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GWAR - Beyond Hell (Cover Artwork)

GWAR

GWAR: Beyond HellBeyond Hell (2006)
DRT Entertainment

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: JohnGentileJohnGentile
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Crush! Kill! Destroy! Hot on the heels of 2004's critically and financially successful War Party, GWAR releases Beyond Hell, an album chock full of fierce howls, growls, and senseless slaughter. Their first concept album since 1997's bloated We Kill Everything, the band manages to retain their recen.
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Crush! Kill! Destroy! Hot on the heels of 2004's critically and financially successful War Party, GWAR releases Beyond Hell, an album chock full of fierce howls, growls, and senseless slaughter. Their first concept album since 1997's bloated We Kill Everything, the band manages to retain their recent return to form while telling a new chapter of GWAR mythos. This time, GWAR has been attacked in their antarctic fortress by the Nazi pope. After defeating him, the band ventures into the bowels of hell aided by Jitler, the amalgamated form of Jesus and Hitler. Finding the devil, the band challenges him to a duel in true GWAR style. Produced by Devin Townsend of Strapping Young Lad, the songs and sound of Beyond Hell are bound to fill any slave's heart with glee...before his spine is ripped from his throat.

While GWAR's late `90s concept albums were filled with valiant but misdirected musical styles, including ventures into jazz, rap, and funk, the musical backing for this album is straight heavy metal, a cross between Violence Has Arrived and War Party. The music is kept lean, with rapid drums and thrash style guitars pushing the music forward. Oderus Urungus's voice is the usual blend of broken glass and feline growls supplemented by the occasional lounge singer style crooning. Whereas War Party had short songs with memorable riffs, Beyond Hell is similar to Violence Has Arrived in that the songs are structured in a less standard manner. Songs break down in unexpected places to allow for storytelling, fluid melodies are forgone in favor of a wall of sound, and the vocals change style mid-song and even mid-line. While this makes for a more challenging album, worthy of repeat listens, it sacrifices the memorable riffs and classic, polished type songs found in War Party. The melody and riffs of "Bonesnapper" and "Bring Back the Bomb" recall themselves long after the album has completed, but remembering the guitar parts of "Eighth Lock" or "Back in Crack" is more difficult.

Lyrically, the new album sits right up there with GWAR's early `90s efforts. Long-time fans will be pleased to hear the usual tales of battle and murder and necrophilia. New fans will (hopefully) recognize the humor and be able to discern just when a line is supposed to be funny. Interestingly, the political messages of War Party have been dropped almost entirely for commentary on the rock and roll lifestyle, as seen in GWAR re-killing a fan in "The Ultimate Bohab" and denouncing drug-addled rock stars in "Destroyed." And as always, GWAR's punk roots show through in "I Love the Pigs," a "tribute" to dead policemen.

The album wraps up with a bonus track, a cover of Alice Cooper's classic "School's Out." With a song as well written as "School's Out," it is almost impossible not to do it justice, no matter how it is played. This holds true as the band pays homage to the grandfather of their art, and delivers a smashing rendition complete with GWAR-iffied lyrics. A small gripe is the presentation of "School's Out" as a bonus track. It almost feels as though the band is saying "You've heard the album, now here's a single we have left over!" which negates the punch of the album's ending (reminiscent of the two bonus tracks on Slayer's Reign in Blood or the Judas Priest re-masters). Rather than including the song as a bonus track, perhaps it would have been better to position "School's Out" as part of the album and use it as a grand finale to the adventure, rather than just an add-on. Nevertheless, this is a small point to ponder.

All in all, GWAR delivers another monster album, fit to be stacked next to their best. Devoid of filler and full of decapitations, impalings, and good plain fun, veterans will be more than happy to be covered in blood at the upcoming tour to these new tunes. Newbies will certainly marvel or at least be mortified by an album which defines what GWAR stands for. But, maybe a better introduction to the world of intergalactic barbarians and countless killings would be Scumdogs of the Universe, America Must Be Destroyed or even War Party. Listening to those albums first make Hell a great place to end up.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
C-Men (June 29, 2008)

the best GWAR album i have ever heard!!!!

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

This is the best gwar album i have ever heard
way better songs! GWARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

Anonymous (September 18, 2006)

Gwar is the shit. If you dismiss them as a only a theatric band its your loss. They make some crushing metal especially in recent years. Easily the best album since scumdogs! GGWWWAAARRRRRR!

Anonymous (September 17, 2006)

Has anyone ever seen any of Gwar's movies?

elguapo (September 17, 2006)

score is for "violence has arrived"

Anonymous (September 16, 2006)

Best GWAR album ever. Probably my favorite album of 2006.

EyesLikeBombs (September 16, 2006)

wait...GWAR make music? when did this happen? and all this time I thought they were a bunch of escaped mental patients in rubber suits running around on a stage.

These two are not mutually exclusive...

ahoitherr (September 15, 2006)

wait...GWAR make music? when did this happen? and all this time I thought they were a bunch of escaped mental patients in rubber suits running around on a stage.

Anonymous (September 15, 2006)

I have seen GWAR like 5 times already....and i own none of their records.....weird.....but they throw one of the most entertaining shows i have seen....not the best, but entertaining........

Anonymous (September 15, 2006)

i'm going to see this guys on october 16th and if i get blood on me i'm going to be pissed

Anonymous (September 15, 2006)

gwar rules. i never thought they'd still be around after 18 years, let alone releasing their 10th album. this album is very solid, they started to go downhill in the mid to late 90's with too much experimentation (97's carnival of chaos) or the phoned in and lack of metal 'we kill everything' (1999) but they've rebounded nicely. fun album if you like metal and 'get' gwar and find that kind of thing funny and entertaining.

Paul

tenwestchaser (September 15, 2006)

Sweet. I was thinking about reviewing this because I didn't think anyone else would. I freagin love Gwar. However, the album art work for War Party was so discgustingly bad and cheap. Gwar really has stepped it up about 10 notches on this cd in every way. Can't wait to see them with the Red Chord in Indy.

skolarx (September 15, 2006)

honestly i actually like gwar musically. the long road home is an incredible song and they are amazing live. i haven't listened to a new album of theirs in probably 7 years though.

Anonymous (September 15, 2006)

Are you kidding me?

skaboom (September 15, 2006)

Apparently you and everyone else's school.

From the interview:

DB: I thought it would be every art school’s shame. "The guys from GWAR?!? No! They didn’t come from here!" They say that at the only place we really did come from: Virginia Commonwealth University. Yeah, even they’re proud of us now. We keep doing alumni functions and stuff.

Um, sickboi DID go to VCU.

skankin_in_the_pit (September 15, 2006)

Gwar, The Holy Mountain, TSPO, and Doom? Best new reviews day in quite a while.

Anonymous (September 15, 2006)

Funny thing is, these guys started as nerdy art students at the college I went to. Started this whole bit just fucking around, maybe even for course project work...

Apparently you and everyone else's school.

http://www.tlchicken.com/view_story.php?ARTid=2858

sickboi (September 15, 2006)

Funny thing is, these guys started as nerdy art students at the college I went to. Started this whole bit just fucking around, maybe even for course project work...

stevejonestherealbones (September 15, 2006)

yeah youre right, most only have real blood

- jones

kingofsuck (September 15, 2006)

I'll be seeing GWAR on October 27th. It will be awesome. I don't really have much use for their recorded work, though.

youre supposed to put that stuff in a cd player/ record player/whatever..you know , something with an audio output

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com


It's pointless to me until there's a CD player capable of drenching me in fake blood.

stevejonestherealbones (September 15, 2006)

I'll be seeing GWAR on October 27th. It will be awesome. I don't really have much use for their recorded work, though.

youre supposed to put that stuff in a cd player/ record player/whatever..you know , something with an audio output

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

kingofsuck (September 15, 2006)

I'll be seeing GWAR on October 27th. It will be awesome. I don't really have much use for their recorded work, though.

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