Who the hell couldn’t use a new GWAR album? No band in Metal, I repeat: no band in the history of goddamn Metal has been quite as lethal, as funny or as downright fun as this quintessential band (yes, quinte-fucking-sential I say). What had been started on “Violence Has Arrived” is now nearly complete, for GWAR has taken one great leap for mankind with their latest release and has shed most of the Punk in favor for an aggressive brand of Thrash Metal which will not only induce manic fits of laughter at the downright perverse and unabashedly hilarious lyrics (some of them anyway), but have your head-banging as well. It may simply be stated that one could remove Oderus Urungus (I know, blasphemy) and be left with a solid foundation of Metal which gets the blood pumping and spine snapping. The main riff in “Krosstika” even sounds as though it could have been a leftover from the “Rust In Peace” sessions (I will not hold it against you if you must now go and change boxers).
There could be no better way than to kick off an album with a song about nuking humanity. “Bring Back The Bomb” is a hell of a thrasher featuring a main riff which immediately grabs you and throws you to the ground as Balsac, The Jaws of Death, stomps over your bloody carcass to violate your woman. This track lays down the premise of the album which is addressed with each additional composition and expanded upon. Catchy goddamn vocals which you cannot help but love, furious guitar-work and pounding drums including quite a bit of double-bass work pummel you track after track. The album is a testimony to the effect of strong pacing and by the time you finish the aural experience you will be huddled in a corner adopting the fetal position.
The relative diversity of “War Party” while still adhering to a solid Thrash standard is downright sick. Fisting Thrashers are found in copious amounts as well violent pieces containing that signature GWAR groove and even a couple slower numbers which hit harder than Jizmak. It is also downright astonishing how this band can constantly evolve never stagnate. A fresh bag of tricks has found its way into the studio as we are hit with elements a GWAR fan never could have predicted. Listen to “Womb With A View”, you hear that? The song starts off WITH A GODDAMN LEAD! Your eyes do not deceive you, it lasts for about 20 seconds and it rocks hard. Oh it’s not over yet, later during the bass heavy “Bonesnapper” we even get a solo. It’s not of the strongest variety but it is pretty damn effective. Finally, there are also a couple of dark tracks where Oderus’ vocals completely shine. “Decay Of Grandeur” and “Fistful Of Teeth” are what I am referring to and they highlight the best moments lyrically on the album. All of these elements combine to make a relatively unique album which stands quite solid in GWAR’s discography.
With all these warm feelings and praise floating around I cannot help but feel a little sick to my stomach and must therefore make a point or two about where this album fails to achieve genius. The number one disappoint of “War Party” (and possibly 2004) is the lack of downright hysterical moments. I began to fear this after hearing “Violence Has Arrived” and “War Party” seems to suffer even more. Opting for a more Metal and musically evolved sound has crippled a good portion of the hilarity. Tracks like “Reaganator” and “The Bonus Plan” may be a step up composition wise but are no “Fucking An Animal” or “Meat Sandwich” when it comes to comic value. I dare say the lyrics even approach boring during a couple of instances. This is not good at all.
Forging ahead with this heavy sound I cannot help but wonder if Oderus and Company is attempting to fill the niche which has been open since 1987. GWAR is no CARNIVORE (which is good) and hopefully they will throw in a curve ball or two on their next release to differentiate themselves. With that being said, even if GWAR does continue to develop as a Metal band there thankfully is enough unique to provide an enjoyable listening experience; I just hope they do not decide to go that route.
“War Party” has been out for months by now and has definitely proven itself as solid and an enjoyable listen albeit a somewhat different one than the GWAR norm. This album features some devastating riffs and compositions and is mandatory for any GWAR fan (especially if you love the heavier material). If you are new to GWAR, I would first recommend checking out earlier choice albums before moving on to this stage in their career. “War Party” is quite a ride and will have your neck sore and ears bursting and if you call yourself a GWAR fan and have not yet checked this album out, then you can be expecting a knock on your door from the Sexicutioner himself. (Online November 30, 2005)