The Song Remains the Same: Led Zeppelin

Rating: 90%

Led_Zeppelin_-_The_Song_Remains_the_SameSo, when I was younger I owned the cassettes to this sound track. Now, I own the DVD movie, the original vinyl, and the 2007 remaster CD set with unreleased songs of this concert. I no longer have the cassettes, they were lost many years ago.

Now, I’ve heard from both sides about the content of this live performance. Many people say it’s not their best because of the fact that many of the songs are drawn out. Or, because of the stardom has taken the band over. On the other end, I heard those in favor of this album say it’s one of Zeppelin’s best performances. Either way, this album has pros and cons. Forget about the movie. The movie was OK, but that’s what bands did back then before MTV. They were entertainers first, and not movie directors. Even “Let There Be Rock” by AD/DC has it’s slow parts during the interviews that makes no sense of the actual concert.

What I like about this album is Jimmy Page’s guitar solos and his performance. Forget about the fact that Robert Plant can’t hold a single note on here or keep up with the music. What Jimmy Page showcases is talent that is undeniable. He plays based upon feeling and not by perfection. John Paul Jones on is a talented bassist. His bass is clearly heard all over this performance. Then, you have John Bonham the master of the skins. His performance too is outstanding. It’s amazing to hear how in tuned he, John P. Jones, and Jimmy Page are playing together. This performance is almost a solo album for each of the musicians in so many ways. The improve of each musician is something that most bands can’t do today.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Rock and Roll” 4:03
2. “Celebration Day” 3:49
3. “The Song Remains the Same” 6:00
4. “The Rain Song” 8:25
Side two
1. “Dazed and Confused” Page 26:53
Side three
1. “No Quarter” 12:30
2. “Stairway to Heaven” 10:58
Side four
1. “Moby Dick” 12:47
2. “Whole Lotta Love” 14:25

Death Had No Name (The Lost Ep): Danzig

Rating: Priceless

R-2028854-1406389132-9792.jpegSo, I stumbled across this long lost ep of Danzig that is a bootleg from 1991. It contains the song “When Death Had No Name” with alternate lyrics. The B-side includes the Elvis cover “Trouble” and “Possession.” All three songs, one can more of the Blues influence coming out while Danzig begins loosing the Punk feel to his music as these are to be some of the earliest versions of the songs.

Although, the sound quality isn’t the best, this ep shines light on the making of three songs. All of which I have heard before. The earlier versions of the Elvis cover “Trouble” and “Possession” were released with the Samhain box set. Two versions of the “When Death Had No Name” were released on the Danzig Lost Tracks, and the 1993 version was released as a b-side on the single “Dirty Black Summer.” All three songs are very rough, raw, and dark. This to me is what makes this such a great piece of Danzig history. A small ep, but it packs one hell of a punch.

I have to admit, sound quality aside, I really like these versions of the songs. “When Death Had No Name” again features a totally different set of lyrics, but the tempo is much faster. It’s always a neat thing to hear a song progress from day one to it’s final cut in production. “Trouble” is cut from classic Elvis and is sung is Elvis fashion, but it retains some originality, as Danzig adopted this song and cut it to form his own song. Only Glen Danzig can do a song like this. “Possession” is another one that is pretty damn good.

Track listing:

A When Death Had No Name
B1 Trouble (Demo Version)
B2 Possession (Demo Version)

Black Hell: Danzig

Rating: 95%

DanzigBlackHell12Web.jpg“Black Hell” was released on the sound track for the 2011 movie “The Hangover Part II.”  It opens on a lone almost out of tune and heavily distorted guitar. Then Glenn’s classic low vocal style, almost to the point of a spoken word, comes in. Between the vocal and the guitar, the song becomes a very dark, eerie, and evil to listen to.

The lyrics are very dark. The music and song structure is also very dark. The song itself has a great slow and mid level tempo. The chorus has some outstanding harmony between the vocals and the music itself. This is classic Danzig at it’s best.

Box Set: Samhain

Rating: 100%

SamhainboxIn 2000, Glenn Danzig released the box set for his formal band, Samhain. Although, not much in the way of unreleased material, the box set basically released the Samhain catalog that had been out of print for several years. Although, I had three of the five albums in this box set on cassette, this was an awesome release for me to grab the day this was package as a box set. I paid $40 for this the day it came out, and now, you can’t buy this box set for under $100 and most of the CDs are again, out of print.

Let’s break down the box set. The VHS live recording it comes with, the sound and video quality sucks. But you do get a chance to see this band on stage in their prime. The comic book that came with the box set is pretty cool too! Other than that, the rest is CDs.

The quality of the CDs is pretty good. Some of them were remastered, such as “Unholy Passion” due to Glenn laying out new guitar tracks. It also contains some material that went over to the actual Danzig band. Such songs as “Twist of Cain”, “Trouble”, and “Possession.” Now, with that being said, there is a good amount of Samhain material floating around out there, that is not part of the box set, including a very early version of “Archangel.” I had to download that.

What makes this box set so special is the fact that you finally got a chance to covert your cassettes for CDs. That is what made me happy about this box set. My old tapes were so chewed up and beaten up to the point, that I wasn’t able to enjoy the music. That’s why I rated this as 100%. Samhain wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this box set bridges the gap of the glorious Misfits and the actual Danzig band.

Track listing:

Initium (Disc One)
“Initium” / “Samhain”
“Black Dream”
“All Murder, All Guts, All Fun”
“Macabre”
“He-Who-Can-Not-Be-Named”
“Horror Biz”
“The Shift”
“The Howl”
“Archangel”

Unholy Passion (Disc Two)
“Unholy Passion”
“All Hell”
“Moribund”
“The Hungry End”
“Misery Tomb”
“I Am Misery”

Samhain III: November-Coming-Fire (Disc Three)
“Diabolos ’88”
“In My Grip”
“Mother of Mercy”
“Birthright”
“To Walk the Night”
“Let the Day Begin”
“Halloween II”
“November’s Fire”
“Kiss of Steel”
“Unbridled”
“Human Pony Girl”

Final Descent (Disc Four)
“Night Chill”
“Descent”
“Death…In Its Arms”
“Lords of the Left Hand”
“The Birthing”
“Twist of Cain”
“Possession”
“Trouble”
“Lords of the Left Hand: 2nd Version”

Samhain Live ’85-’86 (Disc Five)
“All Hell”
“Samhain”
“The Shift”
“The Howl”
“Unholy Passion”
“All Murder, All Guts, All Fun”
“I Am Misery”
“The Hungry End”
“Horror Biz”
“He-Who-Can-Not-Be-Named”
“Black Dream”
“Death Comes Ripping”
“Mother of Mercy”
“To Walk the Night”
“Halloween II”
“In My Grip”
“London Dungeon”
“Archangel”

Live VHS
“All Murder, All Guts, All Fun”
“The Shift”
“Unholy Passion”
“Black Dream”
“The Hungry End”
“I Am Misery”
“Horror Biz”
“Moribund”
“All Hell”
“London Dungeon”
“Archangel”
“Mother of Mercy”
“To Walk the Night”
“Samhain”
“Moribund”
“Black Dream”

Sacrifice ep: Danzig

Rating: 75%

418126HNNDL.jpgThis is for the 2000 reissue which contained two two “Deep”versions and “Serpentia.” The two “Deep” versions, I think are better than the one that was released for the X-Files soundtrack. This, although, is a bit out there, has some good points to it.

The song “Sacrifice (Rust Mix)” and “Sacrifice (Martyr Mix)” are really good versions of the song “Sacrifice” that was released as part of the “Black Acid Devil” or Danzig 5 album. “Serpentia (Winter Mix)” is slightly better than the actual album version.

Everything else, it’s a good listen, but no actual lyrics and mostly electronic noise. If you’re into the song “Sacrifice”, you’ll enjoy the tracks where Danzig is actually singing on, but may not like the instrumental versions. It’s was a good concept, but, it really doesn’t feel like Glenn Danzig to me.

Track listing:

2000 reissue version

“Sacrifice (Rust Mix)” – 3:46
“Sacrifice (Trust Mix)” – 3:46
“Sacrifice (Must Mix)” – 6:26
“Sacrifice (Crust Mix)” – 6:28
“Sacrifice (Martyr Mix)” – 6:20
“Sacrifice (Album Version)” – 4:28
“Deepest (Kennedy acid death mix)” – 4:54
“Deeper Still (French Eric Cadieaux techno Mix)” – 6:50
“Serpentia (Winter Mix)” – 7:01

The Lost Tracks Of Danzig

Rating: 90%

LostTracksofDanzigIn 2007, Danzig released his compilation album “The Tracks.” This two CD set includes much material that wasn’t released or was featured as B-sides on singles. This compilation features songs from 1988-2004, covering the classic line up of Danzig’s debut to “Danzig 777 album.”

There’s a lot of good songs on here. Many of which, I think should have been released much earlier. But in 2007, it was worth the wait. So many changes in sounds that one can hear that covers Danzig’s career.

The most important piece on this set is the two tracks “When Death Had No Name.” You can hear how this song progressed from the earlier years to when it was released as a b-side to “Dirty Black Summer” single. I have heard this song numerous times performed live. “Cold Cold Rain” has a rich bluesy feeling to it that screams Elvis. “Lick the Blood Off My Hands” even begins with a nice blues riff. Aside from the Blues influence, there are some Industrial Metal sections on here that are very unique. The other “Deep” song that wasn’t released is really good.

Even the covers are done Danzig style. T. Rex’s “Buick McKane”, The Germs’ “Caught in My Eye” and David Bowie’s “Cat People” are so good that they should have been released on the Danzig’s covers album which is by far my least favorite album. These songs are as if they were written for Glenn himself.

These tracks are a great look into Danzig’s career. They showcase how talented Danzig is, and how much perfection goes into each album. These songs were considered as not throw a ways, but interrupted the flow of the the album they were written for. Again, lots of good material that is worthy.

Track listing:

Disc 1
“Pain Is Like an Animal”
“When Death Had No Name”
“Angel of the 7th Dawn”
“You Should Be Dying”
“Cold, Cold Rain”
“Buick McKane”
“When Death Had No Name”
“Satan’s Crucifiction”
“The Mandrake’s Cry”
“White Devil Rise”
“Come to Silver” (acoustic)
“Deep”
“Warlok”

Disc 2
“Lick the Blood Off My Hands”
“Crawl Across Your Killing Floor”
“I Know Your Lie”
“Caught in My Eye”
“Cat People”
“Bound by Blood”
“Who Claims the Soulless”
“Malefical”
“Soul Eater”
“Dying Seraph”
“Lady Lucifera”
“Under Belly of the Beast”
“Unspeakable Shango Mix “

Black Laden Crown: Danzig

Rating: 85%

Cover_of_Black_Laden_Crown_(2017)_by_DanzigThe man in black has returned with his most darkest and doomy record in years. That’s right, we’re talking about Glenn Danzig with Danzig’s “Black Laden Crown.” I have been a major Danzig fan for years, ever since his first solo record came out way back in 1988. How I miss the classic line up. But, many of those records since the break up of the classic line up have been fairly good.

“Black Laden Crown” is not a bad album, but it does contain flaws in the production of the overall sound. At times, the instrumentation is drowned out by the vocal work. Other times, the vocals are so low, that the music itself drowns out Glenn.

So what about the musicians itself. This is where if production was better, this album could be a great album. You have the mighty Glenn Danzig on vocals. He still has range, but his voice is showing his age. But that is expected. The man is in his 60’s. He also contributes to the album by playing drums on tracks 2, 4, and 7 as well as bass, guitar and piano. Tommy Victor has returned to the lead guitar spot as well as playing bass. As far as the drum spot, this is where this album gets exciting. Aside from Glenn playing drums you have Joey Castillo on tracks 3 and 8, Johnny Kelly on tracks 1 and 5, Dirk Verbeuren on track 6, and Karl Rosqvist closing out the album on track 9.

Song structures are a bit slower and heavier than the previous Danzig albums. It features a ton of solos and some really good riffs. Some of which are catchy. The snapping of the thumbs in the beginning and first verse of “Last Ride” is awesome. I like the fast paced tempo of “Devil on Hwy 9.” “But a Nightmare” and “Skulls & Daisies” both feature great riffs, solos, and vocal work. “But a Nightmare” has some awesome drum work.

So, the seven year period without new real Danzig is over. I looked forward to this release as I do his next. Was the wait worth it? In my opinion….yes! It was.

Track listing:

“Black Laden Crown” – 5:59
“Eyes Ripping Fire” – 4:19
“Devil On Hwy 9” – 3:52
“Last Ride” – 4:59
“The Witching Hour” – 5:59
“But a Nightmare” – 5:04
“Skulls & Daisies” – 3:58
“Blackness Falls” – 5:47
“Pull the Sun” – 5:54