REVIEW: DANZIG – “Skeletons”
Glenn Danzig, apart from his unique vocal style and intimidating stage presence, is known for founding punk legends Misfits, Samhain and the eponymous Danzig. Almost a household name, the man was involved in several major releases by these artists, and now in 2015, his band Danzig is releasing a covers album titled ‘Skeletons’.
What do you get when someone as influential as Glenn Danzig decides to put out covers of songs that impacted his life and inspired him?
We are given a personal rendition of Danzig’s musical life, in a journey bound not by eras but by straightforward and honest performances of songs on which the man himself plays most of the instruments. Some of the more eye-catching artists covered include Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, ZZ Top and Elvis Presley.
“Devil’s Angels”, originally by Dave Allan & The Arrows, is the first song, unleashing an energetic punk vibe that one would expect carries all the way through the album. Interestingly, the next track “Satan’s Sadists” (taken from Paul Wibier’s performance of the same) turns things around with its ballad-like feel. The album carries on like this, with splashes of contrasting elements, making it a fun listen.
Elvis Presley’s “Let Yourself Go” lends its upbeat tempos to Danzig’s usually-nonchalant style of singing and moves the record along quickly to Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B”. At this point though, Danzig fails to up the “nuance quotient” that artists like Sabbath and Aerosmith thrived on, and this is something a lot of fans may feel. The heavy riffs fall short of achieving that subtle harmony, and instead, wall up the mix and don’t allow the nuances and variations to escape into the ears of the listener.
Tommy Victor’s guitar-playing and John Kelly’s drumming are technically on-point, but the tones are a cause for worry as they get all mushy trying to find a place behind Danzig’s large voice. Aerosmith’s “Lord of the Thighs” is meted out similar treatment, but the record picks up towards the end and finishes on an enthusiastic tone.
Being a covers album, ‘Skeletons’ succeeds in Danzig’s endeavor to add a personal touch to the songs he was inspired by, but it falls short in conquering the nuances that some of the songs entail. However, Glenn Danzig’s voice outshines everything else on the record, and in this regard, makes it seem like it was he who penned some of the legendary songs covered on the album.