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Black Laden Crown
Release Date: May 26, 2017
If you don’t know who Danzig is, then I’m not going to explain it to you. It’s too late for you.
So, Danzig’s most recent outing, Skeletons, was a wild ride. Loathed by most, I kinda liked the garage recordings and felt that the feel of it coincided perfectly with the Misfits shows. Although I dug it for the most part, the lingering question most certainly was “Will the album of new material sound like this?” The answer is no…and yes.
Black Laden Crown, Danzig’s first album of new compositions since 2010, is an odd bird even within the storied Danzig catalog. The production hit me right off the bat as not up to par with where we left off prior to Skeletons. It’s not as garage-y sounding as Skeletons but it’s also not as thick as the original trilogy of albums. The production is a bit fuller sounding but it still sounds like demos in my opinion. I would also note that this album sounds better in headphones than it does pumping out of your stereo at full volume.
As far as the songs go, this is my favorite Danzig album in a very long time. This is a great batch of songs and they are very memorable. While the doomy and long-winded title track leads you in, it’s the trilogy that follows that really sold me. “Eyes Ripping Fire,” Devil on Hwy 9,” and “Last Ride” are three of the best songs Danzig has written since the debut. “Last Ride” in particular is muscular with a great riff that energizes the vocal roar, making it that much more ferocious. All three songs are full of the groove and power and masculinity that made this era of Danzig’s career his most successful.
“Blackness Falls” and the title track display more of Danzig’s dark crooner elements. While both are powerful tunes that plod along with doomy guitars and explosive, spastic soloing (more so on “Blackness Falls”), Danzig just sort of croons across them lending them a darker, almost goth feel. “Pull the Sun” has the crooner elements as well but it’s much more up-tempo, combining both elements well and taking the album out on a high note.
It’s always hard to review a Danzig album. With such a varied musical history, it seems that everyone hopes for something from their favorite era. If this sounded thicker it could easily have been Danzig 4. Although the songs take a few spins to absorb, they are a great batch of songs despite the production. I feel like this is similar in many ways to Circle of Snakes, an album that I love, in that it’ll be remembered for its production and Danzig’s strained voice rather than the songs.
Reviewed by mark1340