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“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!”