GWAR followed up their breakthrough record ‘Scumdogs of the Universe’ with this equally great successor in 1992. As far as satire has ever been concerned in the realm of popular music, GWAR are as close to perfection as it gets. An often misunderstood band, they would go on to record a catalog of highly eclectic material. As is often the case with theatrical acts in the history of music, they are often easily swept aside as a novelty act or a substanceless gimmick. In the case of GWAR (and many other theatrical acts), this couldn’t be farther from the truth. However, it isn’t difficult to understand how America’s bloodthirsty, knee-jerk reaction to journalism would paint a band like this with the wrong brush.
This record starts off with a real bang with “Ham on the Bone”, a hilarious song that was inspired by an altercation that vocalist Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus) had with police officers in Charlotte, North Carolina, in which Brockie’s infamous “Cuttlefish of Cthulu” (the penile attachment of the Oderus costume) was confiscated. Musically, this song hits as hard as any of the grindcore bands that inspired it. As the hilarity ensues throughout this record, it’s easy to see why some listeners would overlook the depth of this band, but the social implications of a song like “Have You Seen Me” can’t afford to be understated when discussing this record or this band. In GWAR’s own unique way, this is a song that discusses and accepts homosexuality. This band has never been light weight; they often declare bold social statements throughout their records. However, the absolute funniest and looniest track on this record is the following track “The Morality Squad”. A song that is literally about an organization called the Morality Squad that has taken form with the hopes of destroying our lovable protagonists for good. Side two of this record takes on a bit more conventional song structure than side one, with songs like “Gilded Lily” and “Rock N Roll Never Felt So Good” being more straightforward hard rock/metal songs than what is mostly heard on especially the first three tracks of side one. The highlight of side two is, of course, their take on the ballad, “The Road Behind”, which showcases the band at their most heartfelt (in their own way).
Thus is the essence of GWAR; poignant social commentary married with the most outrageous, gut-busting, transgressive humor ever put to record. All in all, this record is absolutely flawless. There are no down moments at all. It’s fair to say that GWAR were quite easily the best metal band in the world in the early ’90s, given the subsequent releases of ‘Scumdogs of the Universe’ as well as this masterpiece. The true genius of this band has yet to be discovered by the general public; many still view them as a cartoon band. These guys were very much ahead of their time in many different aspects. In terms of comedy and satire, nobody has ever pushed the envelope as far as they were consistently willing to. Make sure you listen for Michael Bishop singing lead vocals on “Pussy Planet”; he is the current vocalist for the band after the untimely death of Brockie and was a key figurehead on the band’s earliest records. It doesn’t get much better than this. It really doesn’t.