by Johnny Papan
VANCOUVER – GWAR is a metal outfit like no other. The ’90s saw these alien shock-rockers survey the cosmos, leaving their home planet of Scumdogia to bring chaos to planet Earth, quickly becoming one of the most popular bands in the galaxy. Their comedically delivered punk-infused heavy metal style has made GWAR a staple piece of 90s pop-culture, landing them guest spots on popular television talk-shows including Jerry Springer and Joan Rivers. On October 20, GWAR released the Blood of Gods, the first album to feature Pagan-esque axe-wielder Blothar the Berzerker on vocal duties.
“The title is a reference to Oderus Urungus and losing Oderus by the Blood of Gods. It’s also a reference to GWAR’s eternal struggle,” Blothar explains. A new beginning for the group, this is GWAR’s first release since the devastating, untimely death of the band’s universally influential original vocalist Oderus Urungus.
“We are involved in a conflict, fight and struggle to survive. In very real terms there has been loss of life in this band. We’ve struggled with that and tried to get through it. We have gotten through it. Doing GWAR and being GWAR has come at a cost. It’s a cost that at times is very difficult to bare. Those notions are on the record.”
Aside from the band’s coping with loss, GWAR also puts focus on the current state of Planet Earth and how they’re becoming fed up with it’s plummeting conditions. This is especially expressed on the album’s first single, “Fuck This Place.”
“It means exactly what it says, ‘fuck this place.’ We’re on the Planet Earth, we’ve been here for a long time and we’re trying to get off,” Blothar states: “Humanity has always been doomed, it’s easy to tell by the way that humans treat themselves in the world that they live in. What they really desire to be is a flaming pile of fuck-to-death garbage. That’s what humans want to be, that’s what they want Earth to be. Humanity behaves as if they want destruction, they kill each other all the time. That’s been the challenge for GWAR.”
With each passing day, violence and other forms of human abuse is spread like wildfire on news outlets and social media. At the very same time, it seems as though we are becoming numbed to these tragic behaviours, as if posting a Facebook status to acknowledge these occurrences are enough, letting things dissolve within a few days, moving on as if it never happened.
“What drives GWAR’s artistic output is the very old fascinations that humans have had with death and with sex. Entertainment for the longest time has been based around these things.” Blothar continues: “It used to be novel for someone to cut off a head as part of an entertaining show but now you can watch television and see real decapitations. There are cities where women are literally enslaved and traded like merchandise. Human life is cheap, that’s simply a fact. There’s still time for humanity to realize the error of their ways, but I am extremely skeptical that anything like that is ever going to happen.”
Blothar concludes: “The Blood of Gods is a mature record in some ways. Lyrically there’s a narrative that threads throughout the album about how humanity has reached a point where GWAR literally cannot keep up with it anymore. There’s so many horrible things going on, so much death, so much destruction, how can GWAR compete? It really articulates that this is a time of change for the band and that we’re still moving forward and sticking around. That’s what the record is about really.”
GWAR perform at Union Hall (Edmonton) on November 10, the Palace (Calgary) on November 11 and the Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver) on November 13.Blóthar, Commodore Ballroom, GWAR, jerry springer, joan rivers, oderus urungus, planet earth, scumdogia, the blood of gods