GWAR
Scumdogs of The Nniverse 30th Anniversary Remix

Okay lets face it, 2020 was…emotional…If I had to pick one word other than “fucked” to describe last year, I ‘d probably have to go with “warped”. For the few good things and the plethora of bad, I can without hesitation claim that the majority of 2020 was indeed a warped fucking year. And that’s inevitably what made it the absolute perfect time for a new Gwar album. Alright, alright, so the remixed and remastered 30th anniversary reissue of Scumdogs of the Universe technically isn’t a new Gwar album, but I’ll be damned if it shouldn’t be considered as such.

First of all, lets be honest. Most reissues featuring a remix and/or remaster are hardly what they are advertised as. In fact, far too many times a band or label has claimed a remaster or remix when in reality all that was ever done was simply taking the previous mastered product, bringing up its overall sound level then mastering the brought up level. Well friends, simply making this “newer” version louder does not constitute or qualify it to be considered an actual remaster, much less a remix. Thankfully for us that is not the case whatsoever when it comes to Scumdogs of the Universe getting the love and attention that it deserves.

Granted, I’m a long time fan of Gwar and Scumdogs… is one of my favorite releases from the band, if not my very favorite, so it’s not like I ever had a problem with the album, much less knew the band had envisioned a somewhat different sound or overall presentation of its material. Now if you’re not much of a Gwar fan and not too experienced or versed in the brilliance of Scumdogs… then the differences of the original album versus its current form might not seem too much of a big deal, yet to those of us that have been chewing on this badboy for the last thirty years are going to notice a cornucopia amount of differences compared to the original release.  So much so that this truly remixed and remastered release of Scumdogs… feels more like a genuine re-recording than a remix. I know what you’re thinking, “you’re shitting me, right?” Well, as my father told me more than a few occasions as a child, “I wouldn’t shit you son, you’re my favorite turd.” A bit tacky and gross, if not offensive even, but so is Gwar after all.

Seriously though, listening to this new version of Scumdogs… feels as if Oderus himself never left the building. In fact, this seems to go well beyond even a true remix and remaster. Every single track, every single note, every nuance, every beat, lick, lead, scream, laugh, and every whoa-ooohhh, has received its due attention and been brought to the form of its original intended vision. Hell, “King Queen” is damn near twice its original length, featuring new and added verses, extended choruses and a total new bridge. Where others like “Death Pod”, “Love Surgery”, and the “Horror of Yig” also feature new verses, choruses, or all new grooving sections of repugnancy. Not only has every single song received a massive amount of love and detail, but the album’s track listing has been rearranged, as well as an updated album cover, band photos, and more.

This newer Scumdogs… is a bit looser in some ways, almost a bit lighter in certain areas here and there, though never in a compromising or lessened manner. The extreme compression of the original mix and master is gone and for the most part, I’d have to say that it’s a complete success. At first it seemed odd hearing these tracks presented in this form, I mean it has literally been thirty years of having and hearing Scumdogs… solely as we’ve known it, but after many listens I have to say that this newer version is the superior of the two. It simply sounds more live, and ultimately, alive. It’s what helps give the album the aforementioned feeling of being a re-recording rather than a remixed reissue.  I can only assume that the band/label saved every take and alternate outing from the album’s original studio time, thus allowing for such an outstanding attention oriented re-release to be done in the first place.  Whomever the brilliant individual that did this and kept them safe for the past thirty year is, or was, they deserve some major ass kudos.

Gwar and Scumdogs of the Universe were one of those bands that I discovered early in my teenage years. Their zany brand of immaturity and comedy mixed with a rocking, thrashing, punky, metal, and even ska like meshing all crammed into one giant ball of flat out obnoxiousness and blatant gross and gory sexualized nature was something that my friends and I latched onto quickly. I can still remember shoe polishing the windows of my older sister’s car when I was a sixteen year old kid, writing in huge letters, “The Salaminizer” across the car’s back windshield. Or witnessing the band for the first of many times, back in the mid ’90’s, in a little club in central Texas. After finding out about the show earlier that same day, I made the three hour drive to the venue, proceeded to be bathed in the quirky thrashings and stage antics of Oderus and the gang, both figuratively and literally. I’m still not quite sure how I got home safe and sound that night, but I did. I even managed to snag a couple of hours of sleep before having to be at work at 7:00 a.m. the following morning; though I was sent home for literally being stained from fake blood and various types of goo from the previous night’s excursions of Gwar-tality.

I have other, better, Gwar stories I could expound upon, but they’re going to stay locked up in my head as great memories of a great band. I still love Gwar, but I would be lying to you if I said that the group hadn’t clearly lost something with  the passing of Oderus Urungus/Dave Brockie back in 2014. I wasn’t the biggest fan of their past album, you know, the one sans Oderus, but I have hope that their potential to really achieve something on the same level as their classic material is still possible. For the here and now though go do yourself a favor and pickup the “new album” Scumdogs of the Universe. Whether you are a seasoned veteran of the band or a newcomer entirely, you will not be disappointed.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
February 23rd, 2021

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