The Berserker Blothar and the Absolute Terror of Truth
GWAR frontman laments state of humanity.
Posted October 18, 2017
“We see you burning
And we can’t look away
All we created
Erupts into flames”
From “Auroch” by GWAR
GWAR brought humans into this world – and they can take us out.
This is the theme of heavy metal band GWAR’s new album, The Blood of Gods. This album chronicles the upcoming war between GWAR and the human race – with GWAR particularly targeting those who have driven humanity into its currently fetid, wretched and corrupt existence.
To better understand this album and war, I spoke with The Berserker Blothar – current vocalist of GWAR. Our discussion began with Blothar first explaining to me the origin of the members of GWAR and how they came to Earth.
“GWAR was an intergalactic group of space aliens who were members of an elite fighting force called the Scumdogs of the Universe. Together they became a little too powerful and dangerous, and so they were banished to the planet Earth for making repeated mistakes,” Blothar told me.
“Basically GWAR was an intergalactic F-Troop.”
At the behest of their master, GWAR was tasked with protecting the Earth and making it part of a galactic empire. But GWAR being GWAR, instead, wreaked havoc and inadvertently created the human race.
“GWAR came here … we were given an assignment. And that assignment was to turn this planet for the master, and his intergalactic army – his empire,” Blothar said. “But we didn’t do that. We got here were distracted by the things that we found.
“And GWAR created humans out of having sex with apes.”
However, GWAR did not gaze lovingly on their human children. They were troubled by human beings’ “absolute terror of truth and the lengths they will go to avoid acknowledging very simple things that would make their lives so much easier or so much happier,” Blothar said. He also connected this denial of basic truth to the human inclination to destroy themselves and the planet. “Humans seem to have a kind of desire for self-destruction that’s unmatched by anything we’ve ever seen in the universe.
“Earth is the suicide planet.”
Blothar points out how human beings’ difficulty connecting with the truth enables certain behaviors such as cruelty towards animals. “Humans fool themselves into believing. There’s a kind of brainwashing that goes on that’s very ordinary and everyday in human lives. Every meal they eat is based in suffering and misery,” he said. “And they’re trained from very young ages … this idea that you tell yourself that it’s unimportant that you’re eating death. Imagine what it looks like to us when we go into a supermarket and, basically, what you see is the equivalent of human corpses displayed in massive, hundred yard long freezers – refrigeration units along the wall.
“It’s a brutality that’s alien even to us.”
Blothar observes that this callousness towards life is something that is programmed at an early age. “Humans are trained from very young ages like the warriors of Sparta were trained – to be fierce and to ignore the suffering of others,” he described. “It’s like a skill that they learn – this ability to not process what’s happening in the moment – to just push it away. And they learn, gradually, to commit these cruelties – baiting a hook with a cricket.
“Humans have no respect for life.”
Not only are human beings willing to ignore the suffering of animals, but also the suffering of other human beings. Blothar described how GWAR’s inception during the 1980’s coincided with public awareness of the HIV/AID epidemic. GWAR has written songs such as “The New Plague” that address HIV/AIDS – but they feel that human beings’ response to the epidemic was slow.
“In the early days of GWAR, humans were suffering from something called AIDS. It was a rampant, terrible plague on humanity but no one was talking about it – no one,” Blothar recalled. “The songs we were writing in 1987 that had that word in them – people acted as if we were doing something wrong and were shocked at GWAR mentioning these things.
“But no one was doing anything about it.”
From Blothar’s perspective, the difficulty of confronting truth is related to an existential fear of loneliness and isolation. Human beings seek out meaning even if it means embracing alternative reality.
“Before they were out of the caves they had already experienced what appears to be ingrained in their DNA – this loneliness and isolation and constant self-questioning that would force them to look at the world and to try to find meaning by self-delusion,” he explained. “And even before they left the caves they were creating a class of priests who were in touch with the gods – as if humanity themselves couldn’t be.
“They had to find some intermediary to play that role.”
Perhaps out of recognition for this need, GWAR is willing to fulfill that role of intermediary. Blothar describes how his role of berserker is similar to the concept of shamanism. Shamans were individuals who were, in theory, able to bring themselves into states of consciousness that allowed them to communicate with other spiritual planes.
“Berserker … they were shamanic warriors. They were in touch with the gods. And if you look at that culture, any ancient culture, it’s almost as if that wonder that people have as infants – they grow into their lives and they lose it,” Blothar said. “And they learn fear and they learn to have that desire, that lust for something to control them – to manage expectations.”
Accordingly, as a band, GWAR will challenge people’s thoughts and expectations in their stage act as a way of challenging this need to be controlled.
“I think GWAR is much more thoughtful than people imagine. We perform. And because we’re from where we are and do what we do, we treat humans the way we do – and we cut people’s heads off and destroy things onstage. People oftentimes don’t understand art. And they really don’t understand satire,” Blothar explained. “We may frame everything we do in very objectionable terms – which is becoming more difficult in America in this day and age – and people would take offense at it or be shocked by it. And I believe that GWAR, for better or worse, has always been able to draw attention … to very negative and chilling things about American culture that we have fun with and poke fun at, but really reveal this dark psyche that’s terrifying.
“It doesn’t mean that we’re not aware that the children in front of us are bathing in blood.”
But something along the way went very wrong. GWAR feels as though they never anticipated that the atrocities committed by people would become normative. The shock value of GWAR in effect has lessened because the atrocities committed by humans continue to worsen over time.
“We can’t compete anymore – the everyday atrocities that humans have become used to and accustomed to … Thirty years ago we could decapitate people and pull the arms off of people and it would make the news. Or at least people would be shocked by it,” Blothar lamented. “And now it’s mundane. You can see these kinds of horrible acts – people being thrown off of buildings tied to chairs, actual filmed executions – it’s become commonplace. And GWAR never imagined that. It’s a problem for GWAR. We never imagined that this kind of suffering would become commonplace.”
Thus, GWAR finds itself in an unfamiliar place – unsure how to move forward in relating to the very humans they spawned.
“There is something that almost looks like a concern for humanity. And it looks like that because that’s what it is. GWAR, after all, is responsible for the human race. There’s a sense that humans are created in our image. And we did these things to bring them about. It’s one of the cruxes that drives the band – this weird contradiction.
“Humans are our greatest mistake.”
And so GWAR feels no choice but to go to war to eradicate these elements from humanity and save the human race. “And so that’s the type of challenge the band faces on this record – how do you continue to move forward. And there is a narrative that explains that – there’s a great war that GWAR has launched on humanity. We lose that war for a while but are eventually able to get things back.”
Ultimately, Blothar thinks that human beings’ ongoing need to avoid truth and cause harm have caught up to them. And things don’t look so good for the human race; GWAR ultimately feels that humans in their current form are not particularly welcome on the Earth they ravage. And no amount of ignoring truth will change that. “GWAR is an elemental force – and that’s how we view it. And nature is an elemental force. And GWAR errs on the side of nature,” Blothar said.
“And the planet seems to have identified humans as a disease that needs to be eradicated.”