The crazy guys in Gwar are back with their latest release Battle Maximus, their first since the untimely loss of their guitarist Flattus Maximus. The album is both a tribute to him and a telling of the next chapter of Gwar, telling the story of the band’s struggle against their latest enemy Mr Perfect.
After the intro track, things get underway with Madness At The Core Of Time. Fast-paced and noisy, this is exactly what Gwar is about – bringing the energy and momentum and slapping it right in your face. It will be very surprising if this track isn’t a staple of their set for years to come, because it just seems exactly like the sort of track that has been made for a live environment.
They Swallowed The Sun is another incredibly strong track. The guitars in this one are fantastic and as a whole the track is very memorable. It stands out in the best possible way and is definitely a track you’ll find yourself wanting to revisit over and over again.
Unfortunately, as the album progresses, it does become evident that the songs are a little similar to one another and they tend to merge into one another. At some parts it does feel like there’s an angry little Oderus in your head yelling at you, and whilst Gwar do have a distinctive sound and do what they do incredibly well, it is a shame that sometimes it’s a little difficult to differentiate between the tracks.
However, penultimate number Falling was a wonderful breath of fresh air – featuring clean vocals and an all-round ‘gentler’ sound, it sees the band take a more melodic route and it really works. Gwar are always going to be a band that are noisy and in-your-face, but it is nice to hear something that defies the norm every once in a while.
All in all, Battle Maximus is a pretty good album. A little more uniqueness between songs would be nice, but it does exactly what it says on the tin – and let’s be honest here, when seeing this band live, their stage show does tend to overshadow the songs, no matter how good they might sound!