Somebody really should do a TV show called Dungeons, Dragons & Death Metal. Has a nice ring to it, right? Way better than Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. The host of Dungeons, Dragons & Death Metal would swallow Guy Fieri whole…except for his hair, because his hair probably tastes like peroxide and bacon grease.
I’m not really sure what they’d do on Dungeons, Dragons & Death Metal…drive around to role-playing stores and declare their figurines to be “the bomb,” I guess…but I have the perfect soundtrack for it: A Band of Orcs. They’re Orcs who play death metal. Any questions? Didn’t think so.
A Band of Orcs are a five-piece from Santa Cruz…or I should say, they’re from “the blasted doomscape of Hirntodia” but came to our world via Santa Cruz because when stoner hippies aren’t surfing, they’re playing Dungeons & Dragons. They’ve been around since 2006. They released an EP in 2007 called Warchiefs of the Apocalypse and a full-length album in 2012 called Adding Heads to the Pile, both of which shred pretty hard for a bunch of guys in rubber Orc suits. Or, if you don’t want to spoil the fantasy, I guess you could say their music shreds pretty hard considering they didn’t learn to play guitar, bass and drums until they were cast into our world by a monster summoning spell and heard some Slayer.
They made a video in 2007 called “Into the Maelstrom” that is so fucking awesome they haven’t made another one since. I mean, how can you top this shit? There’s an entire conquering Orc army! With giant beasts with stages strapped to their backs so A Band of Orcs can do a concert in the middle of the battlefield! I have to watch it again and break stuff.
Apparently no one knows the true identities of A Band of Orcs. Unless they really are Orcs. That could explain why they haven’t made any more videos. Orcs are notoriously camera-shy. Although they have given a ton of on-camera interviews, so that blows that theory. Maybe they prefer to just let the music speak for itself. Yeah, that must be it.
By the way: Thanks to reader “enragedlime” for suggesting that we add these beasts to The Weird List. You can stop being so enraged now, OK?
In their 28 years on our pathetic excuse for a planet, GWAR has cut a pretty wide swath of destruction. But for reasons that remain murkier than the inside of Oderus’s codpiece, Japan has been spared…until now.
This March, GWAR will play their first-ever* shows in the nation that gave us a shrimp-themed jazz/funk band and a J-pop trio that looks like this. So I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the Scumdogs of the Universe will be a big hit in Osaka and Tokyo. Plus, they’re apparently bringing their pet T-Rex Gor-Gor with them, and we all know that if there’s one thing Japanese people love, it’s getting their asses kicked by giant dinosaurs. That and metal played by schoolgirls. Maybe new guitarist Pustulus Maximus can wear a plaid skirt for the occasion.
Even space-traveling demon-gods need to plan their tours efficiently, so GWAR will also be swinging through Australia to play the Soundwave Festival, a touring punk/rock/metal festival with a lineup so good I almost don’t mind that it includes Panic! At the Disco. Almost.
Anyway, for all you folks on the other side of our pathetic excuse for a planet, here are the full dates:
GWAR Australia/Japan Tour
2/22/14: Soundwave Festival Brisbane
2/23/14: Soundwave Festival Sydney
2/28/14: Soundwave Festival Melbourne
3/1/14: Soundwave Festival Adelaide
3/3/14: Soundwave Festival Perth
3/6: Osaka, Japan @ BIG CAT
3/7: Tokyo, Japan @ Akasaka BLITZ
In other news we meant to tell you about sooner: GWAR released their latest album, Battle Maximus, last fall. You can score yourself a copy here and watch the video for “Madness at the Core of Time” below. We can attest from personal experience that yes, that’s really what a GWAR show looks like. Except it’s even grosser in person. Can’t let Oderus spew his demon spunk all over that expensive camera equipment.
*That concert DVD Live From Mt. Fuji? “Recorded in the future!” according to Oderus. Or Pittsburgh, according to Wikipedia.
Getting sprayed with fake blood at a GWAR concert is fun and all, but I bet it pales in comparison to getting sprayed with real blood and/or lighter fluid. And both those things are probably strong possibilities at the 4th Annual GWAR-B-Q, an orgy of loud music and roasted flesh hosted by the greatest alien-god-monster metal band in the universe. Too bad it’s happening in Virginia, or I’d totally go. But I’m pretty sure I still have at least two outstanding warrants in that state. Or was it West Virginia? Either way, I’m out.
But if you’re in that part of the world on Saturday, Aug. 17, you should totally fucking go. In addition to GWAR, the lineup features such stellar purveyors of weird metal as Cannabis Corpse (weed-themed death metal), X-Cops (current and former members of GWAR dressed up as, well, cops) and Kung Fu Dykes (uh…this shit). Also on the bill: the less weird but undeniably awesome Corrosion of Conformity, Municipal Waste, Loincloth and one of my personal favorites, muthafuckin’ Pig Destroyer. Shit is gonna go off, y’all.
Oh, and did we mention they’re also gonna be rolling out the very first GWAR-themed beer, Impaled Ale? Somebody save us a case.
Tickets go on sale June 6th at gwarbq.com. Mark your calendars in the blood of your enemies.
Some of the bands we blog about require a lot of explanation. We have to give you their whole history, explain how they pioneered some obscure subgenre no one’s ever heard of, tell you that all their instruments are woven from human hair or that they write all their lyrics by putting refrigerator magnet poetry on a Ouija Board or some shit. Some of the bands we blog about are fucking complicated.
And then there’s Metallagher.
Metallagher is a Metallica cover band in which the lead singer is a Gallagher impersonator. Between songs he tells bad jokes and during songs he sings and smashes watermelons. And that’s pretty much all you need to know.
If you really need more backstory, read this interview. You will not be at all surprised to learn that they thought of the name first and the band came later. Or that they’re from Minneapolis. Because really, what else is there to do in Minneapolis except get drunk and think up band names like Metallagher?
Like most cover bands, Metallagher are reportedly best appreciated live. Our friends Jay and Adam were the first ones to tell us about them, and they said the live show was a fruit-splattering spectacle worthy of GWAR. Except instead of going home covered in fake blood and alien jizz, fans go home covered in actual watermelon juice.
They really need more videos that skip that bad-joke-telling part of their act and get right to the fruit-smashing part. But this “promo video” gives a decent idea of what they’re about. Hope they come back to L.A. soon. Maybe for a double bill with Metalachi?
It being Halloween and whatnot, I thought it would be a good time to give a shout out to another costume band. But not just any costume band, because let’s face it, all the rubber monster masks in the world can’t make up for boring music. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Slipknot.
But these guys out of San Diego called The Locust are pretty badass. They play a style of punk/thrash/noise that I guess some folks call “powerviolence“…yes, there’s a genre name for everything these days. There songs are super short, sometimes less than a minute, and tend to have titles like “Recyclable Body Fluids in Human Form” and “Full Frontal Obscurity.” And the kicker is that, unlike your average punk band (or powerviolence band, as far as we know), they dress up in these matching uniforms that make them look kind of like a cross between DEVO and a chemical weapons disposel team.
So here’s a little clip of The Locust doing their costumed powerviolence thing, with a precision and ferocity that puts the latest Saw move to shame. Incidently, their drummer is a guy named Gabe Serbian who used to be in another band we’ve blogged about, veggie goregrinders Cattle Decapitation. Bet the Cattle guys miss him. Dude’s an absolute beast.
A few months back, we blogged about Caninus, the world’s only (to our knowledge) death metal band featuring dogs on lead vocals. Well, in the interest of giving equal time, we guess it’s time to acknowledge that when it comes to replacing the feeble vocal chords of humans in the death metal scene, Caninus is not alone. There’s also a death metal band fronted by a parrot. We couldn’t make this shit up if we tried, people!
Amazingly, Hatebeak has been around since 2004 and released at least three records, including a split with our old pals Caninus. The band is made up of Blake, Mark and Waldo. We’ll let you guess which one is the parrot.
Much like Caninus, Hatebeak is strictly a studio project, so no live footage or music videos exist. However, several enterprising fans have posted most of the band’s catalog on YouTube at this point. They were signed to a Baltimore hardcore label/store called Reptilian Records, but it literally just closed its storefront today (today! what are the odds?) and although their website declares, “Is Reptilian going under? Hell no!” the link for the band’s page on the Reptilian site doesn’t work. So have Hatebeak squawked their last? We’re not optimistic. Although, we hear parrots live to be like 150, so maybe Waldo can pull a Dave Mustaine and go on to have lasting success with some other project, occasionally squawking bitterly about how shittily Blake and Mark treated him in interviews with Metal Hammer.
Anyway, here’s Hatebeak in action. Kind of arty compared to Caninus, but we’re diggin it.
At this point in rock history, just putting on crazy outfits really isn’t enough to qualify your band as weird. Slipknot? Not weird. Hollywood Undead? Please. Even KISS, the original crazy costumed band, doesn’t seem all that weird in retrospect. Really, they’re just a bar band with face paint and really good pyro. Hose them down and songs like “Beth” could be .38 Special for all I can tell.
But there’s something about GWAR’s particular brand of costumed mayhem that beats down the gates of Weird City, blood cannons blazing, and enslaves every puny pretender to the Weird Throne that’s come before or since. Compared to GWAR, KISS is almost cuddly. I mean, these guys take the whole costume thing to another level.
GWAR has been around for 25 years—not as long as KISS, granted, but they also never had KISS’s level of success, either. The guys behind these monster masks are in it for the love of the game—especially one David Brockie, the man behind lead critter Oderus Urungus and the only constant member of the band. The guy’s straight-faced dedication to GWAR’s mix of sci-fi and horror camp, thrash metal, and juvenile humor is almost as superhuman as Oderus himself. At this point, he must sweat spirit gum and latex every time he goes to the gym.
By the way, it’s worth noting that other current and past members of the band have included Flattus Maximus, Balsac the Jaws of Death, Jizmak Da Gusha, Hans Orifice and Nippelus Erectus. Did we mention they’re kinda juvenile? But in a good way!
With the band celebrating their 25th anniversary and the arrival of their 11th (11th!) studio album this year, GWAR seem to be enjoying some kind of resurgence…if a band that was never more than a cult oddity can ever be said to have a resurgence. Oderus is even becoming something of a media personality. He has an advice column on MetalSucks.com and has been making regular appearances on Fox News. No, we’re not making this up.
But really, it’s all about the music. So here’s a concert clip, too. All hail the mighty GWAR!