Gwar is an American Grammy-nominated metal band formed in 1985. The band is best known for their elaborate sci-fi/horror film inspired costumes; raunchy, obscene lyrics; and graphic stage performances, which consist of humorous re-enactments of political and moral taboo themes.
Originally, the group's musical style was largely influenced by punk rock and the band composed short, simple songs, which would evolve over the years into heavily hardcore-influenced crossover thrash, with Gwar's musical experimentation becoming present in Scumdogs of the Universe, America Must Be Destroyed and This Toilet Earth. Later, this experimental sound would partially eclipse their heavy metal style and Gwar would become a chaotic blend of genres that would be most noticeable on Ragnarok and Carnival of Chaos (the latter showcasing the most variety in musical styles of any point in Gwar's career). 1999's We Kill Everything would present an unusual sound, but based largely on Gwar's Hell-O era sound, resulting in an album that the band dismisses as their worst. Indeed, the band's rejection of We Kill Everything would drive them to return to their thrash metal sound with Violence Has Arrived, which would later evolve into a more technical form of thrash, present in War Party and Beyond Hell.
The band's characteristic costumes are generally made of foam latex, styrofoam, and hardened rubber. The costumes cover very little, with the rest of their bodies accentuated with makeup. They further their production in concert by spraying their audiences with fluids. Most of the fluids are made of water and powdered food coloring which, for the most part, flakes off or washes out easily. The thicker fluids are made from a clear seaweed extract called carrageenan which is also used in ice cream and milkshakes. Gwar does not use syrups or stage blood because they dry solid and can damage the band's costumes. In concert, Gwar has been known occasionally to perform their encore without costumes.
Another trademark of Gwar's live show is their lampooning of celebrities and figures in current events. Targets of Gwar's humor have included O. J. Simpson, John Kerry, Mike Tyson, George W. Bush (as well as every other President since Ronald Reagan), Jerry Garcia, Osama Bin Laden, Michael Jackson, Steve Wilkos, Al Gore, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Paris Hilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Adolf Hitler, Bernard Madoff, Jerry Springer, and many others. The band also makes frequent references to political and historical figures, fantasy literature, and mythology. For instance, the song "Whargoul" makes reference to Minas Morgul as well as the eternal warrior of Michael Moorcock. Gwar also has many references to H. P. Lovecraft themes (Antarctica, Yig, Giant Penguins, Fleshy Insanities, etc.). In addition, the title of their fifth album Ragnarok comes from Norse mythology. They were nominated for two Grammys, one for Best Metal Performance "S.F.W" and one for Best Long Form Music Video "Phallus in Wonderland". The band also performed fire dancing until the character "Slymenstra Hymen" left the band.