Reviewed: Danzig – Skeletons
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
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.