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The Scumdogs of the Universe, GWAR have been decimating venues across this Toilet Earth for nearly 35 years leaving a long trail of decapitated world leaders and a blood-soaked cult following in their wake.  With the stage covered in plastic and looking more like the aftermath of a murder scene than a concert hall, GWAR unleashed their Use Your Collusion Tour to Roseland Theater in Portland.  Thrash legends, Sacred Reich would also be joining them in a triumphant return to the spotlight promoting their latest album, Awakening, as well as circle-pit thrash champions, Toxic Holocaust and Hard Rock road warriors, Against the Grain.

Motor City speed-rockers, Against the Grain opened the night promoting their latest release, Cheating Death. Sometimes it’s best to be introduced to a band purely by their live show and Against the Grain didn’t disappoint.  An aggressive, old school punk rock concoction with a hint of Nugent and Motörhead with just a bit of bluesy Southern Rock attitude thrown in for good measure, makes for a killer start of the night.

Toxic Holocaust mastermind and jack-of-all-trades, Joel Grind has been grinding for six-years preparing the release of his latest album, Primal Future: 2019.  I watched helplessly as shoes were lost and phones were knocked clean out of hands as the band started things off with “Gravelord” off their 2008 album, An Overdose of Death.  The band also played a rarity off their Reaper’s Grave EP, “Death Brings Death” and with his right arm waving in a circular motion, Grind caused the entire venue floor to break into a violent, swirling, circular mass.  They played songs from Chemistry of Consciousness as well as their 2011 album, Conjure and Command in a vicious cycle of riffs and blast beats continuing the chaos that was to come.

All-American Thrash Metal veterans, Sacred Reich have been sharpening their blade for 23 years waiting for the right time to strike with their latest album, Awakening. Front-man Phil Rind launched into the song “Awakening” off of their latest album of the same name, telling his dedicated fan-base, “You only have one life to live, you might as well have fun or it’s not worth living.”  Drummer, Dave McClain got the groove started before twin guitars armed by Wiley Arnett and Joey Radziwill broke into a crushing riff that began the song, “Salvation;” a love letter to their fans and the longevity of their career with Rind stating, “Without you, there’s no us and for that we are extremely grateful.”  They thrashed through songs off The American Way and Independent before going deeper into their discography with Ignorance and finally the long awaited,fan-favorite, “Surf Nicaragua.”

Threatened with impeachment from this planet by the Super-Secret World Court for crimes against all of humanity, the concert began with the instant decapitation of the prosecution by GWAR’s newest, sword-wielding leader, The Berserker Blothar before launching into “Fuck This Place” - a song off their latest album, The Blood of Gods. And that was just the beginning. Bälsäc The Jaws of Death and Beefcake The Mighty, holding their instruments of death, towered over the crowd at their feet.  After a gruesome impaling of an obnoxious cop by two of GWAR’s slaves, he was carried off-stage like a pig on a spit to the song, “Krak Down.”

I barreled headfirst into the massacre once my time with my camera was over.  Within seconds I found myself staring down the barrel of a blood cannon while squeezed between a masochistic, smiling fan in a white unicorn-onsie smeared with death and a girl struggling to pull chunks of whatever shot from Blothar’s dual nether regions out of her hair.  I wiped the goo off my face and found myself looking up at a hilarious caricature of our orange Cheeto of a president befriending The Berserker. They shared a touching (and terrible, oh, so terrible) moment of mutual respect for their relentless pursuit of evil towards humanity.  The GWAR Theme began to play and Trump was ceremoniously sliced in half by Bonesnapper, the reptilian bodyguard of the band.

The end was near and GWAR’s drummer, Jizmak Da Gusha began pounding his drum kit into submission to start off  the epic instrumental, “Battle Maximus” as the soundtrack to the final battle between The Supreme Court Justice and the Scumdogs of the Universe.  After his ultimate destruction and beheading by the hands of Blothar, he celebrated their victory with their cock-rock salute, “If You Want Blood (You Got It)" by aiming his dual, not-so-privates at the audience hosing us down in a triumphant stream of red goo.

GWAR’s Use Your Collusion Tour is traveling around the US leaving chaos and destruction on it’s glorious, blood-stained path . What better way is there to celebrate your pathetic lives than to swim in a sea of blood spilled by your masters, you ungrateful swine.  GWAR LIVES!


Raul Soria Jr.

Photojournalist - Portland

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