Sound: It's pretty hard to believe that Glenn Danzig, the man behind bands like The Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig, has been making records for 30 years now. While his music hasn't ever really translated over to mainstream society or radio airplay, the body of work he's produced is fairly amazing. The latest release The Lost Tracks Of Danzig is a 2-disc CD set from his current band Danzig and takes a look back at some of the songs that didn't quite make the cut of his studio albums. Most of the songs do keep to the same unholy, yet sexy sound that Danzig made famous, but there are a few very cool surprises among the bunch.
The reasons why the tracks didn't originally get the green light are covered in the liner notes, and that's actually one of the fascinating aspects about the collection. Angel Of The 7th Dawn and You Should Be Dying are fantastic bluesy numbers that are fairly standard for Danzig, and actually would have been fitting additions to Danzig II: Lucifuge. According to the notes, producer Rick Rubin thought the time change in You Should Be Dying was weird. It's actually a very subtle time change at the beginning and end, adding a bit more depth to the song. Considering most bands just from time change to time change, it's wild to think something like that would have caused a song to be put on the backburner.
One of the biggest standout tracks has apparently been one of the most requested, despite it never being officially released on a studio record. While Glenn Danzig usually has a Jim Morrison sound about him, in Cold, Cold Rain he sounds eerily like Elvis Presley singing a gospel song. The track is a full-out, sweet-sounding ballad that didn't fit in with the batch of songs the band was recording at the time. In this case, it is a huge leap away from the usual Danzig faire, but that's what makes this song one of the most worthwhile listens.
The quality of the recording gets much better on the 2nd CD, and it's obviously because of the improved recording quality as time passed. But besides that fact, the songwriting takes a few different turns on the later recordings, with more elaborate guitar work and use of vocal doubling effects. A few tracks to check out are Crawl Across Your Killing Floor, Malefical, and the low-key groove of Dying Seraph. // 8
Lyrics: Danzig's lyrics have always been, shall we say, focused on the darker side of life, and the titles leave little to the imagination. But just when you have the band pegged, they start to sing with introspective honesty that has little to do with Lucifer, eating souls, or evil beats in general.
For the most part, you will get songs like Deep, which represent the bulk of the material, complete with heavy talk about sin and spirit. Danzig sings, God and life; They don't come free; Crown of thorns; Strung through their teeth. While some might think these lyrics are a tad melodramatic, fans shouldn't flinch in the slightest and Danzig does usually use enough imagery to keep things interesting. // 8
Overall Impression: If you didn't like Danzig in the past, The Lost Tracks Of Danzig won't change your opinion most likely. It's full of the band's classic evil blues sound, and doesn't really veer off that path. However, fans should still find several tracks on the 2 CDs that are as strong as classics like Devil's Plaything. Between the chugging, down-tuned guitar and the smooth delivery from Glenn Danzig, there is plenty to satisfy anyone who has been a fan of the band.
While not all of the tracks could be instant classics, there are a few that should get their fair share of attention. Satans Crucifiction (note: this was the spelling on the early CD version and the promotion material) has an excellent guitar line throughout and is a bit reminiscent of Twist Of Cain. The band also performs a solid, infectious cover of T. Rex's Buick Mckane worth checking out on the first CD. Glenn Danzig has been in the business a long time - even writing material for Johnny Cash. In fact, a song he wrote for Cash (Come To Silver) is performed acoustically on this latest release and proves Danzig has a lot more to offer than songs about the dark side. // 8