Sunday, January 20, 2008


Around the time the first, self-entitled Danzig album was released in 1988, I was a sophomore in high-school. I'd been hanging out with a bunch of older guys that really gave me my introduction to the type of music that would help to shape my belief system and give me an iron streak of independence.

When I first listened to Danzig on that old cassette tape, I was a bit wary. Certainly, the sexy harmonics combined with the southern crunch drew me in, and I knew from minute one that Glen Danzig's voice was cooler than cool, but it was the subject matter that I was a little hung up on. Brought up on a steady diet of moderate, yet God Fearing Methodist Christianity, songs like "Twist of Cain" and "Possession" held me a bit at bay, and yet, the more I listened to it, the more I realized that the music wasn't as much about Satanism as it was about hypocrisy, inner strength, and power of a personal sort.

Soon, I'd attended a few Danzig shows at the legendary First Ave. in Minneapolis, and I was thoroughly hooked. Danzig became a staple of my music library, and it didn't stop there. Through Danzig, I discovered The Misfits, (yes, I heard one before the other, I'm a pup - leave it alone) and Samhain.

I continued listening to and loving Danzig through his orchestral release, "Black Aria" - it was after this release that Glen lost me a bit. To be fair, by that point I was on to other things in my life, and perhaps the Blacker than Black music didn't speak to me as much as it used to, but at some point Danzig switched to a Nine Inch Nails, industrial sort of thing that I wasn't ready for. I'm sure that Glen was trying to spread his vampyric wings, both to stay current and to stay fresh, but I couldn't stay with it.

Fast forward to the end of 2007, almost 18 years after the initial Danzig release...

"The Lost Tracks of Danzig" is a remastering of 26 tracks that didn't quite make it on earlier Danzig albums for a variety of reasons. Usually when an artist puts out something like this, it means that they've exhausted their creativity and are looking for an easy way to get something else on the shelves. Thankfully, that's not the case with this project. There are several tunes on this album that not only rival, but in some cases top the tracks from the albums they might have been on. There are songs here that hearken back to those laid back harmonics, driving drums, killer crunch, and baritone growls that made tunes like "Am I Demon", "Her Black Wings", and "Long Way Back From Hell" such classics.

Some of the highlights for me on this collection include:

"Pain is Like an Animal" opens the project, and all of a sudden I'm fifteen again, listening to why I was drawn to Danzig so hard in the first place.

Glen's ability to measure out multiple tempos through a single overarching melody really shines through on "You Should be Dying". Lots of great guitar work in this one.

The note progression of "Satan's Crucifiction" reminds me of a slowed-down Misfits mentality. The over the top lyrics and killer 'down punched' chorus rhythm make the tune.

"The Mandrake's Cry" is one of my favorites on the album. Just a great rhythm and awesome lyrics.

"Come to Silver" is a stripped down 'man and his guitar' tune originally written for Cash. Unfortunately, the original Man in Black never got a chance to record it, but Glen does a great job with it here.

One of the tracks that was probably written later in Danzig's development, assumed by the lighter layering of the guitar and the nu-metal distortion, and yet completely and totally saved by Glen's vocals is "I Know Your Lie" - love it.

"Caught in my Eye" is one of the cover tunes on the collection. Originally a Germs tune, this cover works great, with a rattling guitar hiss at the ends of each of the major lick.

"Cat People" is David Bowie meets Glen Danzig... and it's fantastic. The all-encompassing opening gives over to an uber-metal finish.

"Soul Eater" is hands down the best tune on the collection, and possibly my favorite Danzig tune to date. I need, need, need, need to see this song live.

The above tracks are the ones that have really spoken to me after only a few listens to "The Lost Tracks of Danzig", but the collection as a whole is real treat to any fan of Danzig or straight up heavy rock.

Rated: 4.5 out of 5

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