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POP MUSIC REVIEWS : Speed-Metal Gwar Storms the Palace

November 14, 1994|STEVE APPLEFORD

Sex and violence are no strangers to hard rock. But nobody approaches the special panache of Gwar, whose live act is so tasteless and extreme that none of it could possibly be taken seriously.

For the theatrical speed-metal band from Richmond, Va., the stage is a battleground, a boxing ring, a slaughterhouse. At the Palace on Friday, each player was costumed as a kind of prehistoric warrior creature, wearing foam-rubber masks and exaggerated horns, teeth, genitalia and intestines. It was a Dungeons and Dragons fantasy supercharged on testosterone.

There was music, too, of course, much of it taken from the new "This Toilet Earth" album. If many of the songs had a certain sameness about them, that seemed fine with the crowd, since the churning thrash chords mainly served as a soundtrack for the craziness on stage.

In round after round inside a mock boxing ring, Gwar members pounded each other with oversized hammers and clubs and swords, sending gallons of fake blood and other bodily fluids over the swirling mosh pit. The band finally did battle with a giant, multi-headed creature, chopping it to pieces and reaching a plane far beyond even the fire-breathing, blood-spewing heyday of KISS in the '70s.

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