CD Review: GWAR “Battle Maximus”

GWAR
“Battle Maximus”
Metal Blade Records
Tracks: 13
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

GWAR the rubber clad creatures from Antarctica are back with their 13th studio album titled “Battle Maximus”. The album is being released via Metal Blade Records and features 13 brand new tracks from the heavy metal group that have been slaying audiences and figure heads since the late 1980’s. When a band loses a member there are two things that can happen. The band can either replace that member and continue on or pack it in and call it quits. When Cory Smoot (Flattus Maximus) guitarist and key song writer for the band passed away while the group was on tour in 2011 I was unsure how a role that large could be filled and if there ever would be new GWAR music again. Thankfully the group has decided to forge on and with the addition of Pustulus Maximus (Brent Purgason) Gwar has been able to not only carry on with their signature sludge like sound they have taken it to an entirely new level.

The album kicks off with an acoustic tinged intro featuring the always comical lyrical stylings of Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) before blasting into “Madness at the Core of Time” which is a song done in typical GWAR fashion. The song also features several Iron Maiden type lead passages which were spot on. As the album continues to pulverize your senses you come across tracks such as “Nothing Left Alive” which features some stellar double bass technique courtesy of Jizmak (Brad Roberts) before making way for tracks such as “Torture” and “I, Bonesnapper” which gives GWAR’s always entertaining sidekick Bonesnapper a chance to strut his stuff and tell stories of his days on the Scum Dog slave ships. The album closes on several high notes such as “Falling” which features even more great solos and a trippy vibe reminiscent of “Dark Side of the Moon” before ending with the track “Fly Now” which upon close listen plays like a tribute to the bands fallen brother Flattus.

All the performances on “Battle Maximus” are well crafted and executed flawlessly. I have to give it to the groups newest members as with this being their first record with the band they are certainly worthy the Scum Dog armor in this writers eyes. GWAR fans both new and old will definitely want to grab a copy of this for their collection as it ushers in a new era for the wart covered creatures known as GWAR.

Track Listing:
1.) Intro
2.) Madness at the Core of Time
3.) Bloodbath
4.) Nothing Left Alive
5.) They Swallowed the Sun
6.) Torture
7.) Raped at Birth
8.) I, Bonesnapper
9.) Mr. Perfect
10.) Battle Maximus
11.) Triumph of the Pig Children
12.) Falling
13.) Fly Now

Blu-ray Review “National Lampoon’s The Legend of Awesomest Maximus”

Directed by: Jeff Kanew
Starring: Will Sasso, Ian Ziering, Kristanna Loken, Sophie Monk, Rip torn, Tony Cox
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Image Entertainment
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Running Time: 91 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1/2 out of 5 stars

Recently when I see that a film that is presented by National Lampoon, I would steer clear. It definitely doesn’t have the same reputation it did back in the “Animal House” and “Vacation” series days. This film is different though and delivers some really funny laughs.  Don’t get it wrong it is stupid as shit but for some reason I found it entertaining, probably few will agree.  It also packs a reallygreat cast including Will Sasso, Ian Ziering, Kristanna Loken, Sophie Monk, Rip Torn and Tony Cox. Will Sasso is just so over-the-top, it is great and makes me count down the days till “The Three Stooges”. Ian Ziering known best for his role in “Beverly Hills, 90210”, really branches out playing the mighty warrior Testiclees…yes that’s this name.

In case you are wondering about the director, Jeff Kanew, he is known best for directing the classic comedy film “Revenge of the Nerds”. In case the cover art doesn’t describe it enough this film is a spoof of films like “Gladiator”, “Troy”, “Alexander” and of course “300”. The film is very raunchy and most of the jokes really land on their feet. If you are a fan of Will Sasso, then there is no way you won’t like this film as he gets a chance to shine in the starring role.

The film follows Awesomest Maximus (Will Sasso) who is a general of Troy but is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Awesomest gets put on duty to accompany King Looney’s (Rip Torn) only son Orlando (Gary Lundy) on a mission to Greece. Orlando ends up stealing the wife of King Erotic (Khary Payton), Princess Ellen (Sophie Monk) to be his wife.  Get it Ellen of Troy? This of course does not go well and provokes a war between Troy and Greece.

The Blu-ray presentation is decent but nothing special. The video looks clear and sharp. Though the audio track is lacking and is basically the equivalent for DVD standards. The special features are non-existent with only the theatrical trailer included. There is also a the bonus trailer for the another spoof film “Division III: Football’s Finest”.  Disappointing since this is a really funny film.  Would have loved to see a gag reel or at least some behind the scenes featurettes.