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  DANZIG
'Skeletons'
(Nuclear Blast Entertainment/Evilive Music)
Release Date: Friday 27th November


Johnny Main
johnny main



danzig

American singer/songwriter Glenn Danzig is best known as the founder of The Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig, as well as owning the Evilive record label and Verotik, an adult-oriented publishing company.

Known as “The Evil Elvis”, Danzig formed The Misfits in the mid-seventies and released three albums with him gaining a cult following in the process. He disbanded the group in 1983, forming Samhain the same year.

The group released their debut album, 'Initium' in 1984 after which the band began to attract the interest of major record labels including Epic and Elektra. It was, however, Def American head Rick Rubin that eventually signed the band after hearing about them from then-Metallica bassist Cliff Burton.

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Samhain was renamed simply Danzig in 1987 on the advice of Rubin, and the newly-renamed band released their debut album, 'Danzig' in 1988.

This was the beginning of a golden era for Danzig and his band. The debut was well received and saw the band support Metallica (who had already covered a number of Danzig's songs) on their 'And Justice For All Tour' and this brought the band to the attention of a new audience.

The 'Danzig' album was followed up by 'Danzig II – Lucifuge' (1990) and 'Danzig III – How The Gods Kill' (1992) which, along with the self-titled album, cemented the reputation of not only Danzig as a song writer but also the musicianship of the whole band.

In 1993, the band released the 'Thrall: Demonsweatlive' EP which featured both live and studio recordings and marked the end of the classic period of the band. 'Danzig 4' appeared in 1994 but saw a downturn in the band's fortunes and they leaned towards a darker more industrial Metal sound and this trend continued with 1996's 'Blackacidevil'.

The sound changed again at the turn of the century as Danzig reverted to a more stripped down, heavier Gothic Metal sound for '6:66 Satan's Child' (1999), 'I Luciferi' (2002) and 'Circle of Snakes' ( 2004) culminating in the release of 'Deth Red Sabaoth' in 2010.

Danzig's latest album is a ten track disc of covers – something he's wanted to do for a long time, but never really puts his plan into action. He has recorded covers before, most notably Leiber and Stoller's 'Trouble' in 1993 and Black Sabbath's 'Hand of Doom' in 2003 and 'Skeletons' sees him try his hand at tracks from artists as diverse as The Everly Brothers, The Troggs, Aerosmith and ZZ Top with somewhat mixed results.

Looking at the history of this album, it's not clear when or by whom it was recorded by and this may explain some of the uneven nature of the tracks.

If you take 'Devils Angels' (originally recorded by Davie Allan & The Arrows), Danzig's voice sounds really good here, and the guitar and drum sounds are very strong and mixed correctly with none of them too overpowering. Danzig really stretches his voice with a remarkable performance given he's sixty years old and it's a great showcase for his talent.

It's a similar story with the old Elvis number, 'Let Yourself Go', which really is among the best on offer. It has a great sound with the main guitar riff is reminiscent of Slayer's 'Expendable Youth' - it's solid, chunky and really drives the song forwards. The drums too are full on and compliment not only the guitars but the vocals too.

As I've mentioned, Danzig's covered Black Sabbath tunes before and here he's recorded his unique version of the classic 'N.I.B.', and this is a much more enjoyable listen that his previous Sabbath cover version.

danzig

The guitar remains faithful to the original version while the drums embellish their parts slightly. The vocals are deliciously evil, and the subtle addition of some keyboards adds an extra bit of extra atmosphere.

'Satan' (also known as Nightmare Bloodbath) is the theme from the 1969 biker film 'Satan's Sadists' starring Russ Tamblyn and directed by Al Adamson, and is something of a mixed bag. Danzig's voice is pushed very much to the front along with the simple drum beat but this mix relegates the guitars to the back of the mix making it a slightly uncomfortable listen for my liking.

If you're going to do push the guitars that far back in the mix and still have vocals and drums to the fore, then you might as well take off the guitars completely as they do nothing much in the background.

A version of Aerosmith's 1974 track 'Lord of the Thighs' doesn't fare much better either. It's got a feeling of distance in the track where the guitars and voice are there but it's like there's a barrier between them and the microphone giving it a strange sound. Maybe this is what it's supposed to sound like, but for me it's just plain weird – shame really as the performance isn't bad at all.

I've been waiting for this album for a very long time, and it could have been really good, but at the end of the day it just sounds average. There are good tracks and there are awful tracks but one thing I'm sure of is that this album will remain on my CD shelves along with the other post-1999 Danzig albums – rarely played and simply part of the collection.

'Skeletons' Track List:
Devil's Angels (Davie Allan & The Arrows cover)
Satan (Theme From 'Satan's Sadists')
Let Yourself Go (Elvis Presley cover)
N.I.B. (Black Sabbath cover)
Lord Of The Thighs (Aerosmith cover)
Action Woman (The Litter cover)
Rough Boy (ZZ Top cover)
With A Girl Like You (The Troggs cover)
Find Somebody (The Rascals cover)
Crying In The Rain (The Everly Brothers cover)


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25.11.2015












 


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