Danzig – “Black Laden Crown” (AFM Records)
Whilst being universally renowned as a metal god iconic for his work in the Misfits and this eponymous band, Glenn Danzig’s life has never been simple, ever pushing out the boundaries while also courted in controversy owing to his ongoing feuds with the Misfits. With things seemingly now patched with the Caiafa brothers following 2 shows last year as the original Misfits, Danzig as increasingly shied away from touring, preferring instead to concentrate on his various music, film and comic book projects. That said, this new album comes as a welcome release, and given its been 7 years since we heard from the living legend, long overdue! Ever the complicated man, the first thing you notice is that the 9 tracks differ considerably sound wise and that’s because they were recorded across the years using no less than 4 different drummers from the familiar Joey Castillo (Queen’s Of The Stone Age) to Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative) to Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork) and Karl Rockfist (Mike Monroe) while longtime guitarist Tommy Victor handles all the guitars. With the 25th anniversary looming of “How The Gods Kill”, there’s certainly plenty of that dark, atmospheric inspiration here, along with the classic twisting devil rock of “6:66 Satan’s Child”, the artwork incidentally covered this time round again by renowned artist Simon Bisley. While there are no fast songs, unsurprising really given his 61 years of age, there’s certainly plenty of crooning soul even if the quality varies according to the production. That said, the actual composing of the songs is still at elite level, all being classic Danzig from the brooding ‘Last Ride’ which takes me right back to piercing soul of ‘Mother’, right down to its power larynx wailing! With Victor’s own squealing guitars on overdrive in ‘Devil On Hwy 9’, this brooding biker rocker chugs with plenty of steam as Danzig brings in his black leather croons to give it that class to match the driving power of the rhythm. As for a mind bender, then try ‘But A Nightmare’ with plenty of evil Elvis soul and wolf wails as Victor’s twisting riffs and dark melodies slither into your mind, body and ultimately soul. While “Black Laden Crown” could’ve been another monster release under a big name producer, it would’ve required a full time commitment that Danzig neither seems to have time or a care for, instead opting to bring his music back into the underground realm from which he came. However, DIY or not, this 11th studio album is still unmistakably and undeniably Danzig right down to its bleached bones.