GWAR. What a strange, and strangely interesting, entity in the music world. Basically taking the visual aesthetic of KISS to extreme degrees, and mixing it with a tongue-in-cheek/comedic hybrid of Punk/Metal/whatever-the-hell-they-feel-like, GWAR is certainly a unique experience. Of course a live setting is where GWAR is far and away most impactful, with their albums leaving something to be desired, especially once the novelty factor has worn off.
So, what we have here is the reissue/”special edition” of GWAR’s 1992 album, “America Must Be Destroyed”, which also includes a DVD of two previous visual efforts, “Phallus In Wonderland” and “Tour De Scum”, both also originally from 1992. From my understanding, as I’m not exactly a big follower of GWAR, this album basically picks up where “Scumdogs Of The Universe” left off, only leaning more towards a Punk/Thrash hybrid (but not really Crossover). In fact, there’s more than one occasion where I was reminded of some of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES’ catchier moments.
With the exception of some seriously off-kilter moments – see the beginning of “Have You Seen Me?” – the album is pretty sturdy all the way through, with lots of catchy moments, and off-the-wall lyrics. Problem is, the music isn’t anything original or all that special, and the lyrics, despite the humor aspect, wear thin rather quickly. At least Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus) is pretty enjoyable in his delivery, making the oddball lyrics more tolerable after the initial humor has worn off.
With GWAR, Metal fans either know them (and if they don’t, it’s likely because they don’t care to), and already have a pretty firm opinion that’s not likely to change. For myself, GWAR is a band that’s fun from time to time, but only in short bursts. While “America Must Be Destroyed” has it’s moments, it’s an album that I can’t see having much longevity.
(Online March 2, 2010)