Tag Archives: joey castillo

Danzig – Black Laden Crown

Cover_of_Black_Laden_Crown_(2017)_by_Danzig

Danzig – Black Laden Crown (2017)

Anytime something new related to Danzig arrives at my doorstep I wonder if this it’s the last. Glenn Danzig, the venerable punk-metal icon, is in his sixties. He’s released around two-dozen records at this point and has already reached the point in his career where he forgoes touring in favor of festivals and gigs located close to his SoCal home. The gap in years has only widened between album releases, and he’s taken time to do more passion projects like a covers record and compilations. Danzig’s last studio album, Deth Red Sabaoth, came out in 2010. Before that was 2004’s Circle of Snakes. Now in 2017, we have the latest from metal’s favorite crooner:  Black Laden Crown.

By pretty much everyone’s standards, Danzig the band has long since past its peak. Some feel the band peaked with 1992’s How the Gods Kill, others (myself included) would consider 1994’s Danzig: 4P as the real high point. Following that album was when the original lineup was disbanded, Danzig left the Def American label, and the direction of the band was forever changed. That was really the end for the band as a popular one, with nostalgia really only bringing the band back into the spotlight (a trend many bands of the 80s and 90s have benefitted from). Creatively though, Danzig has still made worthwhile music, even if it wasn’t always on par with the early days. Deth Red Sabaoth was probably the band’s best effort since 1994 with the only black marks on it being the subpar production (a frequent bane of recent Danzig releases) and the lack of a truly standout track. It would have been a fine album to go out on, but thankfully Danzig decided there was at least one more record left to make.

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Back for the first time since 2002’s Danzig 7 is drummer Joey Castillo (center).

In many ways, Black Laden Crown is similar to Deth Red Sabaoth. The personel involved is largely the same, only this time with more drummers. Tommy Victor is back on guitar, and Glenn Danzig naturally is providing all of the vocals and doing all of the song writing, while also contributing on guitar, bass, piano and drums himself. Johnny Kelly returns to drum on two tracks, while former Danzig drummer Joey Castillo (Danzig 5, 6, and 7) also returned for a guest-spot on a couple of tracks. Karl Rokfist and Dick Verbeuren also contribute drums on a track each. Why so many drummers? Because the album has been in production off and on for years and Danzig would just grab whoever was available when in the studio. This means longtime collaborator Steve Zing is still basically just the live bass player as he is once again denied an album credit.

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Two things Glenn Danzig loves being photographed with:  porn stars and goat heads.

I’m going to detour away from the music for a minute and take a look at another aspect of Danzig albums that is also past its prime:  the album art. For whatever reason, the album artwork has been on a decline as well since the Def American days, though not always as drastic. I was mostly fine with the artwork for Danzig 5 and 6, the alternative cover for 5 is actually pretty awesome, but Black Laden Crown features some really cheesy artwork (done by the usually excellent Simon Bisley). The reverse cover image of a flaming Danzig head is even worse. There’s a t-shirt bundle being sold on the Nuclear Blast website and the shirt has a different version of the cover artwork (which is also featured on the interior slip-case for the CD) that is light-years better than the actual album cover. It’s sort of similar to the last album where the European version of the single featured superior artwork than the album. It’s not a big deal and it obviously doesn’t have any impact on the actual quality of the music, but as someone who still buys LPs it’s always a drag when the jacket has crappy artwork on it.

Black Laden Crown is best described as an album of mid-tempo, Sabbath influenced, metal. The opening track is a red herring of sorts, featuring a clean-tuned guitar and an uptempo second half, but it also embodies some of the flaws the rest of the album is going to face. And it should be discussed early in this review because there is no getting around it:  the production sucks. Perhaps sucks is too strong a word, but if you were disappointed with the production on Deth Red Sabaoth or the more recent covers record Skeletons, then you’ll be disappointed with Black Laden Crown. What is really unfortunate is that most of the poor production rests on the vocals. As the vocalist for the band, it’s surprising that producer Glenn Danzig doesn’t devote more resources to how his actual voice sounds. Time has obviously altered Danzig’s voice as it would anybody, but some of the songs sound like he just did a one take tracking spot, and decided to use that for the final mix. The lead single, “Devil on Hwy 9,” is especially bad with the vocals sounding dry and wooden. The production on the guitar and drums at least seems noticeably better than what was present on Deth Red Sabaoth. I haven’t seen Danzig discuss how this record was recorded, but the previous one was done with analog. Given that this one was done across so many different recording sessions, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out if it was done digitally since that method is more prevalent and easier.

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If you like buying your albums multiple times, Danzig’s got you covered with all of the editions of this one.

The other main issue I take with the performance of the record is with Danzig’s vocals. The production may not be doing him any favors, but several songs just lack emotion out of the singer. “Eyes Ripping Fire” should be a track that rips, but Danzig sounds like he’s just going through the motions. I’m not sure what he was going for with his performance at times, but he just sounds bored in places. Maybe he thinks his voice isn’t suited for certain styles any longer, though I think it has more to do with a mood he was trying to convey. He may have been looking for a controlled, assertive style to his vocals, but it just comes across as uninspired.

Those are the negative take-aways I have with Black Laden Crown, but in spite of those I actually think the whole of the album is actually pretty good. The vocal production is consistently subpar, but not as varied as the past albums where some songs sounded okay and others like rubbish. I really dig the Tony Iommi-like guitar tones on this record and its a sound I’ve always found more suitable for Danzig than the drop-C tuning featured on some records. There are still some chugging low riffs to be found, but they’re not as prevalent and the album has a more crisp sound. Tommy Victor is perhaps at his best with this record, at least as well as he’s been on a Danzig release. He’s given room to work with the leads, and even gets a few chances to drop a solo. The pinch harmonics that some fans found distasteful on the last album have been scaled back tremendously here.

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I wish they had used the artwork present on this t-shirt as the main cover artwork on the actual LP.

Black Laden Crown is at its best when the band is moving at a methodical pace and letting Glenn Danzig’s presence shine. It’s perhaps no better illustrated than with the album’s second single (and first to receive a video) “Last Ride.” The song evokes a drifter, or maybe even an old cowboy, something very Eastwood-like, with its story and the mood is very Danzig. It’s perhaps comparable to the song “Black Hell” from The Hangover II soundtrack, but more refined and focused. The album’s closer, “Pull the Sun,” is another good track and is probably the high point for Danzig’s vocals on this release. It’s not one of the closing numbers where Danzig goes off with a series of wails, but it’s got a nice vocal melody. The lyrics though make me think of Mr. Burns blotting out the sun on The Simpsons, which gives me a little laugh.

If there’s one last piece of criticism I could lay at the feet of this record it’s that it is perhaps one track short. At nine tracks and just over 45 minutes in length, it could have really used one more track to round things out. And if that track had been something more up-tempo that would have helped to break up some very similar sounding songs on the album’s back-end. The most up-tempo track is also the album’s worst, “Devil on Hwy 9,” so another really would have helped out. Even still, I’m digging this album. Perhaps part of that is due to my low expectations going in. An album that has been in the works as long as this one has usually doesn’t come out too well in the end, but I think the album took so long to record not because Danzig was tinkering with the material, he just literally only recorded a song or two here and there until he eventually had enough material for an LP. It’s very comparable to Deth Red Sabaoth in terms of quality, and if it’s the last album for Danzig it’s not a bad way to wrap things up. I’m not sure if it’s better than that record though. At first listen I thought it might be, but then I remember the variety of Deth Red with tracks like “Hammer of the Gods,” “Deth Red Moon,” and even “Black Candy” and I start to think this one may end up ranking behind that release. Which isn’t bad, as I dubbed Deth Red Sabaoth Danzig’s best since splitting with Rick Rubin, so if Black Laden Crown is comparable to that record, then that’s pretty good company to keep.

 

Top Tracks

  • Black Laden Crown
  • Last Ride
  • Pull the Sun
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Danzig: The Lost Tracks of Danzig

The Lost Tracks of Danzig (2007)

At this point I have now blogged about every Danzig studio album as well as the few live recordings that exist.  The only two albums I haven’t touched on are the two Glenn Danzig releases under the Black Aria title.  Those two albums are classical pieces and I don’t intend to post about them in any great depth. All I will say on the subject is that the first Black Aria is worth checking out, but the second isn’t.  Even without talking about those records, that’s still a lot of content I’ve covered and there’s still one more to go.

Without question, the most anticipated Danzig release for me since I became a fan in ’98 has been The Lost Tracks of Danzig.  It might sound kind of odd on the surface, as how could a collection of songs deemed not worthy of an album release generate so much excitement?  Credit for that goes to former Danzig bassist Eerie Von who had a short-lived telephone hotline in the 90’s following his departure from the band.  Fans who called up were sometimes treated to clips of unreleased Danzig material that Von had held onto.  I can’t precisely recall just how many songs Von featured, but I do know a track called “Cold, Cold Rain” was one and I needed to hear the rest of it.  “Cold, Cold Rain” is a ballad and one with an old 50’s sound to it.  It was recorded for the album Danzig II: Lucifuge but was omitted, likely in favor of “Blood and Tears.”  It features these awesome Danzig wails that still sounded excellent over a telephone line and I was positively despondent over the fact that I couldn’t hear the whole thing, and perhaps never would.

When Glenn Danzig was doing press for the Samhain Box Set released in 2000 he started talking about doing a Danzig one.  The Danzig one would come in a box shaped like an inverted cross and would contain a bunch of unreleased stuff.  At this time, Glenn had just got the rights to his unreleased stuff from American Recordings, his old label and home to the first four Danzig albums.  It had taken years to get all of that stuff back, but now Glenn knew he was sitting on a bunch of songs that he could probably make some money off of.  Unfortunately for fans, Danzig decided to focus on the home video type stuff at first and put out two DVDs featuring the old music videos from Danzig III and Danzig IV.  Glenn would be asked and would comment on the potential box set for years and years.  Not until he became burned out on touring and album making did he finally focus his attention on what would become The Lost Tracks of Danzig.

The cover for the booklet with artwork by Joe Chiodo is very tongue-in-cheek.

The Lost Tracks of Danzig compilation was finally released in the summer of 2007.  Along the way, the idea of a box set was dropped and instead the album was released on an oversized digibook.  The packaging was kind of like the old CD long-boxes that were around in the 80’s and it housed two discs stored vertically as opposed to a more traditional fold-out design.  On the inside cover was a booklet glued in.  Within that booklet was a bunch of photos of the band through-out it’s existence as well as liner notes for almost every song by Glenn.  These notes are fairly minimal, but most exist for Glenn to offer his opinion on the track and why it never was released in the first place.  There’s also some original artwork on the cover of the booklet by Joe Chiodo.  The exterior design was done by long-time collaborator Simon Bisley.

Not all of the tracks ended up being previously unreleased.  There were a couple that once appeared as B-sides or on non Danzig releases.  “When Death Had No Name” is one such track which was originally released as a B-side for the “Dirty Black Summer” single.  It also appears on this collection twice as it was recorded for both Danzig I and Danzig III (and supposedly, it was recorded for Danzig II as well) with the Danzig III version being the superior one.  The track “Deep” from the X-Files show compilation also appears here, as do a couple of remixes at the end of disc two for “Belly of the Beast” and “Unspeakable.”

Even with a couple of previously released tracks occupying space on this collection, there’s still a ton of stuff that is new to fans.  Both discs are packed pretty much to capacity with 13 tracks apiece.  Disc one spans from 1988 thru 1996, while disc two covers the rest.  Most fans were probably really looking forward to hearing the oldest stuff, but a lot of the songs from the 2000’s are pretty enjoyable as well.

Disc one opens up with a really crunchy, rocking track titled “Pain is Like an Animal.”  Written and recorded for the first Danzig album, it’s easy to see how this up-tempo number didn’t quite fit.  The quality of the recording is a bit lo-fi, but still enjoyable.  This track is somewhat controversial amongst the Danzig fan-base as Glenn’s vocals make it sound like this one was recorded later, perhaps during the Danzig III sessions, but Glenn says otherwise.  It’s quite possible that this one was recorded several times, like “When Death Had No Name,” and Glenn just forgot which recording was which.

This is a mighty fine release, Mr. Danzig, but why did you have to make us wait so damn long?!

The Danzig II tracks are pretty sweet, further cementing my opinion that Danzig II is the band’s best album.  “Angel of the Seventh Dawn” is another rock-heavy tune with some nice blues elements.  It would not sound out of place at all on Danzig II, but maybe Glenn just thought he had better tracks.  “Cold, Cold Rain” did not disappoint me, and it’s a great old-school Danzig ballad.  It’s slow but with a big sound.  It probably would have clashed with “Blood and Tears,” though Glenn says he always liked the song, but producer Rick Rubin did not.  “You Should Be Dying” is unfortunately one of the collection’s low points.  It has a cool “Sabbathy” intro but doesn’t go anywhere with it.  The vocals also sound like they were re-recorded for the collection as that’s just not how Glenn’s voice sounded in 1990.  According to him, though, the only vocals that had to be re-recored for this release were for the song “Come to Silver.”  Even though it’s basically a bad song, the chorus will get stuck in your head.  You have been warned!

Apparently there were few holdovers from Danzig III, or Glenn didn’t see fit to release any others, because it’s one of the more under-represented albums on this compilation.  The previously mentioned “When Death Had No Name” is present from that session, but it’s the same version as the one from the “Dirty Black Summer” single.  A good song, just nothing new.  “Buick McKane” is the only other track from Danzig III and it’s a cover of a T. Rex song.  It’s a pretty standard rock track but it has a cool jam quality to it that makes it stand out amongst Danzig songs.  It was likely intended to be a B-side somewhere down the road or was recorded just for fun.

The Danzig IV era brings about some interesting tracks for this collection.  There’s the joke song “Satan’s Crucifiction” that actually ends up being one of the best songs on this collection.  It was recorded for the sole purpose of messing with the executives at American who wanted to capitalize on the band’s recent break-out success with a record that wasn’t too “satanic.”  It’s a dark and menacing track with great atmosphere.  The lyrics are appropriately cheesy but the song’s a lot of fun.  “The Mandrake’s Cry” is a song best described as filler.  Neither strong nor weak, it was likely an easy omission from the 4p record.  It’s also another track where the vocals sound like they may have been re-recorded, or were just recorded with substandard quality.  “White Devil Rise” is a song recorded in response to Louis Farrakhan and his labeling of the white race as The White Devil.  It’s about  a race war and has a very apocalyptic feel to it.  The song is under-developed though and the chorus is fairly banal and kind of annoying.  It’s one of my least liked tracks on this collection.

The error “groovy” font edition of the album. It’s unclear how many of these were printed off, but they seem fairly rare from what I’ve noticed.

Danzig 5:  Blackacidevil is probably Danzig’s least liked record amongst fans, but the tracks from it on this collection are actually pretty good.  “Come to Silver” isn’t a new song, but this version removes the vocal distortion and other effects and strips it down to just Glenn and an acoustic guitar.  These vocals were re-recorded for this collection as the original masters weren’t usable.  The vocal performance could be described as understated, but it works.  I still prefer the original from Blackacidevil, but this a cool track.  “Deep” is not a new track, as mentioned earlier, but “Warlok” is. It borrows the simple chord progression from “Mother” but adds some fuzz and other effects.  Glenn’s vocals are free of distortion and he sings in a quasi-falsetto voice which works really well.  Short and sweet, “Warlok” is a nice surprise for this collection.

Danzig 6:66 Satan’s Child had over twenty tracks recorded for it but only twelve made it to the final LP.  It’s no surprise that a few tracks made it to this collection.  Kicking off disc 2 is “Lick the Blood Off My Hands” which is a bluesy track but with some industrial elements.  I’m not sure if it’s ever been confirmed if this was a Danzig 5 holdover or one from Danzig 6, it’s not a bad song though.  “Crawl Across Your Killing Floor” is from Danzig 6, though the guitars on this track were done by Todd Youth who would join the band after Danzig 6 was completed.  I’m assuming the song was done, but Glenn wanted to re-do the guitars for an eventual release and had Youth step in.  It’s a pretty bad ass song and one of Glenn’s longest.  Youth’s leads are excellent too.  This is a stand-out track and the only one to receive a music video clip from this collection (the concept for the video was pretty cool, but the execution laughable).  “I Know Your Lie” is another holdover that Glenn claimed he just plain got sick of during the recording of the album.  It’s a decent song, but I can see how Glenn could get annoyed with it.  Rounding out the 6:66 sessions is a cover of The Germs’ “Caught in My Eye.”  Some industrial effects were added and Glenn delivers his vocals with that whisper track adding an eerie quality to the atmosphere.  It works, and the punk vibe is still present for those looking for it.

“Cat People” follows, which was recorded during the Danzig: 777 I Luciferi sessions.  It was intended as a B-side, but was never released until now.  It’s a David Bowie cover that most people probably know today as the song from the film Inglourious Basterds.  It’s quite effective and the song exists mostly to build-up to an explosive second act.  “Bound by Blood,” per Glenn, was a tough omission from Danzig 7 and it’s clear why once heard.  One of my favorites from this collection, it’s an uncharacteristically sweet number from Danzig with some dynamite lead work by Youth once again.  It starts off slow, but rises to explosive levels fairly quickly.  “Who Claims the Soulless” is a pleasant enough track.  The guitar has a nice groove to it, and Joey Castillo’s drums work quite well for this one.  “Malefical” is a brooder.  Not a stand-out number, but not really a weak effort either.  “Dying Seraph” closes things out for I Luciferi and it’s a nice one too.  It has a bit of a jazz feel to it with some nice vocals by Glenn.  The big chorus serves as the cherry on top.

Circle of Snakes has just one representative on here and it’s “Lady Lucifera.”  It’s kind of a typical modern era Danzig track, though the production just doesn’t do it for me.  It’s muddy, like Circle of Snakes, and Glenn’s vocals just aren’t crisp.  Apparently he likes the track a lot, but I could do without.  The last two tracks are likely here just to fill space.  “Underbelly of the Beast” is from The Crow:  Salvation soundtrack and is a remix of “Belly of the Beast” that doesn’t really add much to the original.  “Unspeakable (Shango Mix)” is another remix, though this one was done for the adult film Grub Girl which was based on a character from Glenn’s Verotik publication.  The best thing that can be said for this one is it sounds like background music for a porn film.

In the end, The Lost Tracks of Danzig comes across like a greatest hits collection, even if few of the tracks were ever released!  It’s a great compilation with a surprising amount of quality.  I played the Hell out of this thing when it first came out, and even though there’s a few tracks I don’t particularly care for, it’s still something I like to come back to.  I’d love to hear a few more of these tracks live, but as far as I know, only “Pain is Like An Animal,” “Satan’s Crucifiction,” and “Lady Lucifera” have been played live, and none are played presently.  The collection was released as a two disc CD and also as a 4 LP on 180 gram vinyl and colored vinyl.  The vinyl release contains liner notes for one additional track over the CD version, “Cat People,” and the colored edition sort of varies from a blue to a light purple.  A small number of the CD version were released with an incorrect “groovy” Danzig font that was quickly changed to the traditional one so there’s some items out there for collectors to go after.  This is a set any Danzig fan should pick up, and even fans that checked out following the break-up of the original lineup will probably find material on disc 2 to enjoy.  This was one release that proved to be worth the wait!

Top Tracks

  • Cold, Cold Rain
  • Warlok
  • Bound by Blood

Danzig 777: I Luciferi

Danzig 777: I Luciferi (2002)

By the time June of 2002 rolled around the world was ready for some relevant Danzig once again.  Well, maybe most of the world didn’t much care, but I certainly was.  After two disappointing studio albums and a mostly bad live album, Danzig needed to make a statement.  For better or worse, that statement would come in the form of Danzig 777: I Luciferi.

I Luciferi was released on Glenn’s evilive label through Spitfire Records and would be the band’s only release with the Spitfire logo.  The band thought it had a new long-term relationship with label E-Magine Music but Danzig ended up being that label’s biggest acquisition, and as much as I love Danzig, it can’t carry a label.  By the time I Luciferi hit stores it had been just about 2 and a half years since Satan’s Child was released to mostly negative reviews.  The band had a decent showing on the road due in part to the inclusion of a Samhain set and fans had also been treated to several other releases including a Samhain Box Set and re-issues of Danzig 5 and Black Aria.  Danzig suddenly was a very busy band and even though it had been over 2 years since the last studio effort it sure didn’t feel that long.

The lineup for Danzig 7 was the same as the touring band for Danzig 6 and included guitarist Todd Youth, bassist Howie Pyro, and drummer Joey Castillo.  For all three this would be the last Danzig album they’d play on.  Pyro and Youth would go off to try to make a name for themselves elsewhere while Castillo was offered the drummer position with the much higher profile Queens of the Stone Age.  For the most part, all three go out on a relative high note and have nothing to be embarrassed by.  Like most of the modern Danzig releases, there aren’t a ton of guitar solos for Youth to show off on but what’s there is played capably.  Castillo continues to be the stand out for the group and Pyro’s bass actually has a presence here, which is not often the case with Danzig albums.

Stylistically, Danzig 7 could be called more of the same.  It’s a little louder and more varied than Danzig 6 but with less of an industrial presence.  Where Danzig 6 stuck mostly to power chords and low notes, Danzig 7 brings back the old pinch harmonics the band was known for and some more traditional Danzig-style guitar riffs.  Some of the songs are tried and true Danzig, such as the moody “Black Mass” and powerful outro “Without Light, I Am.”  There are also some new sounds though like the destructive “Coldest Sun” or Gary Glitter inspired “Kiss the Skull.”

That’s not to say it’s all good.  “Black Mass” is a fantastic opener (following the instrumental “Unendlich”) but “Wicked Pussycat” tries its best to derail any momentum gained.  Glenn’s vocals are clear and pristine on “Black Mass,” but “Pussycat” brings back that hoarse delivery fans seemed to dislike on Danzig 6.  That and the song’s subject matter is about as silly as the title suggests and Danzig’s “rapping” on the chorus caused many to double-take.  Talk to a Danzig die hard today and many will try to tell you he isn’t rapping, but consider me unconvinced.

“God of Light” follows and can best be described as nu-metal sludge.  It took a long time for me to come to grips with that, but it’s true.  The song is melodically offensive and one of the worst Danzig songs ever recorded.  “Liberskull” begins the album’s long, winding road to recovery.  The main riff is a bit too bouncy for my taste, but the chorus and build up to it is well executed and quite pleasing.

Danzig's chosen look for the 777 tour included some weird creature gloves. He seemed quite proud of these things.

From there the album is a bit uneven.  Songs like “Dead Inside” and the title track show promise but ultimately fail to deliver on it.  It’s towards the back end of the album where things pick up.  “Angel Blake” represents perhaps Glenn’s first classic horror tale since his days with The Misfits and proves quite pleasant, if a bit simple.  “The Coldest Sun” combines a dreary and kind of odd verse with one of Glenn’s catchiest choruses of all time.  His vocals are quite strong here, as they are on the closer “Without Light, I AM,” which strikes me as a kind of darker version of 4p’s “Let it be Captured.”

The musicianship is adequate, and while this isn’t the best collection of songs Glenn Danzig has put together it’s certainly quite listenable.  What most fans were really concerned with heading into this album was Glenn’s voice.  I Luciferi eased a lot of concerns amongst the Danzig faithful.  While most seemed satisfied with the vocals during the Satan’s Child tour, the following live album Live on the Black Hand Side caused people to question if what they heard on the road really was any good.  Live on the Black Hand Side contained two discs, one from the band’s glory days from ’92-’94 and a second disc with material from the Satan’s Child tour.  Disc 2 is practically unlistenable.  Some of that is likely due to the band skimping on good tech for a quality recording, but Glenn’s vocals just aren’t very good.  From the opening line of “Black Mass” though people were breathing a sigh of relief.  Danzig’s classic croon was back, and even though virtually no other song on the album sounds like “Black Mass” there are plenty of other stand-out moments.

The production is a little bit of a mixed bag.  While it’s no where near as bad as some of the future releases would present, it’s not quite on par with Satan’s Child.  Love it or hate it, the whisper backing track is still used on some songs but for the most part there’s little or no vocal distortion this time around.  While some people still want to call Danzig 6 an industrial metal album, Danzig 7 is pretty much a straight-up metal album with a modern sound.  The guitars are still tuned low (C once again) but there’s actual attempts made at crafting lead riffs this time around.  The quality of Castillo’s drumming, as I mentioned earlier, is quite good but the production on them is spotty at best.  On some songs it sounds like he’s drumming in your living room, on others it sounds too hollow and distant.  There’s a nice drum solo at the end of “Naked Witch” that could have sounded much better if given a full sound.  Mostly the album is lacking in those warm, full tones which is either a production short-coming or a stylistic choice.

"I Luciferi" vinyl release contents.

As for some technical notes on the release, it was released in 2002 on CD only and came in a blood-red jewel case.  The booklet contains photos of the band posturing with porn star Devon and looking mostly ridiculous.  Danzig has these big rubber gloves that make me think of comic book villain/hero Venom and he would sport them on tour.  Not all of the lyrics are printed in the booklet, a trend started by this release that would annoy most fans.  A vinyl version of the album was released in 2010 in Italy on Night of the Vinyl Dead Records.  Not much is known on how this came to be, presumably the distributor approached Spitfire about wanting to do it and they came to an agreement because the release wasn’t approved by Glenn (or he at least claimed to not know anything about it).  While it’s not technically a bootleg, it wasn’t endorsed by Glenn though I hear he has no qualms about signing it should you own a copy and wish to have him put his signature on it.  Release wise, it’s solid.  The booklet is nice and large and the record has an attractive inner sleeve.  The outer sleeve is the same as the CD artwork (which, admittedly, is pretty shitty though I kind of like the waxy new cross logo) and there’s also a skull lithograph included.  I assume the image is the artist’s interpretation of the classic Danzig logo.  This edition is limited to 500 copies.

Ultimately, Danzig 777: I Luciferi is a bit of an uneven release and isn’t going to make anyone forget about the band’s peak in the 1990’s.  It was the best album from Danzig since 1994’s 4p, and while it wasn’t a return to the classic sound, it was a return to respectability.  For a long time after this one was released I listened to it daily.  It was the album of my summer that year and I was never shy to bust it out when someone would ask me if Danzig was still around.  Some of the songs are among my favorite, and for me this is probably a top 5 Danzig release and a job well done.

Top Tracks:

  • Black Mass
  • The Coldest Sun
  • Without Light, I Am

(The videos for Danzig 7 were pretty terrible, so here’s a youtube upload of “The Coldest Sun” instead)