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Danzig II: Lucifuge

Danzig - Danzig II: Lucifuge ©1990 Columbia
1. Long Way Back From Hell
2. Snakes Of Christ
3. Killer Wolf
4. Tired Of Being Alive
5. I'm The One
6. Her Black Wings
7. Devil's Plaything
8. 777
9. Blood And Tears
10. Girl
11. Pain In The World

"Yeah Glenn, great idea, let's put your big nipples on the cover. That'll really shift some units!"

After a fun, though rather one-sided debut album, Danzig decided to branch out a bit. Not much, mind you, but enough to create an album that didn't feel like all the songs were built out of the same template. After his years in Misfits and Samhain, Danzig didn't seem to get tired of the whole B-movies and evil schlock at all, but rather seemed to start taking it seriously. Yes, it's silly, but yes, it also rocks.

There's attempts at ballads, shuffles and what have you here. Nothing that really stands out enough to change the mood of the album, but it's enough to keep things fresh. It's just a shame that some of the songs are downright boring. On one side you have great, even excellent, tracks like the superneat ballad "Blood and Tears", the rocking "Her Black Wings", and the moody "Pain in the World" which could've fit snugly into Black Sabbath's debut album. On the flipside you have the downright boring attempt at blues in "I'm the One" and "Snakes of Christ", which is practically a new version of the debut album's "Twist Of Cain".

Thankfully the duds don't drag the album down too much, making it well worth picking up for those who enjoy Danzig's "throw Elvis and Jim Morrison in a blender" crooning. Lucifuge is a pretty good album,, though nothing you've not heard before. Those new to the band might want to start off with the album that followed.

Review by Øystein H-O

Review date: 03/2002

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Black Aria

Danzig - Black Aria ©1992 Plan 9
1. Overture Of The Rebel Angels
2. Conspiracy Dirge
3. Battle For Heaven
4. Retreat And Descent
5. Dirge Of Defeat
6. And The Angels Weep
7. Shifter
8. The Morrigu
9. Cn Anwnn

For whatever reason, Glenn Danzig (oh he of small stature and lots of frowns) took a bit of time to write and record an album entirely based on keyboards, spooky ambient passages and an entire spin away from his normal shtick. Black Aria is somewhat reminiscient of a darker In the Nursery matched with an ever so slight hint of what Jim "Foetus" Thirlwell might create if he were to explore this area of music. Very soundtrackish, very pondering and morose. To be honest, it's one of the most interesting things Danzig has ever created. Writing this sort of thing proves he isn't all devil-locks, grade-B horror movies, and muscle.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/1999

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Danzig III: How The Gods Kill

Danzig - Danzig III: How The Gods Kill ©1992 Columbia
1. Godless
2. Anything
3. Bodies
4. How The Gods Kill
5. Dirty Black Summer
6. Left Hand Black
7. Heart Of The Devil
8. Sistinas
9. Do You Wear The Mark
10. When The Dying Calls

To no one's surprise, How the Gods Kill was no big departure for Danzig. More fun bluesy hard rock ahoy, but a huge leap forward in the quality of the songs. Although a bit less diverse than its successor, this album really had the band focusing on writing trimmed down catchy hard rock songs that really have an impact. It doesn't hurt that Danzig's voice is about as good as it'll ever get at this stage and guitar player John Christ delivers some very fitting, if simple solos here and there.

Thankfully all the songs have their own identity, unlike the debut, and there are no big drops in quality, unlike Lucifuge. "Anything" and "Sistinas" are some of the best power ballads around, though I'll admit to being biased against that type of song from the get-go. "Dirty Black Summer" and "Bodies" should fit the mood perfectly for those days when you're really mad about your devillock not staying in place. And that's not to mention the title track, which goes from being a really neat ballad, into super cockrock heaven! In a good way!

Admittedly some will probably find it hard to enjoy Danzig's music, as he seems to have no ironic stance to all this dark'n'glommy'n'ever-so-evil subject matter, but rather seems to take these things seriously. "Tuffguy" till the bitter end, I suppose. But with music this good, I'll be sure to look the other way. They really managed to tap into the right mood for this album, saving it from becoming yet another generic, if well-honed hard rock album, to being something a bit more special. You won't be finding any mad scales or insane polyrhythmic freakouts, but you'll get a catchy and very well-crafted album for those nights where you'd rather sit at home in front of the fireplace rather than run around dying everyone's cats black. Hmm, I wonder if that's what "When the Dying Calls" is about...

Awful jokes aside, if you're fond of melodic hard rock that doesn't reek of happiness or annoying squeaky singers, Danzig would be well-worth checking out, and this would arguably be the perfect starting point.

Review by Øystein H-O

Review date: 03/2002

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Danzig 4

Danzig - Danzig 4 ©1994 Columbia
1. Brand New God
2. Little Whip
3. Cantspeak
4. Going Down To Die
5. Until You Call On The Dark
6. Dominion
7. Bringer Of Death
8. Sadistikal
9. Son Of The Morning Star
10. I Don't Mind The Pain
11. Stalker Song
12. Let It Be Captured

Would you be overly surprised if I told you that this was kinda dark blues-based hardrock? Yessir, Danzig really brought in a whole sleeve of influences for this album, such as whatever his influences were on the previous three albums, and nothing more. Ok, so I'm being unfair, as this album was a small step away from the tried-and-true formula of the first three Danzig albums, mainly thanks to smacking various buttons in the studio rather than any real musical exploration. But hey, why fix something that's not broken? Danzig must've found a reason, since the album that followed this had a huge change in style and was godawful.

While How The Gods Kill stands as my favorite Danzig release, this album lurks ever so closely behind and is even darker and more brooding! Sure, there's still the hardrocking numbers such as "Bringer of Death", but there's a lot of more atmospheric songs like "Little Whip" and "Stalker Song", and boy does the ol' muffinman know how to do those well by now. And just to show that he's ever so experimental, there is a mood piece called "Sadistikal", which grows old very fast. Overall I'd say it's a more sedate album than the previous albums, but a few songs are thrown in to show that these guys aren't about to head in a smooth jazz direction. There are, as always, a couple of songs that aren't quite up to the album's standard, but I'll easily let them pass since they thankfully don't drag down the overall impact of the album all that much.

Unfortunately the entire band left shortly after recording this album, except Danzig, of course. A Danzig-less Danzig would be hilarious, though. Anyways, after this album he decided to try exciting new things and chuck anything resembling good songwriting out of the window. D'oh.

I recommend this to anyone who already have How the Gods Kill and quite enjoy that, but also to those who've heard some Danzig, liked it, but would maybe like something that's a bit more moody and doesn't bring up too many associations with spandex and beer muscles.

Review by Øystein H-O

Review date: 06/2002

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7:77: I Luciferi

Danzig - 7:77: I Luciferi ©2002 Spitfire Records
1. Unendlich
2. Black Mass
3. Wicked Pussycat
4. God Of Light
5. Liberskull
6. Dead Inside
7. Kiss The Skull
8. I Luciferi
9. Naked Witch
10. Angel Blake
11. The Coldest Sun
12. Halo Goddess Bone
13. Without Light, I Am

If Beelzebub does indeed have a soft spot for hard rock, then it is with the utmost concern that I hope, no, pray that he doesn’t have Danzig’s newest debacle in his stereo. In all honesty, this has to be the most tepid, lifeless, and utterly atrocious debacle of an album that Mr. Danzig has ever been associated with (including that one-off Son of Sam album, that ghastly Samhain revival band with members of Tiger Army and Davey Havok of AFI that he did last year). You would think that a musician as prolific and influential as Glenn Danzig would have more to offer than this dud, but in all honesty, he hasn’t released anything even remotely worthwhile since his strangely moving Black Aria album, and if I Luciferi is any indication, it is all the more apparent that Glenn Danzig hasn’t only entirely lost his muse, but murdered it in the most violent way possible.

Peripherally, I Luciferi is supposedly a return to form for Glenn and his ever-revolving lineup of musicians (after his nu-metal tinged 1999 outing, the bland Satan’s Child), but upon further inspection, it is nothing more than a lifeless, entirely forced affair that hints at what used to be, but never becomes. First of all, what would have benefited from a crushingly heavy production is done a major disservice by flat, uninspired guitar playing and equally flat sound. While far from an amazing guitar player, at least John Christ was able to play tasteful solos and thoughtful, bluesy riffs. This Todd Youth character, however, tries so incredibly hard to emulate the downtuned, chugga-chugga riffing of today’s nu-metal bands and fails to come up with anything even remotely interesting in the process. Drummer Joey C. (not the late sidekick of Kid Rock, I’m assuming), aside from being a ham-fisted clod behind the kit, does nothing but keep a steady pace and seems to have no real sense of creative “unmph!”, which leads me to the ultimate culprit, Mr. Glenn himself. What the hell happened to the Danzig we all came to know and love? The man who inspired legions of rock fans with the Misfits and Samhain to dye it black and be groovy has deteriorated whilst staring down the barrel of middle-age burnout. Yes, the forty-four year old frontman does indeed still have the ability to croon like an ominous Elvis, but quite frankly, he has never been the most adaptive of vocalists and when you lack the ability to convey strong melodies to the most vapid of music, you will fail. Danzig does just that. Not only are his strong vocals buried behind the rest of the flatly mixed instruments, but his melodies are uninventive and entirely forced, leaving us to ponderously walk around wondering what happened to the days of “Last Caress”, “Die, Die, Die My Darling”, “To Walk the Night”, "Mother", among many other classic songs from his Samhain and Misfits days. Danzig, quite frankly, does not so much sound like the demonic Elvis we’ve come to know and love as much as the beleaguered, overweight, washed-up crooner we’ve come to pity. It isn't until the mildly decent "Naked Witch" that he and the band show some promise.

Albums like this make me yearn for the days of Earth A.D. and Walk Among Us, when Glenn Danzig was a lively and inventive songwriter. If I may borrow a quote from my fellow SSMT-dweller Rog the Frog, "I wouldn’t use this album as a coaster lest it knock my glass over. Avoid like a lactating grandmother."

Review by Alec A. Head

Review date: 05/2002

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