Review Summary: Hey, what ever happened to Eddie Munster? IM LOOKIN’ AT HIM!!!!!!!!
The 90’s brought with it some pretty nifty and new ideas into the music industry compared to those of the 80’s. However not so many bands achieved the shockingly bizarre outfit of Gwar, much less Scumdogs of the Universe, arguably the greatest act by Gwar, (rivaled by Rangarok). This a concept album basically taking the idea that the members of Gwar are taking siege over Earth, and having one hell of an adventure with it. The band really did shoot for the stars with songs like “Maggots”, “Slaughterama”, and “Vlad the Impaler”. But the album in its entirety is socially twisted in the most bizarre and sometimes sexual ways. Though not for everybody, if taken with a grain of salt, the can prove to be both comedic and relatively thought-provoking, but mostly just funny.
There is no doubt that this is a hit or miss band. No later than their sophomore effort, Gwar have already proved themselves to be maniacal, outgoing to a degree of offensiveness, and are disdained by many. But at the same time they have widely accepted by the music industry, as this is their first record to be signed to Metal Blade Records, and this is their most accepted album (in terms of record sales), for good reason to. This album does speak of subjects that matter, the only main issue to find with it is that Gwar have made it apparent that they don’t necessarily do this with the greatest word choice, and they don’t neglect to make things as explicit as possible when called for. But, if this is all taken lightly, and you can keep in mind that this purely for comedic, theatric entertainment, this isn’t that bad.
The album kicks off with an outstanding riff to begin “The Salaminizer”, which immediately begins to repel some audiences due to the incredible amounts of revolting language. But the bottom line is that the lyrics induce smiles to those with a sense of humor, and it’s undeniable that it is catchy. Instrumentation is not something Gwar has a problem with, particularly in this album. The guitars take on many forms here, quickly switching from groove, to shredding, to twisty up and down notes; they’re all over the place. The drums are kept interesting and eclectic, with fun beat changes, but with a maintained speed to make it at least somewhat coherent. When all is said and done, (besides the disturbed lyrical structure), this is a pretty typical crossover thrash album. What makes it atypical though, are the vocalists.
This album, unlike its punk rock predecessor, has more than two lead singers. The usual and most recognized Oderus Urungus and “Techno Destructo”, alongside featured singers Sleazy, Sexecutioner, and the bassist for the debut album, “Beefcake the Mighty”. But for the most part, Oderus is taking up the mic for these tracks. All these vocalists, it can only mean a lot of variety in the tracks right? Indeed it does. In fact, Scumdogs of the Universe is probably the band’s most eclectic album (in terms of vocalists). It really does compliment the whole album. This album also contains Gwar’s experimentation with samples. “Maggots” is the best example of this, seeing as it contains annoying buzzes throughout the track, but it’s still rather humorous.
The 4th track, Slaughterama, is definitely one of the better tracks on this album. Sleazy P. Martini is featured in this track, and this song is basically about a game show involving the killing of Nazi skinheads and hippies. It’s overall an insanely hilarious track, with clever punch lines lining the track left and right, and a game show type tune to the guitars. Death Pod is another interesting track, as it pulls this concept album of terrorism and destruction together. It basically explains how the “Scumdogs” came to Earth to begin with, and it contains the same type of comedic brutality revealed all throughout the album. The comedic value is only taken further in the next track Sexecutioner.
Once the album finishes off, a seemingly vague feeling may loom over you if you didn’t know exactly what to expect from this. Just like before, this is a hit or miss band, but to be quite honest this is one of the more accessible albums from the band. It’s relatively easy to wrap your head around; it’s not an album to be confused about. It’s simple (though eclectic) humor in its prime. Though it’s not a classic, it’s definitely the best Gwar has to offer. If you didn’t like this, or the debut, and you can’t come to like Ragnarok a few years later, then there is not much this band is going to have for you. While Gwar is really taking a fancy to experimentation, and shock rock insanity in the beginning, they rarely step outside these boundaries in years to come.