GWAR Enslave The Paramount Huntington, NY 9-17-15 w/ Battlecross & Butcher Babies

GWAR Enslave The Paramount Huntington, NY 9-17-15 w/ Battlecross & Butcher Babies

Openly extra terrestrial Metal ravagers GWAR have been enslaving Metal fans for three decades. This year, together with Butcher Babies and the Motor City’s own Battlecross, GWAR has swept across the country on the Thirty Years of Total World Domination Tour. The penultimate show of the first leg of the tour happened in Huntington, New York on Thursday September 17th as white shirted Gwar fans lined up to enter the Paramount, a beacon to Long Island Metal fans.

The night started with local Progressive heroes Moon Tooth, who started the show to an impressive group of loyal fans. Guitarist Nick Lee spent the set on top of his amp, sweeping and shredding in his unpredictable style. Vocalist John Carbone went from standing center stage and allowing his bandmates to be in the spotlight to showing off his own powerful vocals and running through the crowd with a Moon Tooth flag. Drummer Ray Marte played whip fast patterns and solid grooves, adding to the complexity of the music, while rock solid bassist Vin Romanelli provided plenty of movement. The growing crowd roared with approval as Moon Tooth gave them a high energy set of great music. Check them out soon, as this is a band on the rise.

Detroit’s Battlecross has been steadily gaining steam as hard working road dogs. With the release of their new record, Rise To Power (2015), they are demanding the attention of Thrash Metal audiences and of a broader section of Metal fans as well. Over the last few years, they have toured with Death Angel, Killswitch Engage and have appeared at Orion Festival, Mayhem Festival, Download and Aerodrome Festivals, stepping in for Megadeth for the latter. Battlecross takes big chances, so it was no surprise that they took the stage at the Paramount to a huge gathering of eager fans. The band was greeted by a strong roar from the crowd as they kicked right into “Force Fed Lies” and “Beast” off of their second official release, 2013’s War Of Will. Vocalist Kyle “Gumby” Gunther looked out with pride upon the sea of fans who honored the band with a churning pit. He thanked the crowd for coming out and expressed gratitude and respect for all who shared the stage that night.

Guitarists Hiran Deraniyagala and Joe Cady, filling in for Tony Asta,delivered tight, complex riffs with great speed and technique, while bassist Don Slater added equal speed and complexity to the two guitars. Next it was on to the new record with “Not Your Slave,” “Absence,” and “Spoiled.” The crowd fed the energy back to the band as they swirled in front. Drummer Alex Bent was a violent machine behind the kit, adding a barrage of percussion. “Flesh and Bone” from War of Will followed. Without letting up, the band moved to their first Metal Blade release,2011’s Pursuit of Honor, by performing “Pursuit of Honor” and “Push, Pull, Destroy.” Battlecross is on the edge of huge success, having performed a tight, solid set of brutal Thrash Metal. Be sure to check them out the next time they are in town.

Next on stage was Los Angeles natives Butcher Babies, a Thrash Punk Metal band whose 2013 debut album, Goliath, charted just outside of the top 100 in the Billboard charts, while their newest release, Take it Like a Man (2015), actually opened in the top 100. Formed in 2010, Butcher Babies is carving their way through the Metal scene. This night at the Paramount, drummer Chris Warner, guitarist Henry Flury and bassist Jason Klein took the stage as the eager crowd watched and waited for Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey to appear. The band began with “Monsters Ball” from their latest release. The crowd’s excitement grew as Shepard and Harvey bolted into the spotlight. Shepard rushed to the front of the stage, red hair spiraling and twisting about her shoulders. In the last breaths of “Monsters Ball,” she growled her thanks at the crowd and let them in on a little secret, yelling, “We are Butcher Babies, and we are here for one reason. We are here to fuck shit up!” The crowd roared their approval and the band slammed into “The Mirror Never Lies” from Goliath then into “The Cleansing,” another new one.

Harvey looked like a comic book villainess as her blue-black hair whipped in circles, her voice guttural and powerful. The two traded vocals throughout as they stalked and skipped around the stage in a maniacal fashion, and when the chaos stopped for a brief moment, Shepard said, “As some of you may know, we just released a new album…” The crowd acknowledged loudly. Calling for a circle pit, she introduced “Igniter,” a fast ripper from the new record. Flury delivered shredded licks as Warner and Klein added a furious foundation. Shepherd called on her “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” as they covered the ZZ Top classic with the help of the crowd. “Jesus Needs More Babies For His War Machine” followed and featured rare, clean vocals from Harvey, which came in between her more familiar, brutal snarl. Shepherd sunk down and joined the crowd during “Mr. Slowdeath.” Seeming quite at home on or off the floor, Shepherd returned to the stage and told the crowd how “Blonde Girls All Look the Same” was written six years ago in Warner’s garage. She leapt across the stage as Harvey prowled, looking dangerous. They closed the set with “The Butcher” and “Magnolia Blvd.” Butcher Babies has redefined the relationship between beauty and brutality. They combined great Metal music with a high energy stage show that had the crowd pumped the entire time. Do not dare miss them if they come around.

As the light fled, Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” began to fill the room to cheers from the crowd. A booming voice told the story of alien warriors who have been freed from their arctic prison and given guitars to change the universe. This is GWAR. But not just GWAR, the new and improved GWAR. Creepy rapper and DJ Old-erus Urungus took center stage and began to perform what sounded like a Kanye West song. It was not long before lead vocalist Blothar strode out into the light bearing axe and shield, triggering the crowd to erupt. Guitarist Pustulus Maximus, bassist Beefcake the Mighty, guitarist Balsac the Jaws of Death, and drummer Jizmak Da Gusha joined him and kicked into “Crush, Kill, Destroy.” Blothar, who had stepped up in the absence of the late Oderus Urungus, stepped to the front and observed the crowd, giant antlers reaching skyward from his back. He began singing before he suddenly smote the rapper, spraying blood into the crowd. Joined by human slaves, the band went into “Madness at the Core of Time.” Blothar bellowed and stomped across the stage, at one point allowing Pustulus, wearing mammoth skulls as armor, to step up and rip leads. The crowd hurled cheers at the monsters onstage.

When the song was over, it was then that GWAR received a message over the “Internet” from their manager Sleazy P. Martini and human slaves scurried about to clear up the broadcast. He complained about negative online press and sagging ticket sales and threatened to cut off their supply of crack – his way of keeping them in line – if they did not turn things around. Right then, it became GWAR’s mission to not only learn what this “Internet” was all about, but to kill it like everything else they do not understand. It was Balsac that explained that the Internet was a way to view porn. So the band pulled up Spew Tube as they began “Black and Huge” from 1990’s Scumdogs of the Universe. The crowd sang along while alien porn played in the background. Pustulus began the lead break as Blothar, no longer able to hold back, sprayed them with his penis udders. They welcomed the abuse. When he was finished, the band went into “Saddam a Go Go” from 1994’s This Toilet Earth.

Next, Old-erus Urungus, riding a snail creature, arrived to lay claim to the band because of the passing of Oderus. When the band resisted, he said, “Screw you GWAR! I piss on you and your fans!” and proceeded to spray blue pee all over the crowd, heralding the start of “Vlad the Impaler.” Fists held high, the crowd sang along, some in white t-shirts and some in plastic ponchos. Finally, the band repelled the intruder with the help of vocalist Bonesnapper the cave troll as the audience cheered his arrival. It was then that Blother grabbed his axe and sang “Jack the World.” Next, “I’m in Love (with a Dead Dog)” from 1988’s Hell-O began as Beefcake the Mighty received a love message through the Internet. Blothar took over bass duties and Pustulus sang lead as Beefcake met his mysterious admirer. She came out with an extra part. Revealing her huge penis, she sprayed the crowd, much to their delight. People screamed and cheered throughout as she was dispatched by Beefcake. He claimed that she looked nothing like her profile picture.

An email arrived that fired Bonesnapper from the band and prompted a sad Bonesnapper to ask the New York crowd if they wanted to hear some old school Thrash, to which they responded with a resounding, “Yes!” He said, “Fuck the Internet!” and sang “Bonesnapper” from 2004’s War Party. It was then that things took a further turn toward the depraved. The conversation turned to love as Blothar talked about his friend Jared from Subway and his advice on how to find love on the Internet. “Babyraper” from 1999’s We Kill Everything was next. A human slave brought out a bikini clad baby wearing a surgical mask. Blothar sang while violating the baby’s mouth with his aforementioned penis udders. He then flipped the baby over and, pointing the synthetic baby’s ass at the crowd, sprayed them with blood. At the end of it, as the baby was taken offstage, Blother yelled, “Call me!”

“Meat Sandwich” had the crowd singing along to the catchy chorus and “Captain Crunch” addressed drug procurement on the Internet using Insta-Gram. Human slaves played catch with band members using giant pills and crack rocks before putting a crack rock in a turbocharged crack pipe. Bonesnapper then shot up the slaves and band members, sending them stumbling around the stage. “Let us Slay” from 2009’s Lust in Space featured the original video playing on the stage monitors. “You Can’t Kill Terror” saw a Fux News reporter and terrorist both losing their heads, drawing roars from all those gathered as they once again got sprayed with blood. A medley of “A Gathering of Ghouls,” “A Storm is Coming” and “Hail Genocide” really had the crowd moving. “I think it’s time for a motherfucking bloodbath!” yelled Blothar as the band began “Bloodbath” from 2013’s Battle Maximus, which featured a tribute to GWAR’s fallen leader Oderus Urungus. The crowd chanted, “Oderus! Oderus! Oderus!” as Blothar bellowed, “HAIL ODERUS!”

The next act saw Old-erus Urungus return once again during “A Short History of the End of the World,” only this time he was riding a large, murderous troll. Bonesnapper and Blothar engaged the beast in an epic battle that saw the beast rent asunder and defeated, losing limbs, his single eye and his head in the fray and covering the audience in defeated, Internet troll blood. The crowd cheered as Balsac declared victory over the Internet, declaring it broken. In a heartfelt speech, he told the crowd that they were now free to spend time with loved ones and enjoy life. “Metal Metal Land” from Lust in Space closed the show with Blothar once again yelling, “HAIL ODERUS!”

Fans chanted, “GWAR! GWAR! GWAR!” which enticed the band to return to the stage. The encore featured an appearance by Hilary Clinton. As she addressed the audience and announced her presidential run, she was interrupted by Kanye West asserting that, in fact, Beyonce would make the greatest president. The band began “The Salaminizer” and both Kanye’s face and Clinton’s breasts were torn off, spraying all in attendance with goo. The nearly naked human slaves, who had been working non stop the entire show, prepared the meat grinder for the finale, tossing human female after human female into the grinder. “Sick of You” from Scumdogs of the Universe provided the backdrop for the human slaves to douse the welcoming audience with blood for the last time.

GWAR delivered a highly entertaining show with great Metal music and an incredible stage show. New characters, new music and topical humor combined with over the top gore and violence continues to make GWAR an absolute must see. Over thirty years of commenting on the state of the human race has done nothing to change GWAR’s approach. They have endured many lineup changes and the ultimate tragedy, yet are still able to maintain a high quality show. The theme of this year’s show was the Internet, its ridiculous nature and the effect it has on humanity. The band effectively lampooned our current society in the most outrageous way. The addition of Butcher Babies and Battlecross made this a powerhouse show. The Thirty Years of Total World Domination Tour, which began in Millvale, Pennsylvania on August 25th, continued on to Toronto at Riot Fest on September 19th as they dominate Canada before cleaving back down through the US. The band has recently announced the second leg of the tour, which will begin on October 7th in Cincinnati, will feature Chicago’s Born of Osiris and will also add Cryptopsy for the Canadian dates and will concluding in Orlando Florida, on November 28th. Devoted followers should definitely check their local venues because this show is not one to miss.

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Mark Zapata
mzap2@yahoo.com

Mark Zapata is a drummer, author and educator. He has spent the last decade and a half in the east coast metal scene playing drums for Killjoy, Tsul 'Kalu and many others. Mark has shared the stage with such metal icons as Suffocation, Fear Factory, Anvil, Otep and many, many others. Mark brings his unique perspective and onstage experience to Cryptic Rock. He's been on those stages and he's been in those studios. He has and continues to live the life. Mark is currently teaching all styles of drumming to all ages at www.Facebook.com/MZDrums

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