Danzig – Black Laden Crown (Evilive Records 2017)

After the weak sounding covers record Skeletons I didn’t get my hopes up for this release. The sound is in the same sort of low fi Glenn has been doing ever since 7:77 I Luciferi. The songs are doomy and gloomy, mostly slow to mid tempo pieces.

 

Let’s pause a minute to consider the cover art, wow how awful is this cover? Danzig cover art has been a huge part of what has drawn me to the music, especially the Giger drawing of How the Gods Kill, not to mention the classic skull logo or the medieval look of Circle of Snakes. This time around he has chosen to go for the esthetics of his Verotic comic books. I get that he is big into the comic book world, but this cover is too much on the cartoony side for me personally, bit of a disappointment.

 

The sound is very similar to the Deth Red Saboath album. Lyrically this album is better crafted, maybe not as accessible as earlier, but with better quality… quality might not be the right word…shit… they seem less childish and more of a comprehensive body of work.

 

The guitar is heavily overdriven, I’m thinking a thick fuzz sound, Victor likes himself some natural harmonics, so much so that it sort of gets annoying. The riffs themselves are dark, and heavy, reminiscent of Circle of Snakes and 4p. The high, squeaky fills gets a bit much, for my taste. The drums are once again handled by Joey Castillo, who was the from about 95 up through the touring cycle for I, Luciferi in 03. I can’t really say he makes much of an impact on the album. Drums are hollow-sounding and bass-laden, like they’ve been on every danzig-record since the turn of the century. I guess Glenn played the bass and keyboards himself.

 

The opener, which also happens to be the title track, is a sort of half breed between his past half instrumental openers, like Unendlich or Wotans Procession and earlier heavy numbers; like Thirteen or Angel Blake. It’s a slow, but heavy number. Best of all, it has this classic, easy-to-follow Danzig vocal melody. A truly wicked start to the new disc. Eyes Ripping Fire is not a great song, it’s lacking in power and gets dull and seems to drag out, even though it’s only like four minutes long.

 

Devil on Hwy 9, the teaser and the single, isn’t a very good either. The chorus is nice and infectious, but the main riff is just boring and Victor is slightly too active with his fills. I’m sure this will be killer live though, it just falls flat in a studio version.

 

I’ve listened to this album a bunch of times now, and it doesn’t really stick. It kind of falls flat. I get what he’s trying to do with production but when you know that with today’s technology untrained kids can make great sounding stuff in their bedrooms, this low-fi shit doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t sound retro, it doesn’t sound evil, it just sounds half assed.

 

Being a Danzig-fan is hard around the release of new music, because of Danzigs press rounds, he’s now getting to sound like more of a nutcase than Mustaine and that says a bit. Jeebuz man, Glenn says some crazy shit.

 

Let’s end this with: Established Danzig fan? Yes: Get the record, it’s what you expect and want, but with crap production. No: Go to the first four records for some bluesy stuff, record 5 and 6 for some industrial darkness, 7 and 8 for some truly dark, yet somehow popy, music, wait with Black Laden Crown and Deth Red Sabaoth.

 

Recommended tracks: Devil on Hwy 9, Skulls & Daisies

 

Rating: 3 / 5

Evile – Skull (Earache 2013)

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Evile seems to have come into their own, so to speak. Skull is in many ways a departure from their earlier sound. One might say that they have left the «…and Justice for All»-sound behind and swapped it for more of a «Master of Puppets» meets «Rust in Peace» sound.

I’ve enjoyed Evile’s music since I was introduced to their debut Enter the Grave when it was released, but sometimes I felt bored with their sound. Especially Matt Drake’s vocals tested my patience from time to time, and the way all their material blended together also annoyed me. So a slight change in sound and songwriting style is very welcome in my view.

The title track, Skull, is an amazing show of force. Great riffs follow each other, and the vocals sound great. New Truths, Old Lies features some amazing guitar solos by Ol’ Drake. In fact most the guitar work is excellent throughout the record. There is no denying Ol’s skill and talent, and it’s a shame he has left the band. This album is really boiling over with great headbanging tunes. The Naked Sun is another great song. I also thoroughly enjoyed Words of the Dead. Not to forget the great riffs of Underworld and Outsider.

Some of their old sins still plague this album though. They have a tendency to repeat themselves to the point that it becomes tedious, and on this album this problem surfaces in Tomb and What You Became.

Evile is often criticized for being a Metallica knock off, I can hear it, but it doesn’t bother me. There is no need to invent the wheel a new, at least not when the wheel sounds like this! Just enjoy Evile’s finest release to date!

Rating 4/5