Album Review By Heather Laing.
Recommended for fans of: Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold.
Bringing both new songs and new stories to the alternative scene with their latest album ‘The New Dark Ages’ and graphic novel ‘GWAR in the duoverse of absurdity’.
The glory of GWAR returns to delight fans once again as the band readies themselves to unleash their latest album alongside their upcoming tour of Europe. With eighteen previous albums as well as an additional ‘Scumdogs of the universe’ recorded live, it’s no surprise GWAR has had its fair share of experience within multiple genres. This band has been classified as heavy metal, thrash metal, hard rock, and even crossover thrash; a variety of genres that, alongside their long and successful history, speaks volumes about the bands talent. And this time around, the band is going one step further, as they are not only bringing out a brand new album, but are also diving into the world of sci-fi and horror with their own graphic novel, set to be released alongside ‘The New Dark Ages’. The story will follow the band members as the main characters of the tale, as they are transported into an alternative reality in which they must become heroes and fight their evil alternate selves as well as The Spectre of Rouge Technology using the powers of “hard driving heavy metal and rock-n-fucking role.” With an explosive plot promising tales of fear and glory, We think it is safe to say an accompanying album would need to be something pretty astounding in order to match the novels magnitude. Is this something that GWAR can truly pull off?
…As if we ever doubted them.
These tracks are every metalheads dream, with each providing ruthless and powerful songs that encompass everything great about GWAR’s previous years, while still giving the scene something new and exciting to enjoy. Each track has something a little different to offer, whether its instrumental, lyrical, or even in rhythm and tempo. However, diversity is not all this album has to brag about, as GWAR have been able to give each track just enough similarities as well as differences to allow the songs to play off each other the way that only a great set list can. ‘Motherfucking Liar’ (April 26th, 2022) and ‘Berserker Mode’ (May 17th, 2022) are a great example of this, as the two contain a very similar style in terms of thundering rhythm, wild guitar and drum combinations. Both also contain consistent heavy lyrics that remain raw and unshakable throughout the songs duration, although Motherfucking Liar does include the occasional scream. There are many other tracks within the album that also follow the same qualities, like Completely Fucked and The Cutter, which draw upon punishing guitar riffs and fantastic solos while combing them with ferocious lyrics and electrifying tempo’s. Even what many would consider to be the gentler songs are just as powerful in their own right, each is balanced well with the heavier tracks by providing a brief reprieve which places emphasis on their differences. New Dark Age is far slower in rhythm than many of the other tracks, accompanied with a gentle drum and guitar mix which allows the drums to take precedence and blend seamlessly with the smooth vocals. However, not only does this work incredibly well as a powerful introduction song, but it provides an excellent Segway for the much heavier Blood Libel. Unto the Breech and Rise Again also follow a very similar method, utilising a slower but heavier tempo that is instead supported by a ruthless drum and guitar mix that contains equal amounts of both. Both also contain a much longer instrumental introduction to that of the faster album tracks, again creating some diversity within each songs design, as well as providing some slight respite in the change of speed that allows fans to appreciate each songs differences a little more.
With all of this and more to offer, ‘The New Dark Ages’ looks to be another great album for GWAR that fans both old and new will get to enjoy. Combined with a graphic novel that promises to excite fans with tales of sci-fi, horror, and rock and roll glory; I have no doubt GWAR are about to strike hard within the alternative music scene in a way like never before. They may not have any villainous alter ego’s to fight here, but they are still undoubtedly our own heavy metal hero’s.
‘The New Dark Ages’ Track Listing:
New Dark Age
Unto The Breech
The Beast Will Eat Itself
Venom Of The Platypus
Bored To Death
Deus Ex Monstrum
Release date: 3rd June (digital). CD releases on 15th July due to production delays. Then there’s their UK dates in August, including a slot at Bloodstock Festival (UK).
‘The New Dark Ages‘ is available to pre-order on cassette, CD and an array of coloured vinyl (whiskey, sunbolt and black/gold marble) and the graphic novel as both soft and hard cover. Bundles are available including one with Blóthar bobbleheads, and a one of a kind Beefcake helmet. See them all HERE.