Black Laden Crown
5/25/2017 - Review by: Eric Compton
Years later and the iconic singer is still plagued by horrible guitar
It's been seven years since Danzig wrote, recorded, and released new material. Aside from the covers album 'Skeletons' in 2015, the last studio effort of originals was 2010's 'Deth Red Sabaoth'. Fans and critics alike were both anxious to hear 'Black Laden Crown', an album that took three years to make and required the use of four drummers over the course of its creation. It also marks Danzig's debut for new label AFM Records.
So, the ultimate question is this--Is it really worth the wait?
Maybe for some. Personally, I felt 'Deth Red Sabaoth' suffered from horrendous pinch harmonics that distracted from crafty songs. It was an album that finally harkened back to the glory days of Danzig I-IV, yet was completely unlistenable due to Tommy Victor's playing style. I had high hopes that 'BLC' wouldn't suffer the same fate. I was dead wrong.
The opening title track has some of the worst guitar tones I've ever heard on record. That is saying a lot considering I've been actively listening for decades. The squeal of the strings at the 1:24 mark absolutely just guts my inner ears. This isn't hyperbole. I had to remove my ear buds and stretch my jaw muscles. It is painful to hear that high treble squeal, complicated by the bar stool view production standards. This is extraordinary really...three years to make the album and no one stops to question why the guitar tone is abysmally bad? How is this even possible?
If one can somehow tolerate the nails on the chalkboard then 'BLC' is actually quite good. The title cut has a funeral procession of doom, slowed to a crawl with Glenn's black priest lyrics and icy tone. While "Eyes Ripping Fire" is the most elementary guitar lick, it's mid-paced chunky groove is addictive. "Devil on Highway 9" suffers the fate of pinch harmonics throughout but overall is a solid trucker cut that fits baby-boomer Danzig. "The Witching Hour" is one of my favorites of the record, sort of a "How the Gods Kill" aura around a slower beat and heavy distortion. Lyrically, the whole album is chilly--"I'm the devil waiting for a stopped pulse".
I wish the devil would have brought a better sound with him.
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