Glen Danzig has a lot to answer for. Being almost singlehandly responsible for both Samhain and the legendary punk-goth-schlockers the Misfits, - who could best de described as the Ramones dressed like a death metal band with rockabilly quiffs and an unhealthy interest in horror movies, but that didn’t stop bands such as NOFX, Pennywise, Goldfinger and Therapy? All contributing to a recent(ish – 1998) tribute album called “Violent World”. He’s best known for oepidal “Last Caress” , as covered at every Metallica gig since 1987 – a song which as notorious for its inflammatory lyrics as the Anti-Nowhere’s Leagues “So What?” - and “Die Die My Darling”. Both of which are Misfits songs, which puts every one of the albums he’s put out since then into the shade, except for the 1994 MTV friendly semi-ballad “Mother”.
Known mainly to the post MTV generation because of Metallica, Danzig’s solo stuff has ploughed on a path of at times sludgy, but mostly effective metallic vein. Its absurd to take it seriously, what with a 47 year old man wearing a see-though string shirt with a huge inverted pentagram on the front, looking not unlike Jonathon Davis’ father, only obsessed with bodybuilding and comic books. Replete with satanic/ devil imagery (such as the album “6.66 Devils Child”), its equally impossible to take “777: I Luceriferi” seriously.
Which is a good job really. Because “777: I Luciferi” has more in common with modern sludge/grind rock bands like Down and Corrosion of Conformity than anything else. Metal riffs riff along in that style that old Sabbath records used to, the way that old-school revivalists like Zakk Wylde (of Black Label Society) wish had never gone away. This is a record which ploughs the retro groove loudly and proudly. At times it has more to do with Sabbath , and Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC, and all those other metal bands your dad likes, but with Jim Morrison and Elvis Presley sharing vocals. Then mix in a good portion of Type O Negative minus the sarcastic irony.
Sounds weird? Well, yes. But somehow it works. Its memorable and bloody good at what it does. Starting with the textured ambient guitar work of “Unendlich” (like the beginning of Metallica’s “Blackened” )“Liberskull” sounds like an obivious-ish single and “Dead inside” is dynamic. But the crunchy metal riffs with squeals of harmonic distortion can only carry an album for so long, and 55 minutes is way beyond that time. And “Kiss the Skull” (with its “woah-woah” chrous) is like Rob Zombie minus the electronica, but with maximum menace. And please, don’t get me started on the flutes that suddenly turn up in the middle of “Angel Blake”, as if trying to make it sound all pagan, but just make it sound rubbish.
It’s a dark, sleazy, grindy, menacing metal record in the way that only men with an unhealthy interest in Santeria and unorthodox religious practices can make – the perfect soundtrack to a movie about Vampire biker gangs or something. Brilliant effective at what it does ; but unfortunately its one dimensional-ness is its undoing. I can’t imagine it doing anything except appealing to the Danzig hardcore, because – like a toothless monster in old horror movies that Glen Danzig so obviously loves , it tries to come across as horrific, but cant be taken seriously. For all its po-faced seriousness, the main horror is its hokum and humdrum recycled metal riffs from quarter of a century ago.
Glen, please, please go back to reading comic books and for gods sake please stop making records. Theres more than enough crap metal records out there, far too many to list - and we don't need one more.
5Graham Reed's Score