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DANZIG 'Circle Of Snakes' (Evilive Records 2004)


The new eagerly awaited Danzig album is due to hit the shelves very shortly and fans will be pleased to hear that it builds on the good work achieved by their previous release, ‘I Luciferi’ of re-establishing the band as a great rock outfit. The devilishly named ‘Circle of Snakes’ sets the scene for the listener once more in the Dark and Twisted world of the Occult. Well, maybe not quite that evil, but it still manages to get the imagination going.

Mr Danzig is no misfit in today’s ‘Heavy’ music scene -whilst it could be argued that he had strayed somewhat with ‘6:66 Satan’s Child’ and ‘Blackacidevil’, he seems to have finally found the right balance by going back to his ‘old’ sound and successfully incorporating industrial elements into his recent releases, thus appealing to a completely new fan-base, as well as potentially (?) winning back his older fans. A good example of this ‘symbiosis’ is the self-titled track of the album, ‘Circle of Snakes’.

Whether or not the band’s new sound is to your liking, it seems that Danzig have blended the old and the new styles quite well. All that said, the music is still undeniably 'Danzig'. Tracks like ‘1000 Devils Reign’, ‘Night, Besodom’ and ‘Black Angel, White Angel’ hark back to the good old ‘Danzig’ and ‘Danzig II’ days of bluesy groove. The album actually manages to work on many levels - tracks like the very appealingly named ‘Skin Carver’ will probably delight fans of the chugging industrial Rob Zombiesque sound; ‘Skull Forest’ is virtually untainted by the ‘industrial’ and the thrashy guitar riffs on ‘Hellmask’ are a nice little surprise to those who are not so fond of ‘Goth’. In short, there’s something for everyone on this album.

One thing that does puzzle me is the presentation - both artwork and production are somewhat lacking, in my opinion. The former is represented by a rather amusing set of ‘nasty’ grainy photos of the Evil Glenn draped in a rather ‘classy’ looking porn star (there are several of these for all those who are already getting excited) and the front cover art is a tad simplistic. Maybe that’s the idea, and, to be honest, I think it probably works both for those who worship the band and for those who treat the whole thing as a bit of a giggle. The production, on the other hand, does genuinely disappoint - the guitars are both fuzzy and distant and the vocals have been mixed in such a way that Glenn’s voice gives you a good ear-bashing on some songs. That said, this doesn’t appear to be the case for all the tracks, which is an even greater mystery.

Apart from this, ‘Circle of Snakes’ is a good album - definitely a ‘must-have’ for fans, but I doubt it will succeed in converting the not-so-Unholy.


Review by Emily Dgebuadze

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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