The New Dark Ages

I’ve always been a Gwar fan. The Brockie albums are classics, the first two, Hell-o and Scumdogs of the Universe are undeniable required listening. Their shows are legendary, copious amounts of blood, piss and sperm being sprayed across the crowd with wild, reckless abandon. They were the last show I saw before the world went to shit, and they were fucking amazing; I even got some blood on my arm which was pretty cool. They were grime back then, this dirty guitar tone and they created a fucking insane, fantastical world with Sleazy P. Martini, and it was all gory fun.

Here I am with this new Gwar album, and I hate it. This isn’t going to be one of those “these fucking guys are expanding their sound and I’m old and don’t like it” reviews. I hate that gatekeeper horse shit, so let’s see, maybe by the end of this review I’ll have convinced myself that it doesn’t suck donkey balls, we shall see. First off, it’s fifteen tracks and that would be okay if they were ‘all killer, no filler’ but they’re not. Gwar albums exist like that, not only the first two albums; but This Toilet Earth and America Must be Destroyed show that the nineties were great for Gwar. After Dave Brockie (R.I.P.) passed away there was a void that opened and the search to replace the irreplaceable began. In comes Blothar the Berserker and The Blood of Gods is released, that being a solid album, even though the production left a bit to be desired; tracks like “Crushed by the Cross” and “I’ll be Your Monster, Baby” showed that they could be campy as fuck and mercilessly heavy.

I’ve been listening to the New Dark Age as I write this and remember the part where I said I hated it? Well, I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t sound like a Gwar album, or maybe; my concept of what a Gwar album should sound like. The lyrics are kind of stupid on a few tracks, like a fever brained eighteen-year-old wrote the most wacko shit he could come up with.

The title is a solid rager, until the 3:14 mark when it gets nu-metal and stupid, its like the song realized it and tries to redeem itself but the damage has been done. The same goes for track two “Blood Libel”, it hurts my brain and ears. “Berserker Mode” is where I want to talk about the guitar on this bitch, they’re fucking sensational, Iron Maiden sticks their head in the door at the three-minute mark with a fucking drool inducing solo. It isn’t until “Completely Fucked” that things get interesting musically again with this tasty as ribs riff, but I don’t like “The Cutter”, sorry it’s a meh song and not the one that they should’ve used as the single. “Rise Again” comes up with a sneaky Metallica riff before becoming a song Testament could have written, but goddammit it’s catchy and that chorus is just… yeah. Personal favorite track is “Venom of the Platypus” Balsac the Jaws of Death and Pustulus Maximus complete a rhythm and lead section that are tight as a bullfrog’s ass.

It’s hard to write about albums that are this long, sometimes you go into an album unexpecting; especially if its an album by one of your favorite bands, and like I said at first, I fucking hated it. Yes, there are filler songs on it, but it’s easy to pick which ones will go down well live. Overall, I’ll say that it had to grow on me like some unnamed cosmic slime, and it warms my black heart that I gave it a chance; as you should.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeremy Beck
July 7th, 2022


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