perfectly illustrate the parody of our world which is reflective in GWAR as a statement and ideology. The album continues with “Damnation Under God,” a tale of intergalactic decadence and “The UberKlaw,” a track no doubt written for the sole purpose of building something hideous to mutilate victims with on stage.
The first half of the album culminates with a speed metal thrash masterpiece entitled “Lords And Masters (Of All We Survey).” The song has everything you could want: driving rhythms, ripping solos, melodic leads, and vocal arrangements that make you not only want to punch someone to death, but also twist their head off so you can see the life drain out of their eyes. Lyrically the song is completely in tune with the legacy of brutality that GWAR has been claiming since its inception, closing with the line “Compared to my crimes, Hitler’s pale.”
Songs like “Metal Metal Land,” a play on Never Never Land, show the lighter side of the bands humor. An anthem to all the metal heads that never traded in the denim jackets for sport coats. The song is about a fabled land, a place where “80’s hair bands are still hated,” and “no false metal tolerated.” Other songs in this vein include “Where Is Zog?,” an absurd quest for Oderus’ former mentor and his pathetic fate, and “Make A Child Cry.” The latter calls back to themes explored in earlier GWAR songs like “Have You Seen Me,” and “B.D.F.”
“The Price Of Peace” is probably the most straightforward metal song on the album and could easily appear in the catalog of any other band in the genre. Lyrically the song deals with the paradox of humans being unable to achieve peace unless they annihilate each other. It is the only song sung by Beefcake The Mighty, although he does provide back ups throughout the album and even has a duet on “Metal Metal Land.” For all the absurdity and exaggeration that GWAR carries with them, it is songs like this that show them for what they really are: one of the most brutal, underrated, prolific, and serious METAL bands EVER.
After 25 years it would be asinine to say that GWAR aren’t the kings of the rock opera. They took the best of artists like Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osborne, and KISS and applied a contemporary sci-fi edge, making them timeless. Since their return to the exclusive realm of metal with 2001’s Violence Has Arrived, after exploring the fringe of musical boundaries in the mid to late 90’s, GWAR has methodically evolved into a technical thrash legacy that challenges the most serious artists of the metal genre.
GWAR is Oderus Urungus – Lead Vocals (Dave Brockie), Flattus Maximus – Lead Guitar (Cory Smoot), Balsac the Jaws of Death – Rhythm Guitar (Mike Derks), Beefcake the Mighty – Bass Guitar – Backing Vocals (Casey Orr), & Jizmak Da Gusha – Drums – Percussion (Brad Roberts)
- Lust In Space
- Let Us Slay
- Damnation Under God
- The Uberklaw
- Lords And Masters
- Metal Metal Land
- The Price Of Peace
- Where Is Zog?
- Make A Child Cry
- Release The Flies
- Parting Shot
Be sure to check out Peter O’Brien’s thrash metal documentary “Riphouse 151: Could’ve Been’s & Wanna Be’s” which is currently on the festival circuit.