10 Best GWAR Songs
On March 23, 2014, the world lost GWAR frontman Dave 'Oderus Urungus' Brockie. To celebrate the life of a true visionary, please enjoy our take on the 10 Best GWAR Songs and tell us about your personal favorites in the comments section below.
The greatest band from beyond the stars, GWAR, have inhabited the most frigid continent on this worthless planet and have been slaughtering everything that moves for over 25 years. They have amassed a host of albums during this minuscule amount of time, full of tales of blood, decadence, and more blood.
The band saw a revolving door of musicians over their quarter century reign since arriving on Earth in Antarctica. New musicians tend to bring a new sound to the GWAR fold, seeing the band change their style from a metallic punk brand, infusing ska, jazz, and rock opera elements in other areas, to the more straightforward metal approach since Y2K was a threat, that, unfortunately, did not wipe out all of the human filth which shames this spinning rock in space.
GWAR’s crude nature kicks off this list. What’s it about? Something to do with vaginas and flies. The eccentric lead playing that opens the song and continues half way through the first verse should shatter all notions that these dudes are complete hacks. The riffing style in this jam is the foundation for the sound that ended up defining the band’s sonic approach for over a decade that was made possible by the late Cory Smoot. This is the longest span that GWAR have stuck with the same style, settling into a groove that suits the band the best after years and years of madness.
‘Ragnarök’ is the most experimental album GWAR have released, containing a mishmash of styles including ragtime, jazz, punk, and a range of metal influences that all come together to create some sort of morbid rock opera. The aliens were busy destroying beings on other planets when rock operas were all the rage, so they wrote one 25 years later. ‘Wharghoul’ requires some more attention than you might be used to giving any given GWAR tune. The layering here is pretty dense before the song seems to end and breaks into an element that plays into the rock opera mentality.
This band has never been ones to take themselves seriously, which could not be more evident on ‘Saddam A Go-Go.’ The song is a ska-inflected metal tune. Since killing off every ska band would take too much time, making fun of them was the next best option. After all, nobody is going to call them out and challenge the intergalactic metal band. The lyrics end up with Saddam Hussein running around with a saxophone denouncing ska as sonic terror. As goofy as this song might seem, it is another testament to the band’s versatility to add aspects from outside genre to their unique brand of metallic music.
GWAR are all about killing; we know this already. In 2004, the band released ‘War Party’ which is a statement about the state of the world’s affairs of the time. The GWAR idea of a party might differ just a bit from ours. The album glorifies war, yet simultaneously criticizes it if you take a deeper look at the lyrics. Naturally, GWAR aren’t going to condemn war and campaign for peace, but there is a message from the men behind the costumes. World powers are accumulating nuclear weapons at staggering rates, potentially threatening the entire planet’s existence. The message is backed up by a deadly string of riffs in the metallic fashion the band are being hailed for.
GWAR were on a roll with a streak of albums that saw the band become a heavy force and undisputed talented musicians. They continued that streak with the superb ‘Lust in Space’ with the title track kicking things off in a climactic fashion. The album is the apex of GWAR’s compositional skills. The band switches between straightforward ripping metal riffs, to fantastical lead work that textures the song and gives off the feeling of space. All the small nuances in ‘Lust in Space’ thrust thing song to the next level and set the bar impressively high.
‘Abyss of Woe’ opens with a stacatto riff that gives way to a full band “oooh-oooh oh oooh-oooh oh!” chant. The leadwork that is played under the chorus swings perfectly with the trade off between gang chants and the late Oderus Urungus. This second full song on ‘Violence Has Arrived’ immediately lets fans know that the band have stepped up their game musically, achieving their most impressive guitar work yet at the time of this release. After one listen, ‘Abyss of Woe’ won’t leave your head for days. Clearly, this is one of the catchiest songs the band ever wrote. The abyss is probably where anyone killed by GWAR go to die as you’re damned to an eternity listening to Barbara Streisand records.
If you're sick of this list, then GWAR are ‘Sick of You.’ This popular GWAR song is rarely omitted from a setlist. The playful surf rock-like lead is undeniably catchy with a sing-along chorus that makes for a highlight at any GWAR show. Despite its brevity, ‘Sick of You’ packs everything together rather well. The lyrics are pretty stupid, as if that’s never the case with this band. That doesn’t matter here. Oderus demands for the song to become quieter as he breaks for a silly dramatic vocal bit before the song comes back in full force with another sing-along backing vocal section that let’s you know just how disgusted GWAR are with us humans.
‘America Must Be Destroyed’ is a surprisingly diverse album, with ‘The Road Behind’ coming as the biggest shock towards the end of the album. GWAR realized ballads are stupid and wrote their own to make fun of them. Sarcasm dominates with a play on the plight of being in a touring band and not wanting to play a show because you’re hungover. The more serious sentiments depict the loneliness of the touring life, sung by Beefcake the Mighty to juxtapose Oderus. The band closed their set with this song on their tour dedicated to the late Flattus Maximus (Cory Smoot) making for a rare heartfelt moment from the alien group.
Ready for some killing!? ‘Slaughterama’ is the most fun GWAR song in their entire catalog. The tune takes the approach of a game show with then manager Sleazy P. Martini serving as the host of a game that demands the correct answer to a question from a contestant. If they answer incorrectly or not in time, their bodies are rendered unidentifiable. Among the slaughtered are a hippie, an artist, and a skinhead. The song can be offensive at times, but since when have GWAR ever played it safe? Killing everything is the band’s modus operandi, which is why ‘Slaughterama’ is one of their best.
Front-thing Oderus Urungus has stated that he believes ‘Immortal Corruptor’ is the best song GWAR have ever written. The band has always used backing vocals to perfection with no exception here. Though this song clocks in at under six minutes, it still has that epic feel and is easily one of the most fun moments at a GWAR show.