The Godfather of Darkpunk and Dark Metal, with heavily Gothic overtones *(usually all at once), GLENN DANZIG, has finally released the “all covers” album he’s been talking about for literally years now *(this is apparently just one of three recording projects DANZIG has announced, all of which to be out by supposedly 2016 – – – more on those later).
SKELETONS concept is obviously based on that of DAVID BOWIE’S *(whom DANZIG had covered on the LOST TRACKS collection) PIN-UPS album of influences, and that’s what this is – – – songs most important to GLENN’S black candy heart – – – yet completely DANZIG-ified. While not being one of his best, it’s still far from his worst. It’s an odd selection of songs that DANZIG takes by the throat and makes his entirely, sometimes to an astonishing effect – – – sometimes, not so much. *(Typical DANZIG.) At least he takes the chances.
And chances they are, indeed. Here’s a list of what’s to be expected:
- Devils Angels – Davie Allan and the Arrows *(Theme to film of same name)
- Satan – Paul Wibier *(Theme to film “Satan’s Sadists”)
- Let Yourself Go – Elvis Presley
- N.I.B. – Black Sabbath
- Lord of the Thighs – Aerosmith
- Action Woman – The Litter
- Rough Boy – ZZ Top
- With a Girl Like You – The Troggs
- Find Somebody – The Rascals
- Crying in the Rain – The Everly Brothers
Yeah, it’s a strange collection of songs. “Devil’s Angels” was recorded and released years ago on youtube, 2012, I believe. The fact it sounded like a classic MISFITS song was simple: Glenn had been wanting to cover that since the early days of the band, and covered it exactly as he re-composed it for them in 1977. It’s an exciting, strong start. It’s also the highpoint of the album. After that song, it all begins to go downhill, at first slowly, then fairly rapidly. Of all BLACK SABBATH songs for DANZIG to cover, “N.I.B.” was a drastically bad choice, when there are so many others his vocals are better suited to. *(Hell, he’s already ‘borrowed’ riffs from the band over the years, “Her Black Wings” = “Zero The Hero,” “Hand Of Doom,” listen and ye shall hear.)
“Devil’s Angels,” “Satan’s Sadists,” “Let Yourself Go,” and the beautifully tear-jerky “Crying In The Rain” are easily the best songs on here, with “Devil’s Angels” and “Crying In The Rain” ranking up there with the best of DANZIG’S 30+ years of black sonic rain. “With A Girl Like You” has so many screeches from TOMMY VICTOR’S *(of PRONG, and long-time going guitar slinger of DANZIG) guitar, since the departure of TODD YOUTH *(SON OF SAM, MURPHY’S LAW), and his ever-wailing, meandering solos that it’s a production mess, but hidden within that is that classic MISFITS quality/composition. In fact, production-wise, it’s just far-too laden down with TOMMY VICTOR’S lowest-of-low-end thunder, and not enough of JOHN KELLY’S *(TYPE O-NEGATIVE) drums to be able to tell if there’s more to his playing here than a bass and snare or what. It’s production is far-lower than that of DETH RED SABBAOTH, the instruments tuned to some kind of almost brown-note octave, a monolith draped in mud, that’s rapidly drying and messing up the frequency of waves the speaker-shattering thunder is pummelling you with. Think CIRCLE OF SNAKES, but far more raw and low-end. And yes, I’m sorry to say, but GLENN DANZIG did indeed do the production and mixing/engineering himself. Unfortunate, as I’ve heard him do far better. But I digress.
Beyond those songs in particular, the rest of the album is really just fair-to-midland. It’s not his worst *(“V” & “6:66” are still a toss-up for that one), nor anywhere close to his best *(being as I’ve been a die-hard fan for 29 years now, I’m just going to say “the rest” to try and quantify “best”). MISFITS, SAMHAIN, and DANZIG got me through a throng of wretched shit and feelings in my *(too) many years on this rock in the cosmos for me to shift now and shun this. It’s worth a listen, and is what it is, and that’s *(as I’m aware I previously mentioned) a little piece of the man’s heart – – – this is what got him through his own throng of wretched shit and feelings that I know he endured *(ever been to Lodi, NJ? I have – – – I can only imagine). To perceive it from that scope brings an entirely new vision to it, something to be appreciated on a different level. I grew-up on his music, much the way he grew-up on theirs.
Now as to the other two recordings he has planned for release over the next year or so? Well, and brace yourself for this one: DANZIG SINGS ELVIS *(no, that’s not a joke, and I suspect, due to some things Glenn has recently stated in interviews, that they may all be outtakes from these sessions), and a new, proper DANZIG full length *(believe you me, I am far more interested in the latter of the two – – – just my opinion).
Now to what may be the most interesting aspect to this album *(aside from the opening and closing tracks), is the cover. I absolutely fukking love it. It’s a pic of Glenn, in a most Crimson Ghost-esque face-painted visage, with a glorious and beautiful Mother of Mercy / Queen of Death leaning her head to his shoulder, and looking very much like the SAMHAIN UNHOLY PASSION ghoul *(the model in the pic is KAYDEN KROSS). I personally love the cover, and though not really appropriate for this release *(it’s such a striking pic that it should be on an album a little more attuned to it – – – sorry Glenn), it’s a good homage to that of BOWIE’S original. I’ve heard some complain about it, but they are obviously not understanding what is taking place and why *(and their rock-n-roll history sucks, as well). It’s a shame the cover Glenn did with Cherie Currie of THE RUNAWAYS, “Some Velvet Morning,” didn’t make it on here. In fact, from some sources I’ve read, he’s dropped quite a few songs off of here.
While not entirely essential for the average collector, it is to the DANZIG completeist. And I had absolutely no clue this was even coming out, making it even more of a surprise. I was listening to CANCERSLUG and saw this on the side of the youtube page. The day after it’s release and lo & behold, there it was. There was no way I couldn’t check it out. Yeah, I recommend it, but it’s no DANZIG 4. *(Oh, and people, STOP with the ridiculous DANZIG memes already – – – yeah, some were kind of funny, and being a DANZIG fan has always required having a certain sense of humor, sure, but give the guy a fukkin’ break – – – he’s been entertaining you longer than most of you have been alive – – – show some fukkin’ respect back.)
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email is firstname.lastname@example.org