Gwar - Scumdogs of the Universe
Metal Blade
Parody of Heavy Metal but still Heavy Metal
13 songs (51:55)
Release year: 1990
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Shane
Archive review

Gwar is a band that either you love or you hate. With their ridiculous costumes, outrageous stage show and lowbrow, sophomoric lyrics, Gwar is a band that it easy to dismiss as “just a joke”. I admit it, I love Gwar and on Scumdogs of the Universe, Gwar gets everything right as their parody of heavy metal music creates an album that contains all of the elements of a killer metal album. It features Killer riffs, aggressive vocals and surprisingly good bass and drum performances.

Every song on Scumdogs rocks, even the game show-like Slaughterama, where Manager Sleazy P. Martini (Don Drakulich) takes over on vocals and basically narrates to music, a game show in which low-lifes bet their lives to win cash. Of course, the members of Gwar dispatch each contestant rather violently (and humorously). While this song does get old after a while and despite the fact that it was created with their live show in mind, it is still surprisingly listenable. With the exception of, Cool Place to Park, which features the screeching, raspy vocals of Beefcake the Mighty (Michael Bishop) and Sexecutioner which is sung by none other than the Sexecutioner (Chuck Varga), the vocals are handled by Gwar front man Oderous Urungus (David Brockie). While Gwar’s line-up has changed many times over the years, one constant has been Oderous on vocals and, in my opinion, Scumdogs of the Universe features Oderous’s best vocal performance. I swear you can actually hear him drooling on Love Surgery when singing about surgically mutilating people. On this album, Oderous growls more than he sings (yes, he can do both) and by doing so, he adds aggression and power that subsequent releases would be lacking. Even when singing obscenely stupid lyrics, Oderous’s delivery is one that creates something unique and that is metal that you can both rock and laugh to, providing you don’t care about lyrical content. Gwar truly is a more outrageous, heavier R-rated version of Spinal Tap.

The opening track, Salaminizer is a balls out rocker that has a killer opening riff. The lyrics are so offensive and spew so much attitude that one can not help but to laugh. It is a parody of the life of excess that metal bands indulge in and Gwar openly claims to be the most indulgent. This track is my all-time favourite Gwar track. Maggots is next, and it is one of the most heavy and aggressive songs that Gwar does. Thanks to another blazing riff and intense vocal performance, you can almost forget how stupid it is to be singing about Maggots falling from the sky (not to mention gross). Sick of You follows and is one of Gwar’s most well-known songs thanks to the fact that it is fairly commercial (meaning it’s not that offensive) and it is a catchy song. Oderous actually sings a little on this one and he doesn’t sound half bad. I still prefer his heavy voice though. One track that almost exclusively features this heavy voice is Horror of Yig and thanks to a heavy dose of vocal effects, his voice is almost “death metal heavy”. The drums on this track are particularly good and so is the bass as they create a rhythm that is very suited for head banging. In fact, most songs on the album are suited for this, and that’s one of the reasons this album is so great. The guitar work is another reason, and while it’s not technically amazing, it is still very capable and extremely well-done as each song has great riffs. The punk influenced Vlad the Impaler totally rocks despite its bad beyond-description lyrics “Vlad Vlad Vlad the Impaler, Vlad Vlad he could have been a tailor” and “He’s so glad he’s Vlad”. With lyrics as bad as these put to music that is actually good, as hard as it is to like, I find it harder not to like. That really is the charm of Gwar, as they strive to mix aggressive music with obscene and lowbrow humour. If you think that something like this may be appealing to you, Scumdogs of the Universe is the best place to start, as it is Gwar’s best album and is as good a parody of heavy metal as you will find. It is not only funny, but the songs truly do rock and rock hard. Gwar is my metal-guilty pleasure.

Killing Songs :
The Salaminizer, Maggots, Sick of You, Horror of Yig, Vlad the Impaler
Shane quoted 92 / 100
Jeff quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Gwar that we have reviewed:
Gwar - Battle Maximus reviewed by Jared and quoted 75 / 100
Gwar - Bloody Pit of Horror reviewed by Tony and quoted 87 / 100
Gwar - War Party reviewed by Tony and quoted 87 / 100
Gwar - Lust in Space reviewed by Tony and quoted 95 / 100
Gwar - Beyond Hell reviewed by Kayla and quoted 91 / 100
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