Danzig - Black Laden Crown

Danzig - Black Laden Crown

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(CD/LP, Evilive / Nuclear Blast / Afm Records, 2017)

For reasons that escape me, Danzig has been the receiver of bad and often harsh criticism for almost everything. To my old school thinking, Glenn is being just Glenn and keeps the legend alive without sacrificing the true connection he has with the die-hard fans. So, DANZIG is back with a full length album, almost seven years after the awesome "Deth Red Sabaoth". Ok, the covers album he did a couple of years ago was not up to par with what DANZIG has been releasing, but at the same time, this was not a proper studio effort like "Black Laden Crown" is, and this is stated in the loudest possible way with the album opener...

Contrary to all the LP cliches, the first and title-track is a slow one and, driven by a SABBATH-esque riff, enters the DANZIG realm via Glenn trademark vocals, and you'll get shivers down your spine while listening to these lines: "I will lay you down, on a black laden crown". If this does not make your clock tick, then you are checking the wrong album / band. However, if this is your first encounter with DANZIG, then know that you are up for quite a trip. The lead guitar work is absolutely fantastic and the way it enters the faster bpms will definitely wake some "How The Gods Kill" memories up and obviously, I am referring to those artificial harmonics. In case you are waiting to hear something negative for the production, then you'll be disappointed because the album holds the same sound profile DANZIG is known for. Meaning that there is no super compressed production and, in fact, the old-school sound is written all over the place with bold letters. Check how the drums are pounding their way in the groovy "Devil On Hwy 9" and get more goosebumps with the "Pedal to the Metal on a thousand miles over the blackest road you can find" lines sung by this unique voice. I will admit that this song got stuck after watching the band nailing it down live and its heaviness came crushing enhanced by the visual aspect with Glenn using the mic cable as a whip. The almost Bluesy "Last Ride" (is there a New Orleans vibe there? Oh yes, there is) is perfect for a night drive (riding your cruiser down the longest and darkest road), even if it is about the end of the world. Brace yourself as the guitars take one step forward on the mix and be sure to listen at the maximum possible volume (the main riff is crushing).

The "Sistinas"-type "The Witching Hour" is another DANZIG gem with that slow and tormenting groove which - I think - is impossible to copy and let alone recreating (good luck with that). This sound is unique and absolutely representative of how this band has paved its way all these years. Again, the mix with the way the guitar solo sneaks up on you (like it's creeping from the darkest corner to come and get you) feels like it locks you inside the DANZIG dungeon and throwing away the key... If you think about it, there are not many bands out there that can sound this heavy at this slow bpms with the Doom Metal acts included. One (more) thing every DANZIG fan acknowledges is how this music/lyrics sound evil without stepping on Black Metal territories (not even close), and there are many bands of that genre that would blush out of shame when claiming to be that badass.

DANZIG continues to be the special band I was introduced to some decades ago when MTV made the trip across the pond. The Punk attitude, the passion in the singing and the hard hitting grooves are still here, but be careful, 'cause this is not a nostalgia album but another proud release added to this genre-shaping back catalogue. The only question that begs for a affirmative answer is whether Glenn will take this album on the road and, honestly, I would be happy if he would announce a second 'Blackest Of The Black' edition for next year. After all, songs like "Blackness Falls" and "Pull The Sun" need to get the live treatment, right?

PS: It sounds to me that Glenn recorded those amazing vocal melodies in "Pull The Sun" holding the mic just like he would do onstage without being inside a fancy recording booth.





01. Black Laden Crown
02. Eyes Ripping Fire
03. Devil On Hwy 9
04. Last Ride
05. The Witching Hour
06. But A Nightmare
07. Skulls & Daisies
08. Blackness Falls
09. Pull The Sun


Glenn Danzig - Vocals
Tommy Victor - Guitar
Johnny Kelly - Drums
Steve Zing - Bass