Released by: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Shock Rock
02. Madness At The Core Of Time
04. Nothing Left Alive
05. They Swallowed The Sun
07. Raped At Birth
08. I, Bonesnapper
09. Mr. Perfect
10. Battle Maximus
11. Triumph Of The Pig Children
13. Fly Now
GWAR is one of those bands that are a visual spectacle. And just like KISS has endured years of saying they were only a gimmick and no substance. And just like I have felt about KISS it simply isn’t true. Sure, GWAR take a more comedic stance on their lyrical content, and have ventured into some oddball areas musically, but to be a gimmick act, they have actually put out some very strong metal music over the years. Following suite with this is their latest release Battle Maximus.
This is their first release after the unexpected death of Cory Smoot (aka Flattus Maximus,) this concept album is a tribute to his death (and concurrent death of his character as well, despite him being the third person assuming the role of Flattus.) Taking his place is his “brother” Pustulus Maximus (performed by Cannibis Corpse guitarist Brent Purgason,) and the album chronicles the death of Flattus and arrival of Pustulus. I won’t venture much into the conceptual part of it. It’s up to the listener to decide if they enjoy the storyline or not. Suffice it to say I enjoyed it. Musically, they’re still heavy as ever and frankly Purgason does an excellent job of filling the void left by Smoot. I have to admit that Battle Maximus is a more inspired album than their last couple. Maybe the addition of new blood was much needed. With standout tracks like “Bloodbath,” “Tortured,” “Battle Maximus,” and even their tender ballad “Falling” make an enjoyable album.
There’s not a lot that can be said about GWAR that hasn’t been said before. Despite being known more for their gory characters and horrific stage mutilations, they have managed to release some pretty great songs over the years, and appear to be continuing their metal onslaught with Battle Maximus. No new ground is broken with it musically. It’s still GWAR, and there will be folks that will love the album and those that don’t. If you have enjoyed their more metal oriented recordings then this is a must have album. If you prefer to be slathered in blood, jizz, and other assorted goo and the music is secondary to you, then skip this album and go see the show.
Written by Chris Martin