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Since making their dramatic return to heavy metal from the abyss of hokey-ness they’d fallen into back in the mid-90’s, GWAR has been pounding out album after solid album of distinct, destructive heaviness. Though I was initially wary of this release because of the particularly uninspired cover (a trend apparent in the wake of the glorious packaging of Violence Has Arrived), it’s just as strong as anything else they’ve released this millennium, straddling some imaginary line between competence and complete annihilation and swaying to and fro depending on the moment.
If you’re familiar with GWAR’s modern sound, this album is consistent with what you’d certainly expect. If you’re not, GWAR nowadays plays a moderately technical, wholly distinctive blend of punk-derived thrash, groove, and down-tempo traditional metal with much less emphasis on their subversive sense of humor and over-the-top lyrics than on just being as fucking heavy as humanly (or extraterrestrially) possible. They really, really like to intersperse complex up-tempo triplet riffs with monstrously sludgy chugging breakdowns and there’s a much greater emphasis on atonal harmonies, chromaticism, grander song structures, and frequent, chaotic solos with only the occasional glimpse of their previously catchy melodies. No longer strictly a singles band, their albums are now best experienced as a complete skull-crushing experience and don’t take as well to casual sampling as they used to.
Depending then on a given listener’s interpretation, Lust in Space is either the best or the worst of GWAR’s latter-day efforts. It contains by far their most expansive, technically demanding compositions with more riff and tempo changes per minute than a seasoned fan might reasonably expect. The guitarwork is quite complicated even by recent GWAR standards and their arrangements equally so, with the required percussive virtuosity to match. For those that enjoyed the fun, sing-along version of GWAR that existed for ages past, however, there isn’t much that stands out here. The lyrical content is directly narrative and less quotable, the band’s trademark goofiness and melodies are mostly absent and the individual songs, while not necessarily repetitive, tend to utilize similar rhythmic ideas, creating the illusion of repetition to a first-time or casual listener. Even the video for intended single "Let Us Slay" is uncharacteristically boring.
Still, it’s hard to deny the effectiveness of this version of the band. While it takes a few more listens than usual (more than Beyond Hell even) to get a feel for the individual songs, the overall enthusiasm level is at an all time high on their 00’s era albums. Take a listen to the vitriolic neo-speed metal of “Lords and Masters,” the subverted Gothenburg crossover of “Metal Metal Land,” or virtually any of the vocal tracks (be they the diverse madness of Oderus Urungus, one of the other band members or guests on their highlighted songs, or the war-like battle chants of the horde) and hear a group that’s obviously having a fucking blast, a nice diversion from the dreary excesses of the super serious that so often get the lion’s share of media attention. “The Price of Peace” and “Where is Zog?” stood out for me, but it’s hard to really pick out highlights when nearly every track is at the same high level of functionality, if not the same level of memorability. As far as superlatives, “Release the Flies” is the heaviest on display and the title track is the most openly melodic: everything else occupies some amount of middle ground between them. There’s also a curiously doomy bonus track called “GWARnography” that comes with the digital version (aka you can go hear it on YouTube if you bought the physical copy) that’s pretty enjoyable too.
Those looking for an intelligent, enthusiastic modern heavy metal album with a slight humorous lining and a free pass to riff heaven would do well to give Lust in Space a spin, or any other recent GWAR album for that matter.
Legend speaks of an elite group of warriors who centuries ago roamed the universe with their unlimited hatred for all living things. They called themselves Scumdogs Of The Universe and after many massacres they were banished to the most useless planet in the galaxy, Earth.
If the above story sounds familiar, you probably have an album of these gentlemen in your collection, as usual on the new one we get a concept album that writes a new chapter to the epic book that is the story of Gwar. Hence expect only a standard story embellished with typical Gwar humor. Musically, they started as a punk / thrash group where the music was considered inferior to the humor and bloody spectacle. The band’s live show has always been better than their albums, thats just a fact that all their fans agree on.
But what about this latest new cd?
Well, there are again enough jokes and winks to satisfy the faithful Gwar fans. Twenty-five years playing experience has apparently paid off because just like their previous album this surpasses the older work musically. Unfortunately, there is also a more negative trend to be found here, more and more 'mallcore' elements crept into the music. No idea who was waiting for changes like that in a Gwar album. Thankfully, "Lust In Space" compensates with groovy thrash riffs that makes us forget those useless breakdowns immediately. The album cover is a nod to "Love Gun" by Kiss, a reference to the group that invented the whole shockrock genre.
Gwar was always the laughing stock of more serious metalheads but with this album it has been made clear that on a technical level they do know how to handle their instruments well.
If compared to Beyond Hell, the production is equally good, while comparing this with their older work would be like comparing you Bluray disc of 'Friday the 13th' to my VHS copy of that movie. Both are good and a fun to watch but you will get the most detail and nuances with the later one.
After 25 years, the cow should have been milked dry, but Gwar is live as funny and original as ever. The music has always been subordinate but this time it's again a fun little record to have.
Originally written for http://progressiveviolence.blogspot.be/
This is possibly Gwar's best album to date. I knew when I grabbed this album it couldn't get much better than their last release, Beyond Hell, but guess what...it fuckin did!
Lust In Space has it all. It’s got the thrashy riffs, the thick bass lines, killer drumming, and of course Oderus' amazing voice. There is non-stop thrashing on this one. The technicalities of the riffs are great. Almost has sort of a groove going in some songs. It's pretty much impossible to not like this album.
At certain points you can sense they still have their older punk like appeal.Such as the track "The Uberklaw . And they surprisingly opened with an acoustic intro which is perfect because it literally sounds like you’re lost in space. At one point it has a metalcore breakdown, but that soon changes. Then the merciless slaughter continues. Cory and Mike did a great job with the guitars, and Cory also does a good job with the vocals on "Release the Flies", just as well as Casey did on "The Price of Peace".
Brad does a good job by not doing the typical thrash drum beat. He mixes it up on pretty much every song. Although the bass isn't to audible on most of the album, every few song you will hear it, and when you do it sounds really good. And of course the lyrics are always ridiculous, but on this album it fits really well with all the thrashing that's going on, much like Gama Bomb.
Overall this is a really, really good album, even if you never have listened to Gwar in the past, I highly recommend you buy this one. Every aspect of music is good on this release and I somehow forgot to mention that it's a constant headbanger, no matter what track.
Very few albums come around that can truly be described as "epic". Sometimes people will describe albums as epic simply because it is good, but a truly epic album is a rare one. This is an epic album. It is both memorable, technical, and just plain awesome, but overall it will have you walking away thinking "Holy shit.... What kind of metal genius wrote that masterpiece?". And you might be surprised to hear that on a Gwar review, But if you've heard this album you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
First off you might be wondering, "Wait. Technical?" Yep. This Gwar release is quite a bit more technical than you'd expect. Gwar is going in a new and technical direction, and I for one love it. Everything is getting trashier and darker, and that can never be a bad thing, right? Don't get me wrong, Gwar is still Gwar and the lyrics are still in that good old Gwar style. But expect to be hearing a lot more praise for their technical side. Seriously. Cory Smoot is one hell of a guitarist. But really, if i was to have one complain with this album it would be his singing. Just leave that to Oderus, PLEASE.
As for the rest of the crew: Dave Brockie (Oderus) Is still an awesome vocalist, Mike Derks (Balsac) Provides some amazing rhythm guitar work, Casey Orr (Beefcake) plays the bass with skill and is audible most of the time, And Brad Roberts (Jizmak) backs up the band with some pretty brutal beats, All in all, Gwar is one solid package with some damn good musicians, and i think its about time they get some respect in the metal community.
This whole album is memorable and catchy, but if i had to pick some stand out tracks they would be sing-along trashfest that is "Where is Zog" Complete with the awesome outro dialogue, my favorite song on the album "Metal Metal Land", the awesome song "The UberKlaw", And the epic title track "Lust in Space". The worst song would have to be "The Price of Peace" Because Cory Smoot handles all of the vocals. It would be a really kick ass song of Dave handled the vocals, but no..... Still a pretty good song though. Overall, this album rocks. The only reason i can't give a perfect 100 is because of Cory Smoot's horrible occasional vocals. Go and get it so you too can enjoy the awesome. Gwar's best to date. It'll be interesting to see what glorious masterpiece they put out next. A near-perfect 97/100.
“Bullet belts and denim jackets! Crystal meth in tiny packets!
Witches, warlocks, demon seed! Booze and cooze and weed and speed!”
Yes, those lovable alien rockers are back again with another full-length and they’re better than ever! Coming almost three years to the day after their latest outing in Beyond Hell, GWAR present yet another slab of deliciously fun, infectiously catchy balls-out thrash in the name of decadence and sin, and I’ve come to the conclusion after repeated spins and two hours soaked in gore and pus at the feet of Earth’s alien overlords that it may be their best yet.
GWAR have always been very much their own band, spending most of their career in a nebulous but distinctive area in between rock, punk and metal. Since 2000 though, they’ve been refining their technique and pushing themselves to new levels of technicality and heaviness; Lust in Space can be seen as the culmination of this direction. Every, and I mean every, song on this album is instantly memorable, stuffed chock full of catchy riffs, highly melodic solos and Oderus’ distinctive vocals. This is pretty much cotton candy for the metalhead’s ears; it’s simplistic and accessible at a glance, but has enough depth for it to stay fresh after repeated listens.
It’s pretty funny actually that for a band that’s been widely viewed as a complete joke by a lot of seasoned music fans, GWAR boast some truly impressive chops. The band may not have a claim to being the most technical or the fastest, but as a unit these guys ‘click’ in a way very few bands manage to achieve. Balsac the Jaws of Death(Mike Derks) delivers driving, laser-accurate rhythm guitar sections perfectly counterpointed by Flattus Maximus’ (Cory Smoot) amazing guitar solos. Smoot really is in a league of his own; his songwriting craft has definitely been a driving force in reforming the band on their thrashier direction, and he proves his chops with highly melodic, instantly memorable solos. I’d count him among one my favourite lead guitarists in modern metal, with an ear for melody that surpasses most contemporary thrash guitarists. Drums and bass are handled capably by Jizmak Da Gusha (Brad Roberts) and Beefcake the Mighty (ex-Rigor Mortis alumnus Casey Orr), but what really seals the deal is the inimitable vocals stylings of Oderus Urungus (aka Dave Brockie). Undoubtedly one of my favourite vocalists, he continues his unique style of aggressive alien grunts, growls, snorts, and nasal off-key whinnying. It’s hard to describe this style if you haven’t heard GWAR before, but essentially, what makes Brockie so good is that he knows just when and how to sing so badly it becomes great.
Dissecting this on a song by song basis would be pointless, as they’re all winners. Suffice to say, choice cuts would have to include the truly epic title track, the instant classic Metal Metal Land, the absolutely crushing Lords and Masters (guaranteed to have you air-guitaring) and Where Is Zog? for the ending dialogue alone. I can really only tell you to get this right now, and if I thought it would be accepted, this review would be nothing but “BUY THIS BUY THIS BUY THIS NOW” for a couple of lines. Highly recommended to fans of catchy, thrashy, funny, and heavy fucking metal.
“Filthy hair and dirty faces, flying V’s and swords and maces!
80’s hair bands are still hated, no false metal tolerated!
Heavy metal is the law, weakness means a broken jaw!
Everything is loud and fast, metal up your fucking ass!”