Danzig - "6:66 Satans Child" (Evilive)
By: Jay Rajiva
It’s been three years since the last Danzig album, blackacidevil, on
which Glenn Danzig violently shifted gears from his established
doom-metal cruise control into blaring industrial overdrive. Though the
effort was marginally successful, the sudden polymorph had a
collagen-injected feel to it, as if Glenn was trying too hard to show us
that—look!—he was still cutting edge, still on top of the metal
zeitgeist, still relevant.
So you can view the last three years as the missing link between
classical Danzig 4 and over-ambitious blackacidevil; at Danzig as a
wannabe anti-Christ who longs to fall from earth and meet his alter-ego
Lucifer on the other side; at his industrial makeover as the frantic
mal-a-l’aise of an aging has-been rocker; or simply at 6:66 Satan’s
Child as a record on its own terms. Any way you slice it, though, it’s
hard to ignore his musical vision and its continuing survival in a day
and age when the metal lords of yesteryear are being handily deposed by
their younger, hipper counterparts.
Think about it. It’s 1999. Your Limp Bizkits and your Korns sport the
designer clothes, scoop the vitality out of the art form, suck $$ from
the kiddies. Meanwhile, Anthrax reunites with Joey Belladonna...and no
one cares. Iron Maiden haven’t been more than an Iron Maiden cover band
since Fear Of The Dark. Metallica’s recent history needs no explanation.
It’s hard to make a good case for the old guard at the moment, and
goddamn it, someone has to help the kids figure out why they should skip
that Coal Chamber CD in favour of a dude who looks like a buff evil
Elvis, who threatens to shoot himself in the foot by giving his latest
album such an obvious, cartoonish and old-school-headbanger name.
Fortunately the answer supplies itself once you actually hear the CD, a
tightly-alloyed descent into the miasmic world below built on Glenn
Danzig’s post-industrial musings, evil-dead harmony and plenty of
aggression. Most numbers tend to fall in the mid-tempo range, shuffling
dead-eyed through corridors of quasi-Alice In Chains turbulence (“Lilin”
sounds like a smoother version of AiC’s “Rain When I Die”), gliding on
supple dance grooves, or just imploding—fiercely and unapologetically.
And like any good Alice In Chains album, the songs are smear-coated with
the same copper-and-chrome colours, compelling in their adherence to
theme, but a little draining to sit through. “Satan’s Child” sounds like
the second half of a song “Unspeakable” started, both playing off
droning, minor-key dirges with few chords and fewer changes in mood
except the expected clean verse-to-distorted-chorus dynamic—done to
death by everyone from Black Sabbath to Nirvana.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t work. Fact is, Danzig the band flex
the songwriting muscles here with a verve many younger acts should envy,
displaying a keen sense of when to rein in the bombast and when to cut
throat, quickly and efficiently. “Five Finger Crawl” is the
anti-sweetpop fix you’re been craving all year, and if Danzig’s vocals
don’t get recognizable or even coherent until “Cult Without A Name”,
it’s easy to pick out the hymns to Lord Satan by inflection alone. The
only flat-out failure on the platter is the last cut, “Thirteen”, an
overreaching stab at gothic blues that just doesn’t hit the mark,
despite the good intentions.
Ultimately, 6:66 Satan’s Child is well written and convincingly
delivered, echoing the cold-hearted nihilistic corrosion of Nine Inch
Nails and early Ministry but with a more blatantly demonic kick. It’s an
album that should be felt rather than heard, drawing the most blood when
the roiling, industrial grooves strike hard metal and pull you into the
vortex. Danzig has survived the steam-roller crush of the neo-metal
revolution and come off—surprisingly—still cutting edge, still on top of
the metal zeitgeist, still relevant. This time, though, he’s not trying
quite so hard to make you believe it. Maybe that’s why it works so well.
Reviewed by: Jay Rajiva