Death Metal. Crucifixes, sacrificial altars, stained and shattered glass. Calls for murder, massacre, all-around mayhem, and, in shallower interpretations, suicide, either alone or with your friends. Blood (always blood), sex (ritual evildoings), and fears (of nothing and everything). Oh, and let's not forget the Devil, ol' Beelzebub himself, basking in an enviable ring of fire. These are some of the things that make up the trappings of that charming subgenre, Death Metal, and you're darn right you better capitalize its unholy name, pal.
Danzig, for those who pay attention to such bulletins, are often thrown into the caldron called Death Metal. The problem is that those doing the throwing are not the headbangers who prefer to walk on the darker side, but rather the culture cops who, with their morals and dogma, would (if they could) regulate the world of ideas. And that's too bad. Because Danzig, despite the affectations, are much more than mere merchants of Death Metal. They are, plainly and simply, a monstrous band. In short, Danzig rocks. Hard. And maybe it's time they be recognized for that.
Danzig rocks harder than your average set of power-chord brokers, and they're smarter than your average band to boot. Sure they're possessed, and louder than even the almightiest of thunders. But Danzig also manage to lace themselves with a lethal dose of sincerity, a feat far too uncommon in an arena dominated by hair spray. Their menace is real. In other words, they say what they mean, and they say it mean.
Born from the ashes of thrashmongers Samhain and that band's predecessor, those legendary hyperpunks the Misfits, Danzig are a mosher's dream (or nightmare, really) band. Little surprise considering the pedigree -- ringleader/high priest Glen Danzig is your perennial hard-core do-it-yourself overachiever and has the legions of die-hard fans to prove it; bassist Eerie Von joined Danzig's inner circle in the notorious mid-Eighties Samhain days; drummer Chuck Biscuits traces his twisted roots to D.O.A., Black Flag, and Circle Jerks; axman John Christ is a new-breed type of guitar god, schooled in the classics and worshipped by suburban teens the world over.
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While Black Sabbath comparisons would be obvious (Danzig opened for the influential crunchers on last summer's tour, and expropriated lovingly the classic "Children of the Grave" on their latest long player), Danzig decidedly are not a tribute act. For one thing, Glen Danzig is too enigmatic, maybe even spooky, to be dragged down to that level. Outcries from the easily outraged have never even fazed him or his group, and as far as can be discerned, they've never followed any other path than their own crooked one.
And as said above, they don't fit handily into the corpse box, nor, for that matter, should they be carelessly tagged grunge, as are so many bands these days. Danzig are more akin to Metallica than Deicide or Slayer, and more spiritually connected to Alice Cooper than to Alice in Chains. Picture Ted Nugent had he done time in New York's protopunk East Village; the Doors during a monsoon; early Aerosmith on a Devil Dog high; and Roy Orbison, replete with tremolo, broadcasting from the grave, and you kinda get the idea. Supersonic fun for the whole family -- the Addams Family.
Danzig's latest aural assault (Danzig III, if you will) is entitled, How the Gods Kill, and it's their crunchiest, chunkiest, most sophisticated to date. (And if you've read this far, it probably belongs in your collection.) Brought to you by metal guru Rick Rubin's cachet-creating Def American label, and slipped into a package illustrated by Alien creature creator H.R. Giger, it'll most likely be the record that puts Danzig over the top. It's a disturbingly evocative slab of beefy music, cooked up by a gang of expert chefs. The kind of release that will not only sate the converted, but will convert those looking to be sated as well. That is, if raw meat is your idea of a well-balanced meal.
DANZIG perform with Kyuss at 9:00 p.m. Tuesday at the Edge, 200 W Broward Blvd., Ft Lauderdale, 525-9333. Tickets cost $15.