And here we are again, in 2010 (!) with another musical slab of that tattooed munchkin, Danzig.
Danzig as you probably know being the former singer of bands The Misfits, Samhain and his eponymously named band, Danzig.
After a disappointing series of releases from 1996's Blackacidevil to 2004's Circle of Snakes, Danzig has finally come full circle to an album that recalls (in various ways) what many consider the "classic" lineup (1988-1994).
While the recent albums had their moments, there was something missing from them that was obvious. Danzig's vocals in particular were produced in a way that made the listener assume that his voice had degraded over the years. Live shows didn't show this degradation per se, so it was obvious to many that some of the albums seemed rushed or "forced". Of course this is a matter of contention, but luckily it has been remedied by the new album.
Danzig's last album was a compilation called "Lost Tracks of Danzig", which featured tracks ranging from the beginning of his solo career to the "Circle of Snakes" era. What was obvious on the album (which featured some rerecorded parts) is that Danzig had indeed not lost "it", and also, some of his track choices for the more recent releases were misguided- Songs like "Crawl Across Your Killing Floor" were more recent tracks which were (debatedly) better than any of the songs on the actual albums!
Also a year before (6/6/06), Danzig had also performed a critically acclaimed show with none other than Hank Williams III, that featured a lot of old rockabilly tracks and a few Misfits and Danzig classics. It was obvious that after a few years of obscurity, Danzig was poised to make a comeback...
So- How is the new album?
Well for one thing, the quality expressed on Danzig I-IV with regards to vocal quality and timbre is definitely there. The singing for the most part does not have any strained quality to it, neither does it go beyond its range too often. The expression of his voice is back, and this is good news for any longtime Danzig fans.
The production is clear yet dry, and though this sometimes to its detriment, its normal course during the album is very organic. As hinted in interviews, Danzig used a much more organic process this time to record, using many analog instruments, etc.
The guitar work I am mixed on somewhat though. Tommy Victor was great in Prong, but sometimes it seems like he gets lost during guitar solos and during parts that need a bit less "stiffness" (the irony being Danzig's opinion on John Christ as being too "Stiff" and "Metal" (various interviews) ). This is apparent on some tracks that have an almost looped quality to them (example: The Revengeful), betraying the idea that Danzig used mostly organic means of recording on the album. Other parts are indeed more organic and "retro" but don't expect to find any songs like "I'm the One" or "Thirteen" on the album. Overall, the songs are overly repetitive and are "missing something". That something is not, despite the detractors, the lack of the Mark I lineup. Its an extra "oomph" to the proceedings, and an added complexity to the songs that the classic Danzig had. Despite these points, the songs overall have a catchy quality to them that we haven't seen (at least on official albums anyway) since the classic years. And there are some really prime cuts that would fit well with the classic period. Best tracks? Hammer of the Gods, Deth Red Moon, Left Hand Rise Above.