Beyond Hell

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Just like their 1995 album RagNaRok, GWAR's 2006 release Beyond Hell suffers because it's a concept album. Beyond Hell may be an inspired concept for a rock opera with a glorious stage set, but minus a funny line here and a grand moment of sleaze there, GWAR's journey through hell spends so much time keeping the story going, the band forgot how to have fun, and they've totally lost there already thin relationship with melody. Despite all the note-spinning and epic-for-epic's-sake writing, there are a handful of highlights. "I Love the Pigs" thrashes like the early days and includes the great line "Not all cops are pigs/Some of them are dicks." "Tormentor" chugs along like Judas Priest when they were hungry, and the cover of Alice Cooper's "School's Out" tacked onto the end offers sweet, hedonistic relief from all the ponderous narrative that comes before it. It's a cute idea that GWAR search out Satan just to kick his ass and prove they're the sleaziest, but that's not much to hang an album on. It's an excuse for a tour, pure and simple, and for the GWAR fanatic aching to be drenched in stage blood once again, that's a good enough excuse as any.

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