Saturday 28 November 2015

Danzig - Skeletons (Album Review)

Release date: November 27th 2015. Label: Nuclear Blast. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The White Sea – Tracklisting

01. Devil's Angels (Davie Allan & The Arrows Cover)
02. Satan (Theme From "Satan's Sadists")
03. Let Yourself Go (Elvis Presley Cover)
04. N.I.B. (Black Sabbath Cover)
05. Lord Of The Thighs (Aerosmith Cover)
06. Action Woman (The Litter Cover)
07. Rough Boy (ZZ Top Cover)
08. With A Girl Like You (The Troggs Cover)
09. Find Somebody (The Rascals Cover)
10. Crying In The Rain (The Everly Brothers Cover)


After years of waiting, we finally get a covers album by the iconic barutonos crooner, Glenn Danzig. Some chosen artists and/or songs may be obvious, some omissions may be puzzling, but the resulting selections are fantastic and the overall presentation is on the altar of greatness.

The album cover alone is wicked fierce...I mean come on, Danzig bare chested and in skeleton makeup? This is already a classic album cover and a mail away poster for your bedroom wall.

These particular cover songs are interpreted through the mind of a pioneer who was instrumental in pouring the foundation for esoteric music that proved to be alluring to all of us oddballs.

On this release, Glenn pays homage to his origins, the underlying skeleton, the bones or architecture of the core of his make up. There is something in this memoir that is recognizable from each era of the Danzig diary; the horror punk, the dark harvester, the metal god. There are different overtones and productions values that all lead to the special feeling this backstory gives you. It is historically and holistically Glenn Danzig, from start to finish. I think Glenn succeeds in offering his distinct and unique portrayal of these originals, which in turn exudes respect to the original artist. Danzig makes each song his own through his specific style and triumphs in gathering an extraordinary collection of music by way of his past.

It is an honor to receive this invitation to bear witness to the very art that unleashed his creative energy and that stirred the artistic juices of a grim genius. The majority are probably the songs he played on his bedroom turntable, the melodies he hummed down the hallways in high school, the tunes that he processed through his creative mind and coated with his black magic touch.

Do yourself a favor and follow the macabre maestro through the cobwebs into his closet, past the old skulls, through the labyrinth of vintage library books, well into where he keeps his old record collection and take a glimpse at his archival, jaguar-jungle like roots. This album is a glimpse into the beginning, the autumnal equinox of a patriarch about to gather a modern October family. It's a resonating album that is sure to create a stir inside everybody, whether a rekindling or a reaction.

The biggest thing I learned from growing up listening to Glenn Danzig was that it is essential to be your self and love yourself for it. I'm a creep and I love my creepy self. This is the soundtrack that started the soundtracks to many of our lives. Enjoy it. Now to the tunes…

Devil’s Angels (Dave Allan & The Arrows) - This is a song from a 60's biker film. It sounds like a vintage punk 7" inch. I need to travel to the local hardware store for some drywall because I punched so many holes in my wall listening to this tune. There was one-man war in my hallway with disastrous results…rebuild on the credit card…what a bargain. This is why you fell in love with horror punk power.

Satan (from Satan’s Sadists -The Nightriders) - This is a slow groove rendition of an old outlaw song about motorcycle gangs, switchblades, dune buggies, diners, death, romance and sunsets. Get on your hog, do a burnout and cruise until your taillight fades into the distance.

Let Yourself Go (Elvis Presley) - There is no surprise that this is a great song. Elvis and Glenn both have an iconic voice and gift in talent. Glenn puts a more sinister spin and nasty feel to this classic single. Less swing, more sting and less red coat, more leather jacket.

N.I.B. (Black Sabbath) - This delivery is powerful in its minimalism and its squealing distortion. The solo rocks and the tower bells are a magnificent touch.

Lord Of The Thighs (Aerosmith) - This is a "Danzig-ized" transformation of a classic rock song. Glenn’s voice is incredibly stunning here.

Action Woman (The Litter) - Danzig takes a can of gasoline and an igniter to this original and creates a fiery performance in this energetic number.

Rough Boy (ZZ Top) - Glenn is dangerous here. He orchestrates the overhaul of a newer sounding leisure song by using his patented antique process, resulting in the perfect vintage ballad.

With a Girl Like You (The Troggs) - This is an enthusiastic execution of a teenage fireworks infatuation sing along song.

Find Somebody (The Young Rascals) - This song sounds like a gang of greasy long haired goons and black leather-jacketed hoodlums from the seedy pool hall located in the deteriorated section of the neighborhood, took a break from breaking each other’s faces, got a band together and recorded this downright ditty in an abandoned building left in the wake of a culture shock, being fuelled only with spoiled chocolate malts, bruised banana splits and the broken jukebox dreams of angry adolescent youth. Step up to the counter and take a spin on the stool.

Crying In The Rain (The Everly Brothers) – It is prom night. All evening the popular guy is dancing with the girl you've had a crush on since the first grade. Now, it's time for the last song and he's got his head submerged in the spiked punch bowl. Now is your chance. You ask your beloved darling for the last slow dance, she agrees, and you both sway and enjoy what could never be, because once the song is over, you go your separate ways. She will eventually realize the pain she feels is the regret you have known all your life. This is reality punctuated in tears. Glenn provides the only prom song that makes any sense and it comes with the hurt from the bleeding heart of a horror punk misfit. Chills.

My lady is begging me to put a shirt on at the dinner table. She is also asking me to take the skull make up off because it scares the kids. I guess her putting on similar make up and leaning on my shoulder to watch TV re-runs of “The Munsters” is a long shot...I'll ask her again, maybe at Halloween.

We are not alone…just out numbered. Don’t be sad and tiptoe, for we are real and we are grandfather strong. We wear our pain, tattooed in black, white and crimson. This is our music my fellow creeps and tonight is our dance of death.

Words by Nick Palmisano

Thanks to Pam at 5B for the promo. Skeletons is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl now on Nuclear Blast Records.