Saturday, June 2, 2012

Danzig- Danzig III: How the Gods Kill (1992): (82%)

My dad got this album when it first came out. Whenever I came across it in the huge  collection he had, it was fear at first sight. The cover alone was creepy enough, and when I unfolded the artwork, I felt what it was truly like to feel your skin crawl. Mind you, I’m about 3 or 4 when this happened. Listening to it was no happy-time wonderland little feeble minds like me are used to having in preschool. The opening track (“Godless”) always got me. The roaring of John Christ’s acid-eating guitar work in the doom section never failed to make me feel like I was being swallowed and pounded into a world of crushing darkness. The metallic strikes in with that doom chord made me feel fear, as opposed to listening to the preaching of Barney. I never was able to get past the opening track before I’d beg him to switch it to something else.

Then I became an adolescent who had removed a lot of his fear of some of the metal cds my dad owned. Slayer’s South of Heaven and Season in the Abyss made me cry in fear along with Danzig’s album. But at 16, I had no fear of them anymore, and needed cash, so with my dad’s consent, we picked out which cds we could sell. How the Gods Kill was, regrettably, one of them. We sold it at a local cd shop. With the box of cds we had, we got 70 dollars in cash. It seemed like a fortune to me back then. To this day I regret selling them.

Here’s another childhood story (but briefer, I promise): Around the time Danzig scared the crap out of me, my musical guides were Beavis & Butthead. If I knew something sucked, they confirmed it. I still like them, and thanks to the availability of a friend, I have 4 out of the 6 season of B&B. I was watching them recently, and Danzig’s title track was playing. Butthead said the slow part ‘sucked,’ but assured an erratically impatient Beavis that something cool was going to happen. Sure enough, it did. J.C. unleashed the kind of heavy metal riff most hardcore guitarists dream of writing. I decided to revisit that album and see if it was as good as I thought it was going to be.

I was absolutely right. To put it in a consumer’s perspective and use an analogy: say a band releases something new and exciting, and people fall over themselves trying to pick up as many of their albums as they can get. I did the same shortly after buying not only a new copy of the album, but a copy of Danzig 4P and Blackacidevil. I’ve played all the albums at work, and I must say, it’s rare when such a structurally cohesive and expansive album can keep me focused all the way through.

Out of the ten tracks, the one that is bound to appear in every Greatest Hits album Danzig may release, is the track right in the middle: “Dirty Black Summer.” Its groove metal riff made me want to know how J.C. wrote it. More importantly than this track is how every track contributes something note-worthy. However, as much as I like to praise the album, there are times where I can’t help but have this gut feeling of utilizing clich├ęs in tracks like, “Heart of the Devil.” It’s a good song, but it’s foundation is weak; the riff sounds too generic even for blues and the rhythm stutters slightly, but saves itself with a slower ballad like “Sistinas.” I’m going to nitpick not further. Make up for my mistake: don’t cast this album aside like I did. Become Godless.

Music: 9/10.
Meaning: 7/10.
Length: 8/10
Significance: 9/10.
Lyrics: 8/10
Overall Impression: 8/10. 

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