Is it a hit, *hit or miss?
– Circle of Snakes
by Zane Ewton
– Circle of Snakes
Hit, *hit or
Glenn Danzig is closing in on 30 years
of rock and roll. 30 years of cranky, uncompromising, darker side
of life music. He has been the central figure of three influential
bands. Co-founder of the Misfits, the band pioneered hardcore punk
and have become a seminal band of the genre, despite only 6 years and a
few albums. The heavy metal band Samhain quickly followed and in
just another few years became a noted outfit.
After the demise of Samhain, Danzig created
his longest lasting project with the band that he named after himself.
Danzig, the band, started as a heavy blues-based group with simple and
brooding songs. Best known for the hit “Mother”, Glenn took his band
in a different direction experimenting with gothic moods and textures.
These later albums have been out-of-step with the current mainstream, but
that has never mattered. Danzig continued through the 1990’s and
into the 2000’s doing exactly what he wanted to do.
After the (now false) statement that a
touring Danzig will be no more, the band has released Circle of Snakes.
A continuation of the return to form that I Luciferi enacted.
Circle of Snakes is a heavy record. Everything you would want
out of this band is here. Great guitar work, throbbing bass and driving
drums build the foundation for Glenn to do his dastardly deeds.
“Wotans Procession” begins the proceedings
as a marching instrumental that fades to black, followed by a Tommy Victor
riff crushing into “Skincarver”. The title track falls into a very
familiar Danzig sound, but it is also the most pleasing with a big, chest-beating
chorus and memorable riff.
“1000 Devils Reign” falls in line with
the title track but “Skull Forest” is a slower, creepier song that builds
to a climactic end. “Hellmask” is a faster, hardcore track that would
have fit on any Misfits album. “When We Were Dead” is a brooding
number that doesn’t hold interest as long as the other tracks. The
lower half of the album is the weaker half, songs like “Night, BeSodom”
and “My Darkness” are decent enough, but don’t measure up to the standout
tracks. The finale comes with the epic “Black Angel, White Angel”.
From start to finish, Circle of Snakes,
is full of ups and downs, darks and lights, but proves to be a completely
satisfying album. It is a shame that the end of Danzig, the band,
may be near. If so, Circle of Snakes would be a fitting end
to a band who has released some great music. If not, it is exciting
to see that they could get even better.
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