Gwar Battle Maximus

Gwar Battle Maximus
7
It's an odd thing to objectively rate a Gwar album. If you're a fan, this one is probably a nine. If you're a casual listener, it's a seven, although with the usual caveats in place: you've got to be in the mood for some humour and you need to be able to deal with outrageous vocals and choruses, etc. Pound for pound, it's a heavier, more metal album than some of their releases (listen to "Nothing Left Alive" before the vocals kick in — pure Lamb of God). Opener "Madness at the End of Time" is a hysterical, speedy romp through everything that makes Gwar a unique entity. "Bloodbath" shows once again that they can actually write a good tune, when they put their minds to it, and their flirtations with melodic thrash are actually credible. "Torture" is more straight-up, groove-laden thrash, while "They Swallowed the Sun" is fun, bouncy, metal-lite Gwar. "I, Bonesnapper" is just hilarious, "Fallen" sounds like a touching tribute to late Gwar guitarist Cory Smoot (as much of the album is) and the title track is a blazing guitar solo showdown, with guest shredders from Lamb of God, Evile and Rise Against. If you can stomach the hilarious, but sometimes grating vocals of Oderus Urungus, there are certainly tracks on this, their 13th album, worth spending time with. Even getting two new members on this one didn't stop Gwar, so it's obvious that at this point that, like it or not, nothing will. (Metal Blade)