"Battle Maximus"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Not even death itself can keep the mutant monstrosities of GWAR at bay! Following the tragic untimely demise of Flattus Maximus (aka Corey Smoot), the Antarctic freaks have swallowed their grief and continued in the more metal path that Flattus charted out for them. Mutant brother-in-blood Pustulus Maximus has joined the fold and "Battle Maximus" emerges as a worthy hymn in praise of the fallen Scum Dog.

13 Gwar-tunes carry on the madness in the tradition of "Bloody Pit of Horror" and "War Party". Although there are no truly mind-bending killers here, the result is a pleasing whole full of traditional metal filth and mayhem. Despite their grotesque exterior, GWAR are not really a death metal or even a thrash metal band, but rather an extremely heavy and over the top pure metal act. These songs are all concise and to the point riff-crackers full of the uniquely dramatic vocal antics of Oderus Urungus. I have a special fondness for "Raped At Birth" strictly because of the obnoxious title alone, although the fact that it's actually a hell of a gnarly metal anthem is sauce on the goose. Opening cut "Madness At The Core of Time" is another stand-out because of the fantastic vocal acrobatics of Oderus, who has never sounded more messianic or catchier. Many of the following cuts are solid GWAR rockers that will please long-time slaves and don't rock the boat too much.

As "Battle Maximus" reaches its conclusion, though, a new and more ambitious GWAR begins to arise. The title track is a multi-pronged instrumental attack that shows the shredding prowess of Pustulus Maximus, who does his brother Flattus proud. "Triumph of the Pig Children" has a kind of infectious pseudo-industrial beat that reminds one of Rob Zombie. "Falling" could even be said to have a kind of soaring melody, although heavy guitars pounding throughout. It all leads to a massive climax in "Fly Now", which GWAR blasts its cosmic jism across the face of an outraged universe. The tune is epic, well-crafted and pounding.

The Scum Dogs have come back swinging their axes with renewed fury following the fall of Flattus. "Battle Maximus" is heartily recommended to all GWAR-riors.