Sound: Taking a cue from the brilliance of old-school KISS and Alice Cooper shows, Gwar has certainly made a name for its witty, over-the-top, and um, messy live shows. Unlike the aforementioned classic rock acts, the sci-fi quintet hasn't always made quite the legendary mark as Gene Simmons and company, but they deliver the goods in more unique ways (i.e., blood, decapitation, and the like). So how does Gwar's latest album Lust In Space measure up to past efforts? There's an equal helping of moments that are musically creative/inspired and instances that seem written specifically to allow time for ample blood splatter.
The latest album marks the band's return to the Metal Blade label, as well as the return of bassist Casey Orr, who is given the spotlight more than a few times during the album. Regardless of the label or even the lineup, Gwar has proven it has staying power 25 years' worth. One of the keys to that longevity is the fact that Oderus Urungus and the gang aren't afraid of humor. You'll get a nice dose of that twisted wit on Lust In Space, particular in Where Is Zog? and the title track. Just perusing the titles of the other tunes (Make A Child Cry, UberKlaw), you're likely to elicit a smile as well. You could make the argument that it is the lyrical content that is the primary focus in Gwar, but guitarists Balsac, The Jaws of Death and Flattus Maximus do deliver quite a bit of melodic, skilled work along the way.
The opening track Lust In Space stands out as being one of the most original because it does relay more of a cinematic vibe. Rather than exploding with a fast tempo and a barrage of distortion, the track builds slowly and quietly. The song features a variety of musical sections, and you could consider it the epic track of the album for lack of a better word. In the final moments (while it fades out) there is a big payoff, when you hear Oderus utter a variety of oddities (Space makes me horny and I don't know why; Her nebula was crawling with crabs).
The standout moments of the album come sporadically. Besides a nice little bass-driven intro courtesy of Orr in The UberKlaw, that song also delivers fresh vocal phrasing during the chorus. The guitars hit their peak in The Price of Peace which features some fantastic chugging riffs and more than a few key solo moments. Release The Flies is the highlight of the album with its intensely dark approach (again, very cinematic) and effective breakdowns. There is also a doubling effect that is applied to the low and high vocal parts that just works amazingly well. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrical content once again revolves around Gwar's exploits and shenanigans, and as usual you should find yourself chuckling. Where Is Zog? is one of the most entertaining offerings between lines like I wouldn't take just anyone unless they were Norwegian and the ending commentary (from what is supposed to be a space hobo) Do you have any space change? And then you have the track Make A Child Cry, which features lyrics that are pretty much in the same vein as the title. It's all oddly entertaining in that classic Gwar type of way. // 9
Overall Impression: The 11th studio album from Gwar won't necessarily shock anyone at least in the musical content. That's not to say there aren't some tried-and-true rocking moments that any metal lover will appreciate. The humor is not lacking along the way, and honestly if that particular element was missing, that would be the greatest letdown of all. // 7