Glenn Danzig is a name that permeates, infects, and ultimately makes strong, the very soul of hard rock in the '90s. Through the legendary punk charge of his pre-Danzig outfits Misfits and Samhain, Danzig formed the backbone of today's mosh movement. Into the deep waves of the Danzig catalogue, and you've got a band that has created high-tension hybrids that are still being pondered and quietly adopted throughout today's metal community. Over eight million records sold, and Danzig is about to unleash a multi-media onslaught that will once again find disciples studying the master.
But first a little history.Danzig's early works took full advantage of what was initially a vital and productive working relationship ith Rick Rubin, resulting in a self-titled 1988 debut and a follow-up in '90 called Lucifuge that together enveloped the man's interest in punk,doom,gothic new wave and an intense California twist on black Satanic metal,culminating in a display of shockingly dark hard rock that sent chills the likes of which today's Norwegian churchburners could never know.
Danzig III: How The Gods Kill dropped in'92, rewriting the books on Sabbatherian doom metal; super charging the genre with molten guitar god riffs, foreboding but poetic lyrics,and above the fray, THAT VOICE. Glenn is a sonorious tenor blessed with the abilityto caress and terrorize all within a few short breaths.As the luck of the draw would have it, Danzig next found himself with an odd, unplanned Hit on his hands; a live version of the debut album's 'Mother' introducing the mainstream to this buffed-up, 'black leather powerhouse'. 1993's Thralldemonsweatlive EP went on to platinum status (following a similarly exalted fate for the debut),and Danzig's commercial legacy was ensured.
Never one to be complacent,Glenn rewired the band's sound into a frosty but intimate affair paradoxically rife with studio wizardry.Danzig 4P hit in '94,Glenn once more confounding the world with a record that would be a critically acclaimed masterpiece,casual but crafted,sinewy and insidious.
As relations with Danzig's label Def American broke down, so did Danzig's relationship with his band.Glenn found himself seeking fresh personnel and a fresh perspective, creating the darkwave industrial rhythms of Danzig 5: Blackacidevil, a record which, once again, was to re-engineer the cutting edge of hard rock in Danzig's imposing,muscle-strapped image.
But harsh circumstances have brewed, distilled, and unleashed a blistering counter punch by the name of Danzig 6:66 Satans Child, a record that is a visceral and aggressive statement of black intent,unafraid to clutch and grab from today's technologies, but more in tune with the frightening power of a well-juiced guitar.
Danzig 6 features essentially the same line-up as its predecessor, but there are a number of fresh pioneers associated with the project. Glenn's co-producer is Peter Lorimer, a remix king who has worked with the likes of Bowie, while engineer Josh Abraham has collaborated with Orgy, Coal Chamber and Korn. And speaking of Orgy, J. Gordon and Amir Derakh have stuck their hands into the pot and mixed fully seven of the record's twelve tracks. What the team has come upwirth is an inspiring and often trance-like Heavy Metal churn that understands the present and predicts the future, a record that re-writes the darkness of doom in the image of millennial technologies.
"Danzig 6 will have no problem living up to the hype, as well as the hyperspeeds at which that hype will spread through the net. One listen will confirm the often Sabbath- like authority of the record, coupled with a portfolio of unique Glenn Danzig voicings that astonish in their range, hue and suggestive malevolence. 'Five Finger Crawl' is a perfect example of Glenn's multiple deliveries within one song, Glenn whispering to a soundtrack of military metal countered with silken melody come chorus time. 'Cold Eternal' is a personal favorite of Glenn's, a song which he simply describes as "really, really sad." A treasure reveals itself within the closing track, '13', on which Glenn captures the classic but only occasional Danzig blues vibe, something that wraps Dylan's 'Ballad Of Hollis Brown', Robert Johnson's deal with the devil, not to mention Elvis and Johnny Cash in a dark blanket of woeful dirge rock that could only come from one band. Elsewhere, it's power chords a' plenty, fraught with drama, supported on a bed of subtle electronics, frighteningly doom-laden but infused with hook and groove
It's unlike any Danzig record you've heard. Not like any two from the catalogue have much in common. Unsurprising, says Glenn. "It comes back to something that I've always said. I don't like doing the same record over and over again. It's like, if I'm not going to do something different, I won't even do a rock record, I'll just do something else, you know; Like my comic book company, or a classical project. But I think the unifying thread is that basic punk rock attitude. I think it shines through on all of them, yes."
If Danzig 6:66 marks a majestic rebirth of the Danzig sound, this synthesis of the man's evil guitar rock and his selective pillaging of industrial conventions, it is a record that is only the beginning of a remarkable two year plan within the Danzig camp. Expect to see a Samhain box set, followed by individual reissues of the records, reissues of the entire Danzig catalogue, plus no less than three new projects cradling the millennium: the second installment of Black Aria, a massive Danzig b-sides collection, and finally a double live album, culled from years spent headlining stages in front of mod hotshots like Korn, Soundgarden, Type O Negative and Marilyn Manson.
It is a sinister time in the tired life of one world ending, and it unmistakably a time for the destructive and redemptive powers of the next century's man in black. Heed the warning: Danzig 6:66 Satan's Child is only the scabbard tip of what we can expect from Danzig throughout the birthing of a new rebel century. It is however, Danzig's soul crusher of a calling card, his coal-fired ebony heart made metal, the siren song soundtrack of two age in collision. Confront it now and feel your lifeblood drain and subsequently replenish truer than ever.
xxxxx -Martin Popoff