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HARDWARES

GWAR

Battle Maximus

(Metal Blade Records)

Reviewed by : Kelley Simms
Rating : 8.5

GWAR, the Intergalactic heavy metal monsters have gone through numerous lineup changes throughout its almost three-decade career. But the change that hit them the hardest was finding a replacement for guitarist Cory Smoot, aka Flattus Maximus, following his death in 2011.

Smoot’s distinctive guitar tone and creative riffs were such an integral part of GWAR’s sound. On Battle Maximus, GWAR’s 13th full-length release, the band had no choice but to reinvent themselves. Smoot’s replacement (and good friend) Brent Purgason as Pustulus Maximus, has some big monster shoes to fill. The first song he and the band wrote together was ‘Madness At The Core Of Time,’ which they have already been playing live for awhile now. Battle Maximus is a tribute to Flattus and the 13 brand new tracks tells the next chapter in the story of GWAR.

Every track is laced with the band’s trademark punk-infused metal, loaded with huge doses of chunky riffs and furious, melodic guitar flurries. The leads are pretty tasty and pretty abundant, which proves that Pustulus is a worthy successor to Flattus. But one of the most impressive and consistent parts of the album is the crushing drumming of Jizmak Da Gusha. With his blistering double bass syncopation and intricate drum fills, the skin-basher just nails it on this record.

On the intro track, Oderus delivers a bloody mantra in his distinctive, charming snarl. The surprising and catchy ballad-esque, ‘Falling,’ is a melodic little treat that you wouldn’t expect from GWAR. While GWAR’s humor is still present, it’s a little less offensive and more to the point; it doesn’t distract from the music so much anymore. Battle Maximus is one of GWAR’s best albums to date. Critics of GWAR, take notice. Fans of GWAR, rejoice!




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