War Metal Battle Master (2008), the most recent album by Chicago's Lair of the Minotaur, is the band's most entertaining work by a healthy stretch. It's also campier than a C-grade Italian horror flick, chock-full of blood and severed limbs and odes to mythical battles that led to blood and severed limbs. So who's surprised that the video for the title track (directed by Gary Smithson) would feature a bloody battle with Greek gladiators, replete with Monty Python-worthy gore and buxom cannibalistic death-spirits wearing minimal clothing? Nobody, that's who. Here's the video in its gloriously over-the-top uncensored form -- more limb-hacking and gratuitous nudity than you can shake a pair of intestine-covered tits at. It goes without saying that this is muy NSFW, unless you work in fetish porn. Which, knowing the Cerebral Metalhead audience, is entirely possible:
Speaking of intestine-covered tits, they're the crux of the two behind-the-scenes featurettes on the War Metal Battle Master DVD. It's pretty hilarious to see massively ripped dudes in full battle garb chatting in between takes with the enemies they're about to brutalize. I appreciate the explanation of how special effects maven Ryan Oliver made the hemoglobin fly so energetically in the decapitation scene. But more screen-time is given to watching the two naked actresses get hosed down with fake blood, and smearing said blood across their ample chests as they consume faux-flesh, than pretty much anything else. The feminist in me is a little disturbed by the slow-motion softcore sequence towards the end of the first "making of" video. The metal dude in me is proud that Lair of the Minotaur recognized the eroticism in its own music. Overall, I'm left slightly upset and slightly turned-on. Probably exactly how the band and director envisioned it.
The DVD also includes ten cuts recorded live from all eras of Lair of the Minotaur. These videos reveal little about the band, other than the extent of Steven Rathbone's band t-shirt collection. Video and sound quality range from pretty decent to pretty horrible (I'm especially disappointed by Tom Denney's blanched-out recording of the band's November '07 gig at the Relax Bar in Los Angeles, which I attended). It's nice to have a live record of LOTM's ex-drummer Larry Herweg (also in Pelican) but otherwise these recordings are pretty inessential. And there's not a single exposed boob in any of 'em.