Violence Has Arrived

Metal Blade

Is it possible for GWAR to reinvent themselves?

Not only is it possible, but I actually thought it was necessary. Their last album, We Kill Everything, contained too much “un-GWAR-like” material. Songs like “Mary Anne” and “Friend” were too nice, albeit somewhat violent. Songs of sex with animals were, for me, totally out of character for the band, since celebrating bestiality isn’t a moshable subject. You might disagree, but GWAR shouldn’t be a freak show — yeah they’re freaks, but they’re not a white trash hellbilly nightmare geek show.

And I think my sentiments were somehow transmitted to the GWAR headquarters, because Violence Has Arrived is the most GWAR-like album since Scumdogs of the Universe. The album cover certainly conveys this, as it’s straight out of a sado-erotic swashbuckling fantasy you’d find in the pages of Heavy Metal magazine: Adrian Smith’s portrait of the band, bloodied and triumphant after battle, yet ready for more (there’s an “un-expurgated” version on the inside, too – you have been warned).

Which makes for a perfect lead-in to the first song, after an awesome, epic Hollywood Speed Metal intro, “Battle-Lust.” On music alone, it’s a classic of metal mosh-pit material; lyrically, it is inspired genius: “The foe was fanatic, the battle well-fought/I split another rib cage, the blood is black and hot…” Man, let loose the dogs of war!

For the rest of the album, barring the last two songs, it’s nothing less than pure, True Metal mayhem. Consider titles like “Anti-Anti-Christ,” “The Apes of Wrath,” “Biledriver,” and “The Wheel” (as in “broken on the wheel”). The last two songs, well… First there’s “The Song of Words,” describing the GWAR conclave that obviously produced this amazing album. We hear stories of battle and angers from frontman Oderus Urungus, guitarists Balsac the Jaws of Death and Flattus Maximus, drummer Jizmak the Gusha, and bassist Beefcake the Mighty. In short, if you want the GWAR low-down, you need to study this song. The last tune, “Happy Death Day,” is about the latter half of the 1990s, a time of publicized domestic violence rivaling the 1960s. Primarily, the song rides high on Columbine, Oklahoma City, and Waco. From the GWAR standpoint, what I get out of this is that the band is tired of petty citizens and public officials doing all the senseless killing: that’s GWAR’s job and they don’t cotton to encroachment on their turf.

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