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GWAR’s discography is one of the most erratic in all of heavy metal-dom, fluctuating between goofball punk and groove-laden thrash with every genre imaginable in between making a guest appearance. Perhaps due to the band’s unique lineup situation (with the exception of vocalist Oderus Urungus, perpetually embodied by the mighty Dave Brockie, incoming members usually assume the role of the established characters, so you can never be too sure who is actually playing on any given release) or simply an experimental nature producing experimental results, no two albums sound quite the same. It’s an aspect both intriguing and frustrating as one works their way through the albums….will I be banging my head as if up from the dead or rolling my eyes as if un-amused? With this toilet album…probably a little bit of both.
Stylistically, This Toilet Earth is a bit less out-there than the previous effort, sounding more like the second coming of Hell-O with its weak production, surplus of throwaway tunes, and hardcore-emphasis. It’s a definite exercise in quantity over quality, spreading the winners a bit thinner than usual. There’s some funky stuff (“Pepperoni,” “Pocket Pool”), some punky stuff (“Jack the World,” “Krak Down,” “Fight”), and a lot you probably won’t care to remember, even after a few listens. It seems likes it was deliberately engineered to outdo the band’s other albums in terms of pure disposability, as though GWAR was just cranking this one out so they could get back out on the road and tour. With this I can sympathize: GWAR was designed to be experienced live. But the albums must still exist in the interim, and I just wish they’d have put more of an effort into this one. Besides, these days most of their 90’s stuff never gets performed anyway, leaving us with a ton of “chuckle once and recycle” tracks cluttering up a handful of albums that could make a killer greatest (s)hits collection with a little discretion.
As such, no GWAR album is without its classics. “Saddam A Go-Go” is a perfect opener, blending a horn section into the established GWAR rhythm madness. Skulhedface, a character that would come to deserve his own film, has a very interesting, insidious soliloquy, which features a hilariously corny showtune breakdown in the midst of a horde of riff changes. But as a whole, the album is not the resplendently quotable ordeal that many other GWAR albums are; even the intentionally offensive stuff like “BDF” and “Slap U Around” just aren’t quite up to snuff.
Fans of GWAR’s punkier essence might just disagree. I say flush it.