Review Summary: The Pivotal Album where the Anartican Gods fell from grace.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
Far before Gwar became the tired joke they are now (don't get me wrong, when they come to town, I'm still going), there was America Must Be Destroyed. This album is the follow up to the still classic "Scumdogs of the Universe" and remains the pivotal point in their career. With this album Gwar found stardom through Beavis and Butthead exposure and a decently selling home video with a (choke) plot and (snicker) acting.
But apart from all of that, there was their third album: "America Must Be Destroyed." On this album Gwar takes a quasi-political stance against censorship while simultaneously penning some of the most offensive material of their career. Don't misunderstand me, I understand Gwar's intentions and I love dark humor with the best of them, but perhaps "Rock & Roll Never Felt So Good" borders on good taste...Perhaps.
The album starts off very encouraging with the high-spirited and odd time-signatured "Ham on the Bone" which demonstrates the bands newly acquired confidence, particularly in vocalist Oderous Urungus. "Crack in the Egg" quickly follows which is a heavy-groove midtempo rocker which stills finds its way onto Gwar's set lists.
The well-executed "Gor-Gor" is followed by album stand-out "Have You Seen Me" that starts out with bar-chatter, the clink of cocktail glass, and smooth loungey bassline. "Have You Seen Me" is such a significant track because it demonstrates what Gwar has spent their entire careers trying to perfect - the blend of novelty and good songwriting. So much of Gwar's catalogue (particularly after this album) were songs written to be a certain "type" ie. "a thrash song," "a glam song," "a ballad." This has served to pigeon Gwar firmly into the novelty-act catagory. "Have You Seen Me" is an exception to this because it blends the lounge-jazz feel with a sound that is absolutely Gwar at their most rockin'.
Unfortunately, Gwar saw fit to only write an EP's worth of decent material as what follow "Have You Seen Me" is song-after-song of miserable filler material. "The Morality Squad" and "America Must Be Destroyed" are two tracks that were obviously written to back their stage show, but they do not have any business being on a studio album.
From that point on, only "Blimey" and "Gilded Lily" offer any hopeful moments, but these songs probably appear better by the fact that they are surrounded by such worthless tracks as the mock-ballad "The Road Behind" and sleeper "Poor Ole Tom." Also, one can only wonder if the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" quote at the beginning of "Pussy Planet" is intentional or unintentional given the release date of this album.
AMBD is Gwar's last essential album, and it is this because of the first 4 tracks. The band begins to lose steam half way through and by the time their next album came out, they had lost any trace of being a "joke band with good songs," they had just become a joke.