Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review #46: GWAR - Hell-O! (1988)


Year: 1988
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore, Thrash
Label: Shimmy-Disc Records
Tracks: 16 (17 on International Editions)
Length: 38 Minutes (Long)
Style: Funny/Demented/ViolentWeird
My Rating: 7/8

GWAR is a thrash-metal band from Richmond, Virginia that formed in 1984. The band is certainly not in the popular spectrum, but they have become notorious for their shocking stage antics and behaviors. GWAR is composed of a group of intergalactic warriors who were for quite some time trapped beneath the ice of Antarctica. They say that when hair-metal became extremely popular, all of the hairspray used by those bands opened up a hole in the Ozone Layer big enough to melt the ice that GWAR was trapped in, though they were still banished to live on Earth (GWAR fans, if I've got the story wrong, please correct me). But while they're primarily known as a metal band today, this record is a piece of their punk rock beginnings. Dave Brockie, who has always played the role of Oderus Urungus, was previously in a hardcore punk band called "Death Piggy" early in the '80s. GWAR was different, back in this point. Oderus Urungus had just become the new frontman, as Johnny Slutman left a few years prior. Their costumes were nowhere nearly as elaborate, they had human faces rather than masks, just wearing weird medieval/sci-fi looking battle armor and sometimes facepaint. They didn't get their more realistic-looking costumes until about a year or two after this record came out. It's considerably less heavy, but the signature thrash sound is still somewhat present.

1. Timè fôr Deäth
Silence... sounds can be heard slowly getting louder... must be the wind. When the guitar and the drums start, you know you're in for SOMETHING. The vocals flow really well, and the lyrics are pretty much GWAR's warning to the world that they are there to exterminate human beings. This song is somewhat slow.

This one's a little faster. The chorus-section comes before the verse, which is pretty much the group saying "A-E-I-O-U". The song is an argument of whether the vowels belong to Gor-Gor (one of the many characters in GWAR canon) or Satan. Who it belongs to is never really solved. The verse riff is really cool. The song at the ends speeds up to a clash of insanity.

3. Americànized
There's a solo in the beginning of this one. It's a song making fun of Americans with large egos due to the country that they live in. GWAR tries to kill them.

4. I'm in Löve (With a Deåd Dog)
Slightly less slow than the previous song. A song about being in love with a dead dog named... "Pookie." At first the song's protagonist claims that "he doesn't want to cum inside of you" (the dog), but then he goes into great detail of his sexual desire for the dead dog. You can hear the dog barking in the background... I thought it was dead! The song speeds up with a lead-section at the end in which you can hear the dog get hit by a car on the road.

5. Slütmañ City
Another slow song. Even though this song is called "Slutman City", both Johnny and Joey Slutman had left the group by the time this record came out. It's about Oderus Urungus escaping the antarctic ice to see the evil in the world which he desires to destroy, rape, and kill "because it's fun".

6. World Ô Filth
A very fast song. The lyrics go on further to describe the misanthropy of GWAR. Quieter guitar-leads can be heard in the background of the song.

7. War Toy
The song opens with something sounds like "tounge in my anal cave". It's a relaxed-tempo song about Oderus Urungus's new sex-slave, "the War Toy". Favorite line of the song: "My Nipples Explode". Pure poetry. Har har har. "Nipples Explode..." hawhasajdhsajkfhdsjfhsdkjgfd

8. Cåptain Crünch
Another slow song. Really cool bassline. Not sure if this one is about the cereal Captain Crunch or not. Probably is, though. It's about killing everybody and having necrophillia with them when they're dead. End of Side 1.

9. Püre as the Årctic Snôw
Side 2 starts fast. GWAR sings about how they came to escape from the antarctic ice and how "the system sucks", telling us to come down with them or else we'll be drowned in a sea of pus. I heard a pretty hilarious scream in there towards the end.

10. Je M'Appelle J. Cöusteaü
Almost sounds like they're using bongos for percussion in this one. Maybe something else. Not plain ol' drums, though. It's a song about the French explorer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The lyrics are really intricate and well-written.

11. GWAR Theme
This was the song that got me into GWAR. I actually heard an early lo-fi version of it on the Shimmy-Disc Video Compilation, but that was enough to get my interest. Starts with a soft, slow beginning with a few shrieks in the background. Beautiful acoustic guitar-sounds that you just can't get out of shitty modern production values. After the first verse, the songs speeds up into hardcore-mode, where the first verse is repeated in a less coherent fashion. Really cool song. The song is another song chronicling the beginnings of GWAR's foray into planet Earth, proving that even though they're a bunch of sadistic, murdering, masochistic rapists, they are total anti-heroes if there ever were, for they kill and rape stuff that SUCKS. Favorite song on the record.

Bône Meal
Only about 45 seconds long! Weird beat and a short poem about turning burnt corpses into "bone meal" for GWAR's forces to eat.

13. Öllie North
Another very fast song; except the vocals are really hard to understand. Just awesome legit GWAR screaming. The second half is slower than the first half. A great song.

14. Techno's Song
Starts with a brief moment of punk noise. Techno Destructo is one antagonists of GWAR, who can out-fight, out-fuck, and out-fart any members of GWAR. He takes the Cosmic Control Tape(?) into his grasp and forces the band to play a song he wrote while on the toilet about how great he is.

15. U Ain't Shit
This one's okay. It's a fast song about a bored person who "needs a good kick in the butt" and learns to rock because "U ain't shit until you learn how to rock".

16. Rock & Roll Pärty Töwn
Starts with a soundclip of a girl saying "It got so BIG!". Heehee. This one's a little slower. It's about a hot chick who has sex at a rock n' roll party. I'm jealous, though, 'cause chicks today just want to listen to shitty pop music and shitty corporate rap music. Whatever happened to music with BALLS? Well, nonetheless, this was supposedly one of the first GWAR songs.

17. Black and Huge
This song is only on non-American versions of the record, which kinda sucks. It's about the plight of a giant black penis that's "looking for a stupid white chick", but unfortunately, it can't seem to get out of its cup. That's the end of the record. Actually, the record is already over if your version of the record doesn't have this song on it. Which means you've been hearing something that's not even actually there for the last two minutes. Which means you're insane. Which is cool.

The cover-art depicts GWAR pushing a bunch of skinheads into a ditch. Skinheads would frequently antagonize GWAR at their early shows. Their loss. Anyways, this record is chock-full of human-slaying, human-raping, necrophillia, bestiality, anuses, and really funny noises. GWAR are fucking badasses. Not long after this album was released, their music would take on an even more metal-based flavor, and their costumes became less low-budget, and they eventually all had masks (though Balsac the Jaws of Death always had his mask). What the fuck, if you buy this album, you might be inadvertly stimulating ALIEN economies! Which would mean that maybe someday the aliens would have more money to destroy Earth with... wait. No. Nevermind. This record is good, though. The style is somewhere between hardcore punk and heavy metal, with even a little noise thrown into the mix, so there's a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Hell, the first song's vocals sound like they're being rapped. Maybe they are. I dunno. fljgfdkjglfdkjgdfrt8ujretiejh;lyrkj;lkglkfnvv jdbfsjhadewq87eqagwdbdhvahjsbfksdj ;lkgl;dfkgegjdfnjfngf


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