REVIEW: Danzig – ‘Black Laden Crown’

Posted: June 6, 2017 by Jeffrey Maki in Reviews
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Review by Jeff Maki
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The past year has been a celebration of all things Glenn Danzig. Last September, the legendary horror punk band The Misfits—featuring bassist Jerry Only and guitarist Doyle, with help from guitarist Acey Slade and drummer Dave Lombardo—finally reunited live with Danzig on vocals for the first time in 33 years. 2017 also marks the 25th anniversary of the Danzig classic (and my favorite of his albums) Danzig III: How the Gods Kill, and a subsequent celebratory tour also was announced. Finally, Danzig recently hosted a two-day festival version of “Blackest of the Black” (formerly a tour) May 26 and 27 in Silverado, California, that featured Danzig headlining a lineup that featured Ministry, Suicidal Tendencies, Vamps, Marduk, Suicide Silence and many more. Got all that? Just as the past six months have celebrated the living legend, his 11th studio album, Black Laden Crown, makes the strongest attempt of a Danzig album in years to do the same.

If it wasn’t for a terribly flat and uneven production (Danzig self-produced the album), it would be more of a celebration. (I keep saying “celebration,” but is that the right word here? Maybe “Halloween party” would be more Danzig.)

Despite the terrible production, Black Laden Crown has some killer tracks. The opener and title track is awesome, as I don’t remember Danzig ever having a building, instrumental intro type of song like this before. “Devil on Hwy 9,” “Eyes Ripping Fire” and “Last Ride” all have the bluesy, dirty style and feel of Danzig albums I-IV (most reminiscent of III), while “Skulls & Daises” is a slow doom version of what could be a classic Misfits song, especially in the lyrics and Danzig’s delivery.

Prong’s Tommy Victor is once again on guitar, and he’s been playing with Glenn for a long time now (since 1996 and from 2008-present). On Black Laden Crown, this is the first time he’s tried to emulate the guitar sound and style of former guitarist John Christ. We all know it’s not Christ, but it gives the album the classic early ’90s feel. You’d never know it was Victor.

Danzig’s vocals are rough around the edges, but hey, he’s getting old, so overall, good job.

The point is, Glenn, at this stage in his career, isn’t obligated to release any new material, let alone a full album. His discography speaks for itself. But the fact that he does is a real treat, and I think we should recognize it as such. For all its flaws, Black Laden Crown is still Danzig, and there’s a trick-or-treat bag of devilish goodies here. So it’s fitting that this album is part of the celebration—I mean Halloween party—of all things Danzig.

(Nuclear Blast Records/Evilive, May 26, 2017)

Rating: 7.5/10

Jeff enjoys satanic death metal and may still be banned from Canada.

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