One of the most visual bands on the planet, captured live, on CD, hmmm. GWAR are a package, a preposterous one at that, however they are entertaining. Dressing up does not make you look mean or evil, something GWAR must chuckle about behind their prosthetics when they see the likes of SLIPKNOT. They’re avin’ a larf, ain’t they? Course they are. So can they cut it without the spectacle? Well yes, just.
The sense of the ridiculousness is carried over quite nicely thank you, dripping puss-like from the speakers. You won’t find it overwhelming though, but it will force a suitably cheesy grin every now and again. The Japanese audience lap it up (literally,) of course, oblivious to insults, political incorrectness and being showered in synthetic spunk. The set pieces between songs cum (sic) thick and fast and have the feel of spontaneity even though you know different.
First and foremost though this is an audio experience and so what you will want to know is whether GWAR hits the fan without you having to be there. It’ll certainly save you a laundry bill. I often feel that live albums are a waste of time but on this occasion I feel just as soiled as the crowd. The recording is clear but retains the grubby edge of the concert setting. I’ve always been indifferent to this band but the fact they have plucked (yes plucked) from their pox ridden back catalogue has concentrated their diseased essence into quite a memorable and catchy set list. The additional rawness of playing live is also a bon(er)us.
Cumming over you as a manic mix of S.O.D and the MISFITS you’ll be grinning one minute, cringing the next. Most of the songs are actually spewed forth without any prat falls, leaving the clowning around for in between. The guitars have plenty of bite and lead runs and solos cut to the quick. Rhythm guitar fuzzes fatly in support, laying down a solid excuse for a sore neck. The bass is evident but loses out a little to the rest of the instruments. Odious URUNGUS maintains a raspy bellow throughout that shows no sign of weakening whatever the excess that has preceded this gig. Drums are nicely balanced into the mix, though the bass drums could have done with a bit more emphasis.
GWAR are most effective here on their shorter numbers, so the likes of “Ham On The Bone” and “Womb With A View” work best. It is also here that the mix of Punk and Thrash is most lethal. The longer numbers wrist flick the latter genre for the most part and on a couple of numbers the veneer wears thin.
Dogs of GWAR will probably dive head first into this live outing, others may enjoy the humour and the abundance of nail gun riffing, yet more of you may not get it at all. It is true however that those who say this should be a DVD are undoubtedly right. As live albums go though, this is worth sitting down with a bucket of entrails for.
GWAR. Huh. What are they good for? Absolute(ly) snuffin’. (Online October 26, 2005)