Review Summary: 40 year old Danzig is almost as proficient as 30 year old Danzig. HAIL SATAN!!!
Recently Evil Elvis aka Glenn Danzig received a shot of mainstream exposure with their track Thirteen appearing in the opening credits of blockbuster smash hit The Hangover. As amazing as the movie was, my favorite part of the film was undoubtedly Danzig’s song Thirteen which was originally written for Johnny Cash and later remixed by the great outlaw himself. Nonetheless I feel obligated to bring out the classic record that held this gem of a tune. 6.6.6 Satan’s Child, Danzig’s 6th full length is a stronger album then it might initially appear. After I, II, and III, Danzig supposedly lost his way after experimenting with industrial metal. I have to concur though. The transitioning from blues influenced hard rock to Ministry styled agrgo metal was successfully completed.
Outside of Glenn himself, the rest of the lineup has been completely revamped. No one from the classic 1987-1994 era remains. Eerie Von has been replaced by Josh Lazie. John Christ was succeeded by Jeff Chambers and Chuck Biscuits was upped by Joey Castillo ( Queens Of The Stone Age, Eagles Of Death Metal). The fact that Danzig lost not only it’s most talented lineup but it’s highly successful Black Sabbath-ian personality as well. One could say that the band had seen better days and were poised to spend the rest of their time in mediocrity. Surprisingly, despite enduring old age and a major identity crisis Danzig steps up to the plate and delivers a platter of balls out metal anthems perfectly executed to accommodate bar room brawls, dumping bodies in the desert, and overall just walking down the left hand path.
During the recording of Satan’s Child Glenn Danzig was 44 years old. So it’s obvious that his best days are behind him. However, he still displays most of the power and command of his late 20’s. One thing is obvious to me as I listen to the album. His voice is more breathy and lacking some of his trademark bite while the sometimes muddy production projects a ghostly wail. Nonetheless he’s still capable of rousing the audience with infectious choruses “Belly Of The Beast”, “Cold Eternal”, and “Cult Without A Name”. At the same time reminding the listener why his name is Evil Elvis. Spouting out the typical satanic, dark, and campy lyrics in an Elvis Presley influenced croon Glenn embraced his age while retaining his trademark imagery. Still, as evidenced by “Into The Mouth Of Abandonment” and “Satan’s Child” Glenn has plenty of inspiration left in the tank.
Besides Glenn’s obvious decline of a premier vocalist the biggest change in the bands music is the guitar work. No longer possessing a 70’s edge, Jeff Chambers modernizes Danzig’s sound from a hard rocking group of misfits (no pun intended) to a crushing metal assault courtesy of pounding riffage and industrialized beats. “Cult Without A Name” and specifically Belly Of The Beast’ are the heaviest and most menacing songs that I’ve heard from Danzig. Featuring crunchy riff patterns and driving rhythms, Jeff and Glenn himself form a formidable duo. “The doom metal influence on Unspoken” is also a plus for the album. Furthermore, Danzig have successfully shifted from rock to metal.
The current rhythm section has also been improved on as the drumming and bass playing has been upped a notch. Famous for his work in QOTSA and TEODM, Joey Castillo provides an energetic pace throughout the 12 track album alternating between rapid fills and sweeping snare hits to complement the thumping bass drum. Josh Lazie’s bass tone perfectly slides with the guitars and the drums providing a heavy tone while remaining relevant. All I really ask for one of thse kind of records.
This album is flawed though. Like I mentioned before, the muddy production and ghastly wailing get a bit irritating as the track “East Indian Devil” perfectly demonstrates. Also, the consistency factor on Satan’s Child isn’t as strong as I, II, and II. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of solid tracks on here but hidden amongst the gems are a few clunkers. Also, vocally Glenn has regressed a bit, obviously with age but remains driven and grounded to breed some creative new jams for the metal loving masses. Although not a perfect record, 6.6.6 Satan’s Child is a welcome installment to Glenn Danzig’s colorful history. Black metal in the truest definition of the term, fans of classic metal or modern metal with a dark polish that haven’t already heard of Danzig need to acquire this pronto. Newbie’s I recommend to start off with I, II, and III. Hail Satan.