Sound — 7
Thrash metal icons GWAR have been dynamically ruling the stage with their unparalleled image and sound since the early 1980's. Somehow managing a chaotic combination of science fiction inspired stage costumes, obscene lyrics, and captivating humor-driven onstage antics which delve into oftentimes political and morally taboo themes, GWAR are unparalleled in the thrash metal music genre. Although these are the qualities the band is widely known for, GWAR first caught the attention of metalheads around the globe with their creative uncensored album artwork and such child-friendly titles as "We Kill Everything" and "Scumdogs of the Universe." GWAR first began to receive noticeable mainstream attention in the early '90s following the release of their fourth studio album, "This Toilet Earth." This album was the band's first to be censored, the main reason being the band's catalog was beginning to be picked up by MTV and was receiving moderate airplay. Although it would prove difficult to sensor such colorful tracks as "Penis I See" and "Filthy Flow," it did help bring the band's image out to a broader audience. Since their formation in 1984, GWAR have issued over a dozen studio albums, nearly twice as many official video releases, and were even nominated twice for a Grammy award. Three years since the release of the band's last studio album, "Bloody Pit of Horror," and GWAR are ready to demolish anything that stands between them and the touring bus with their thirteenth album. "Battle Maximus" shows GWAR are nastier and even more blood hungry than ever before. Any fan of this band's earlier releases will feel right at home anywhere on this new disc, whether it's the pick grinding metal anthem "Triumph of the Pig Children" or the hope crushing "Raped at Birth." This album is the first to feature GWAR's new guitarist Brent Purgason of Cannabis Corpse, portraying the new band character Pustulus Maximus. Considering this is his first new material with the band, I have to say that he gives a standout effort at providing a familiar heart bursting-fast pace and dynamic chord progressions to each new track. Instead of taking GWAR to a new direction musically, he keeps the rest of the group moving at the same pace which originally allowed them to standout almost three decades ago.
Lyrics — 7
GWAR lead vocalist Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus) gives a standout performance throughout the entire new release. Screaming announcements of death and despair for twenty-nine years night-after-night onstage and in the studio can take a toll on a singer's voice. Dave has managed to not only preserve his angst-fueled vocal performance for all these years, but has even gone as far as strengthen it, providing a heavier overall sound to "Battle Maximus" - as if GWAR's sound could become any heavier.
Overall Impression — 7
GWAR are back and angrier than ever with their thirteenth studio album, "Battle Maximus." Their new album showcases thirteen new compositions which are bursting with the same rage-fueled sound which comprised the band's earlier efforts. Any fan who is already familiar with GWAR, as well as any thrash metal follower, will be able to easily enjoy this new studio album, and so it comes highly recommended.