Released: 2017, Metal Blade Records
Losing members in a band is never easy, especially when the personality and soul of your band rested in front man David Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus). Gifted with a penchant for eviscerating political correctness and the flaws of society in general, Brockie accomplished this by combining drooling teenaged humor with disturbing madman. Truth be told, I expected the band to fold, much like Type O Negative did after losing kindred spirit, Peter Steele. GWAR chose to continue, knowing full well that anything less than the best foot forward would be rightly seen as a misguided disaster.
Thus, the pressure for THE BLOOD OF GODS to be worthy is immense. Despite lineup changes, setbacks, lawsuits and guitarist Michael Derks recently being diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, BLOOD OF THE GODS delivers. The new album is one of the most musically accomplished in the band’s catalog, with songs that embrace melodic thrash, rock and punk. Michael Bishop, who was Beefcake The Mighty until 1999 has returned to handle vocal duties, as new character, Blöthar. “War On Gwar” leads off the new album and contains unmistakable flourishes of current Kreator with its tremolo verse riffs. “Viking Death” draws its punk/rock inspiration from Motorhead, while “Auroch” is simply blistering, with a nod to vintage thrash via Slayer and a catchy set of riffs. “I’ll Be Your Monster” is pure NWOBHM and helps flesh out the substantial amount of musical variety on THE BLOOD OF GODS. Plus, we even get a respectable cover of AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You Got It).”
For my money, the best track is also the first single from the album, “Fuck This Place”, which is both catchy and pure GWAR in delivery. The band’s chops are on display through the entire album, and if a complaint should be registered it is that this is too much GWAR, clocking in at twelve songs. Naturally, there will be the fans that are bitterly dissatisfied that Oderus is no longer a part of the festivities, and likely lament the highly professional delivery that was often lacking from previous efforts. Still, THE BLOOD OF GODS is an acknowledgement of the past, but is no simple retread. The band clearly has an eye to the future and through refining their sound and variety, GWAR has announced they are not going anywhere and intend to be relevant through the serious delivery of potent music. If you never bought into GWAR, THE BLOOD OF GODS might just change your mind.