July 3, 2007
referred to as "Satan's Favorite Singer" or the "Metal
Elvis," Glenn Danzig has been captivating critics and audiences
for over three decades. Often the center of controversy, Danzig
has maintained a consistent fan base throughout his fluctuating
career. Considered by many to be the founding father of the "Horrorpunk"
genre, he is one of the few artists that has managed to stray from
the punk scene and bring his fans with him. Punk fans will usually
turn hostile when an artist decides to "go commercial"
or "sell out," but that is not the case with The Misfits
and Samhain fans. The aforementioned bands were started by Danzig
as early as 1977, and were adept at the two and a half minute thrashfest
that punk fans are so appreciative of. But in 1988, Danzig decided
to strip himself of the bloody dog collars and started to thrill
his followers with a more straight forward style of heavy metal
reminiscent of early Black Sabbath, complete with Satanic lyrics
and visual themes. The group, appropriately named Danzig, met with
great success. The reason so many of his punk fans did not abandoned
him and his change in musical style can be debated for weeks, but
the quality of his songwriting is undeniably sharp, which might
have something to do with it.
This two-disc set offers Danzig fans a look back at some material
that just didn't fit on the albums. It's that simple. These aren't
b-sides or tunes that weren't good enough to make the cut. The fact
is that Glenn Danzig is just too prolific!
The set dishes out songs in chronological order, beginning with
"Pain Is Like An Animal" and "When Death Had No Name,"
which are both excellent tracks that were intended for the first
Danzig record in 1988. When I first heard some of these early tracks,
I thought the songs were great but was slightly disappointed with
their production quality.With the incomparable Rick Rubin producing
the '88 Danzig debut, I expected these tracks to be crystal clear.
But as I listened to the tracks "in context," I realized
that I was digging through Glenn Danzig's virtual closet full of
basement tapes, and that excited the hell out of me. Hearing the
raw, under-produced urgency in these songs brought the true purpose
of this collection to the forefront. This is a collection for the
Glenn Danzig fan. This is a huge helping of Glenn Danzig's private
stash. I now think the lack of production makes this collection
even more exciting. Having a pristine production quality would make
this simply another Danzig album, but instead you feel like you're
getting treated to something extra special.
The set is loaded with impressive originals of course, but some
of the highlights here are the few cover songs that are done. T.
Rex's rocker "Buick McKane" takes on a new life as Danzig
wails over the incessant guitar riffage. And one of the darkest
tracks on the set turns out to be a David Bowie cover. "Cat
People" starts out as a slowly creeping black cat, and just
as it's back fully arches, the song attacks with an eerie brutality.
The cover of The Germs' "Caught In My Eye" has a mundane
and rather monotone vocal, which is offset by a snappy and hollow
drum sound, making for a unique twist on the original.
Now I didn't love everything in this collection, but nevertheless,
I found the stuff that didn't appeal to me to be interesting. A
song like "Malefical" was hard on the ears, but I found
the sound and arrangement of the song to be fascinating. The vocal
track being suppressed, as if sung from under a blanket, really
drove the dark theme of the song home. One of the other things I'm
not a fan of is the electronic/techno side of Danzig that rears
its ugly head every so often. The "Shango Mix" of "Unspeakable"
is just a slow moving, pulsing, Nine Inch Nails-type of freestyle
whispering. You could chalk it up as innovative I suppose, but it's
just not what I'm interested in hearing from Glenn Danzig.
All in all, this is quite a gift from Glenn Danzig. There are 26
songs here that were pulled up from the depths of Danzig's heap
of unfinished compositions. Every fan of Glenn Danzig and his work
will praise him for taking the time to assemble this package and
get it released, myself being one of them. Many times these "Lost
Tracks"-type of albums are loaded with bits and pieces of inferior
work that just adds up to one or two keepers. This collection is
not one of those. These discs are chock full of great Danzig songs.
This is surely a must for every Danzig fan.
1. Pain Is Like An Animal
2. When Death Had No Name
3. Angel of the Seventh Dawn
4. You Should be Dying
5. Cold, Cold Rain
6. Buick McKane
7. When Death Had No Name
8. Satans Crucifiction
9. The Mandrake's Cry
10. White Devil Rise
11. Come to Silver (Acoustic)
1. Lick the Blood Off My Hands
2. Crawl Across Your Killing Floor
3. I Know Your Lie
4. Caught In My Eye
5. Cat People
6. Bound by Blood
7. Who Claims the Soulless
9. Soul Eater
10. Dying Seraph
11. Lady Lucifera
12. Under Belly of the Beast
13. Unspeakable Shango Mix
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