Reviewed: Danzig – Skeletons

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I’m just going to get this out of the way first: I’ve paid little attention to Danzig’s output since the outstanding Danzig 4 released over twenty years ago. (Where the hell does the time go?) Even so, the original lineup of Glenn Danzig, John Christ, Eerie Von, and Chuck Biscuits is still legendary in my mind, and I still spin those first four albums on the reg.

Considering all the controversy and hate Danzig now seems to attract on MetalSu… the metal-blogosphere in general, one can and should still acknowledge his commitment to his career, a career that now spans four decades and has influenced a lot of (often more successful) bands along the way. Mr. Danzig, in his benevolent graciousness, has been kind enough to now in turn permit us to hear some of his influences through covers of songs he’s admired over the years.

Skeletons, a cover album, is ten songs long and clocks in at roughly thirty-six minutes…perfect for a single-LP of today’s inferior pressing-quality at inflated price. The first thing that really stands out to me about this album is its demo-like quality. While the mastering is surprisingly somewhat dynamic in these unbearable Death Magnetic Days, the recording itself suffers from sounding hastily and unprofessionally recorded. If anyone tells me that this is supposed to be a punk-thing I call bullshit…every studio album by the Misfits sounded way better than this. At first I wanted to attribute this grody-sounding “production” to perhaps the DRM/watermarking on MP3s sent to reviewers, but it goes much deeper than that. This album was recorded, mixed, and mastered so horribly that I feel as though Danzig must have had both of his ears boxed by that guy from the North Side Kings prior to mix-down.. The album’s closer, Danzig’s cover of The Everly Brothers’ “Crying in the Rain,” sounds as though the vocals were recorded in a bathroom.

…the song itself isn’t that bad though, and Danzig turns in a just-ok performance vocally (even if it does sound like he was mic’d in his own shower.) But now I’m sitting here thinking of all the well-sung slow songs he’s done in the past, like “Sistinas” and “Blood and Tears”, and wondering “what in the living breathing name of crap is this now?” On the Black Sabbath cover, “NIB”, he really falls short in my opinion. How can you hit less notes and have less range than Ozzy himself? Whatever. Danzig, like every other professional singer, has a vocal style that will work for some covers better than others, but his “singing” here is flat. It sounds like he’s bored and not even trying. There are bells and a seemingly out-of-place outro guitar solo so that’s really nifty, I suppose.

The fully-expected Elvis cover is present and accounted for; it’s just not an obvious choice. Rather than “Kentucky Rain” or any number of Elvis’s recognizable tunes, Danzig instead chose to cover “Let Yourself Go;” a semi-obscure track from the 1968 film Speedway. There’re a few more old obscure movie songs from that same period. “Devil’s Angels”, the album’s opener, actually sounds like it could have been an early (pre-Walk Among Us) Misfits song (that was sensibly never released because it sucks more shit than a dung beetle on a humid Wednesday afternoon).

Surprisingly there’s an Aerosmith cover here from their ’74 sophomore release. In his accompanying press-release Danzig states that his version of “Lord of Thighs” is much heavier. (Well, yeah. Aerosmith wasn’t trying to be the hardest of rock even before their post-comeback descent into ‘90s radio-sap and Armageddon OST suckage.) Danzig’s yelling of the chorus really hurts my eardrums on studio headphones. Did I mention how poorly-recorded this stuff is? Nothing to see here… move along. I’m guessing “Satan’s Sadists” is from the soundtrack to the 1969 movie of the same name. I don’t know… I wasn’t born for another five years to be honest. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) I can’t help but think he could have tried a lot harder here because this song had potential… with 1988 Glenn Danzig.

I’m not going to lie: I wanted to like this album, but it is exquisitely forgettable and poorly-executed with varying levels of bad quality on a per-song basis. Hardcore Danzig fans today may find something to appreciate about it (at least those he hasn’t had beaten senseless for taking pictures at his shows), but I can’t listen to this album a fourth time or I’m going to need to douche my ears or something. Deleting this from my Macbook before it commits suicide.

Flushed out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

NEW_TOILETSCALE_0_of_5_FLUSHED

I’m just going to go ahead and flush this so I can get back to enjoying those first four albums for hopefully another twenty-some years; blissfully oblivious to any further latter-day Danzig output.

Skeletons will be released worldwide on November 27 for anyone who’d like to shell out their hard-earned money to suffer their very own aural abuse.

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  • COAL ROLL

    <3

  • ME GORAK B.C.™

    GORAK HATE COVER ALBUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SMASH & FLUSH!!!!!!!!!

    • Maik Beninton™

      Me too. I could care less about covers.

    • smash & flush = the new hail & kill

      • WHIP & NAE NAE

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
    • A Chili Dog In Each Nostril

      His vocals and goofy lyrics turned me off even when I tried listening to him in middle school. He sounds like a constipated Ian Astbury (The Cult).

      • Max

        That said, The Doors of the 21st Century should’ve got Danzig to sing instead of Ian Astbury.

        • A Chili Dog In Each Nostril

          The other 3 Doors should’ve died first. Problem solved!

  • REKT

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Chuck Biscuits

  • ProfoundHatred

    Sounds like what I expected, with the exception of incredibly poor quality. Kind of a shame. Deth Red Saboath was actually a solid album, was hoping this would at least be decent.

    • Dubs

      Deth Red Saboath was way better than I thought it would be.

      • Waynecro

        Awesome to see some praise for that album. It’s got some pretty strong songs, I think.

  • Maik Beninton™

    Good job on showing the next way of rating.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    I’m not going to torment myself with this.

    • A Chili Dog In Each Nostril

      Me neither. Can’t fucking stand Danzig, and never will.

  • BEARD-SPLITTER
    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      That looks like a torture device.

      • BEARD-SPLITTER

        *sex toy

        Ftfy

      • more beer

        It looks like what everyone but you would need. If they listened to that horrible nu metal crap you love.

  • A Chili Dog In Each Nostril
  • “Deleting this from my Macbook before it commits suicide”.

    R.I.P. in pieces, JAG’s Macbook.

  • i love articles by JAG.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      I do too.

  • ┼yree
  • A Chili Dog In Each Nostril

    Before covering Elvis songs, Danzig prepares with at least 12 of Elvis’ fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

    http://i.imgur.com/fdbDlOf.png

  • JAG FTW!

    GL

  • Óðinn

    Ouch. Haven’t heard it yet, but I’m willing to believe that it sucks. I haven’t enjoyed a Danzig album since Danzig III: How the Gods Kill. He did have some great albums earlier in his career though. Thanks Jay.

  • Stockhausen

    LOLZIG

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Danzbuttz

  • Max

    Can’t say I’m surprised, although unlike JAG I never even got as far as Danzig IV. (Although it probably did have some good songs.)

    I think I was always a lot more intrigued by the “concept” of Danzig than by the actual music, which never really went quite as far as I’d like it to. I mean, you look at the iconic first album cover with the skull against black – or you fold out the second album’s CD slick into its inverted cross shape…or, for that matter, you look at the HR Giger-emblazoned third cover; and in each case you would have to think you’re about to listen to some of the darkest, heaviest music ever made (at least if you’re an impressionable teenager circa 1992).

    What you end up hearing is – as another commenter has said – not far off from retrograde hard rock like Electric-era The Cult; particularly on the debut. I always expected it to be a bit more “gothic” somehow (in a good way). It never really was.

    Which is not to say that what it was didn’t have some merit as long as the songs were okay. When they were filler, though, they made the whole endeavour surprisingly pointless.

    • You’ve summed up my feelings on Danzig’s artwork vs. music perfectly. I suppose Samhain was a bit more “gothic”, or was supposed to be, but that wasn’t very good either.

      • Max

        I’m glad to hear somebody else shares the perception.

        Another way of putting it might be to say that Danzig struck me as a rather non-mainstream looking band (by the standards of those days, when tattoos were much less common and so, for that matter, were rock stars who actually worked out) making what sounded like surprisingly mainstream-sounding music (again, by those days’ standards). The first album wasn’t far off AC/DC with Jim Morrison on vocals; which puts it quite squarely in the ’60s-’70s stranglehold that FM rock radio was still afflicted by when I was a teenager.

        Even the lyrics weren’t that “cutting-edge.” I remember wondering what the hell the Parental Advisory sticker was on there for once I realized there was no swearing – especially since I’d already come to metal via the likes of Deicide and Carcass.

        Thinking about it now, the title track from How the Gods Kill and maybe “Under Her Black Wings” from Danzig II are the only two songs that really captured the darkness I imagined I’d be in for by looking at the album covers – though some other songs kinda get there, too.

        Then there’s stuff like “Killer Wolf” which is outright blues, or “The Hunter” which wouldn’t be out of place on some boogie-rock record or maybe Thin Lizzy.

  • Waynecro

    When I was a kid, my mom took me, my brother, and one of our pals on a road trip. I played a mix tape with some Danzig tunes on it. My mom thought Danzig was singing “dirty black sausage” on the song “Dirty Black Summer.” She said, “You boys sure do listen to some strange music.”

    • I had a dirty black sausage for breakfast. No porn intended.

      • Waynecro

        I think I’d prefer a tidy black sausage, but I don’t eat breakfast.

        • Breakfast is for lifelovers. I only eat Blackfast.

          • Waynecro

            And I do intermittent blackfasting. So metal, bro.

          • I play blastfast beats on my blueberry pancakes with french toast sticks, while vomiting geysers of authentic Vermont maple syrup into the pitiless winter air . . . >:[

          • Waynecro

            That’s pretty fucking brutal–especially on your blood-sugar levels! Hyperglycemia ist krieg.

          • How can my pancreas betray me if I don’t even believe it exists?

          • Waynecro

            I didn’t even know about my pancreas until it failed.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWrePtBPaeE

          • Man, this song makes me really appreciate all my pancreas has done for me thus far (i.e. filter vodka, or whatever it actually does). Thanks, Brosylvania.

          • Waynecro

            A functional pancreas transforms alcohol from a poison into a magical elixir capable of fixing any problem temporarily. It’s a kind of alchemy, which makes the pancreas a cousin of the philosopher stone. It’s the philosopher pebble.

          • r U a teMpLaR?

          • Waynecro

            Of course I’m not Illuminati…er, I mean, a templar.

          • more beer

            I hate when that happens.

          • Waynecro

            Yeah really. One minute you’re pounding booze like you’re immortal, the next minute you’re puking up liquefied organ meat in a hospital waiting room.

          • more beer

            It certainly sounds like a day wrecker.

          • Waynecro

            Yeah, it ruins the day and the ensuing rest of your life.

          • more beer

            You can’t drink. I don’t know if that ruins your life. Here are some hobbies you can take up. Smoking lot’s of pot, womanizing, terrorizing the neighborhood kids, become a stalker the possibilities are endless. You just have to decide what works best for you.

          • Waynecro

            Yeah, not drinking is a drag, but it’s not the thing that ruins your life. Medical complications (thrombosis of the splenic vein, pancreatic pseudocyst), diabetes, diminished life expectancy, increased risk of pancreatic cancer, higher and more frequent medical bills, and ultrahigh life-insurance premiums are much worse. I’m OK with sobriety these days. I’m not interested in pot, and I’m not one for womanizing. I might scare the neighborhood kids with my blasting devil music, though, but that’s just a side effect of playing loud music in my garage gym.

          • more beer

            Yea the medical things certainly suck. Those were just suggestions. There has to be something you can find to do that you will enjoy doing.

          • Waynecro

            I get what you’re saying. I do have hobbies and stuff. I just find enjoying anything difficult these days. I’ve got a case of the mehs.

          • more beer

            Life is like that sometimes. I’m sure living with the ex makes it worse. I know you like staying home. But get out and go to some shows anything to get your mind off of things.

          • Waynecro

            I want to see Fleshgod Apocalypse, Carach Angren, and Abigail Williams in February, but I’ll have to stay out past my bedtime on a work night.

          • more beer

            I am probably going to see that when it comes thru here. I go out and play on work nights all the time. But I also don’t really have set in stone work hours. Most of the time when I get there I get there.

          • Waynecro

            I’m seriously considering going. I have to start working pretty early in the morning so I’m available if people in the Japanese and British offices need to talk to me. It makes staying out late on a work night a little difficult. For Fleshgod, I’m willing to deal with that.

          • RJA

            I go to few shows – I’m always complaining “it’s on a week night…the doors don’t open until… etc, etc” But almost every time I man up and go, I don’t regret it.

          • Waynecro

            Thanks, man. I’ll keep that in mind. I’ve wanted to see Fleshgod for years, so I’ll probably go. I’m sure I won’t regret it.

  • I love the way you come at everything from an irate audiophile angle, JAG. I don’t pretend to understand much of it, but it is fascinating. I wish you would produce more reviews in this vein.

    Kudos for kicking out a review that is more entertaining than the last fifteen years of Danzig’s “career”.

    • Thanks for reading.

      I don’t like to do reviews in this vein to be quite honest. I seldom wish to even talk about music that I don’t enjoy because it’s a waste of my time. I was eager to review this because I thought I’d like it and the album looked good on paper, so to speak.

      • By “in this vein” I mean all that techno-speak, more so than your bile. Although of course I do enjoy your bile as well.

  • more beer

    I was done with Danzig. After the second time I saw him. He was the biggest douche bag at that show. Demolition Hammer were playing with him in a small club. He wouldn’t let them do a sound check. Because he had t watch wrestling. (I know this will make JJD happy) Well him being a dick was all fine and good. Because Demolition Hammer came on and played a blistering set and blew him away that night.

    • Boss the “Inspectah” Ross

      You saw Demolition Hammer to?!?!?!

      • more beer

        They were all friends of mine. Vinny Daze gave me my first tattoo. I must of seen the 30 times.

        • Boss the “Inspectah” Ross

          Gah!!!

          You always have the coolest stories.

  • OldMetalHead

    Great review.

  • Ted Nü-Djent ™

    Well there goes my anticipation

    • Boss the “Inspectah” Ross

      Yeah, i was kinda looking forward to the album, this kinda has me bummed.

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        I’ll still check it out though. JAG can be a cantakerous old biddy at the best of times. Especially when it comes to production.

        • Boss the “Inspectah” Ross

          Yeah, I’ll give it a listen before purchase.

  • Eliza

    Ahhh, cover albums. What artists find themselves doing when the creativity ran out.

    • Boss the “Inspectah” Ross

      I think a well executed covers album is a cool and fun idea, especially when the band can make the songs their own. But sometimes they do fall flat, you are right.
      I think I prefer tribute albums with multiple artists than a single band’s cover album. You can get a nice variety.