You can’t even begin to understand how Glenn Danzig and his band changed my understanding of what heavy music could also be sometime in early 1989, when a mate of mine introduced me to the debut album, simply entitled ‘Danzig’. This bluesy, pinch-harmonics filled music that was virtually dripping darkness and macho ethos was mind-blowing for someone like myself who thought that the very definition of heavy was death metal and grindcore.
The first four albums are classics and the absolute works of reference for anyone who’s just vaguely interested in checking out Danzig. The industrial experimentation on 1996’s ‘Blackaciddevil’ was less fortunate, but ‘6:66 Satan’s Child’ from 1999 was a strong return to form, and there on, releases have been somewhat sporadic, but of fine quality.
I can’t quite say the same about the tenth full-length, the cover album called ‘Skeletons’. Having now turned 60, Glenn Danzig has apparently realised it’s time to look back and pay homage to some of the songwriters who inspired him during the sixties and seventies. This is a natural and fine thing to do – and certainly not an unusual one. When done properly, cover songs are a great way of showing where you come from and giving that nod to musicians who inspired you. Nothing wrong with that. However, you should only do that when you can do the originals justice. What do I mean?
I’m not sure if there’s gone something when the record company made the mp3 copies for us or if the production of the songs is actually as bad as it sounds in my headphones (and, yes, I did try another set of headphones, and I have listened to other releases without problems). The first two songs, Devil’s Angels by Davie Allen & The Arrows and Satan (From Satan’s Sadist) by Paul Wibier, sound like utter crap. Embarrassingly bad. Through the din of crappy sound, it also sounds as if Glenn isn’t really getting the nerve right. That last punch is somehow missing.
For Presley’s Let Yourself Go, the sound improves, and Glenn actually does a great job of living up to his ‘Evil Elvis’ nickname. Nice one.
The sound is finally sort of in place for Sabbath’s N.I.B. as well, and it is a pleasure to hear Tommy Victor twisting the hell out of his guitar. Am I convinced by Danzig’s impression of Ozzy? Not really, but it still works because the song is amazing, and I like what the band has done to it.
Danzig covering Aeromsith’s Lord of the Thighs is not only slightly surprising, it also brings a really crappy and tinny guitar sound back. Dubious performance by Glenn.
Action Woman has a lot more guitar crunch, and Danzig presents a bit of heart and nerve as well.
The ZZ Top song Rough Boy gets a decent treatment and reminds me of one of the Danzig ballads from yonder years.
With A Girl Like You, originally done by The Troggs, is too punk for me.
It’s always nice to hear Tommy Victor dragging those pinch-harmony riffs out of his strings, but The Young Rascals song Find Somebody doesn’t really go anywhere if you ask me.
Another surprise is that Danzig has decided to do The Everly Brothers’ Crying In The Rain. I completely get it, because it’s a massively beautiful song. Although the song in Danzig’s rendition suffers (again) from a genuinely bad production, it’s got something to it. Danzig sings as if he means it, and that saves it.
So, all in all, a mixed experience, this release. I could easily have seen some of these tracks as bonus tracks on a proper Danzig album, but a full cover album of this low quality is probably not what any Danzig fan is hoping for.
For die-hard fans and collectors only.
1. Devil’s Angels – (Davie Allen & The Arrows)
2. Satan (From Satan’s Sadist) – (Paul Wibier)
3. Let Yourself Go – (Elvis Presley)
4. N.I.B.- (Black Sabbath)
5. Lord Of The Thighs – (Aerosmith)
6. Action Woman – (The Litter)
7. Rough Boy – (ZZ Top)
8. With A Girl Like You – (The Troggs)
9. Find Somebody – (The Young Rascals)
10. Crying In The Rain – (The Everly Brothers)
Playing time: 35 minutes
Release date: 27th of November, 2015
Label: AFM/Nuclear Blast