With a reputation for being perennially pissed off, and easily prone to fits of impatient anger, Glenn Danzig didn’t disappoint at the near sold out Electric Factory. Midway through “Lilin,” the bringer of the dark was leaning over the edge of the stage, slapping the hands of audience members pressed against the guardrail. As he stood and pulled back to begin the next verse, his microphone cord became tangled in a stage-floor light fixture. After three attempts to unsnarl the cord, Danzig dropped to one knee, and hauled off with a devastating punch that knocked out the light and crippled the metal.
With such a large trail of his influence firmly etched into history, it wouldn’t be scrutinized, but rather expected if Glenn Danzig simply eased into his fat Elvis stage with little fanfare or effort. To avoid running the risk of getting a swift beat down—do not bring this up to the man.
While Danzig is gaining noticeable girth, (he is pushing 50 years of age), there are no signs of dissipating passion to keep on top of the metal heap. Leaving the punk and camp of The Misfits in their prime, and the punk metal of Samhain shortly after that, Danzig went solo in 1987 and hasn’t looked back. Members of, like the bands themselves from the past, have been not so surreptitiously cast to the curb, with only growing legend left behind.
Now two albums in, the current line-up has hit their stride. Their debut together two years ago, 6:66 Satan’s Child, was a heavy but overwrought recovery from Danzig’s almost completely solo 1996 misstep Blackaciddevil: an industrial, disjointed and uncharacteristic effort that came on the heels of the dissolution of the most talented and productive of the Danzig incarnations.
7:77: I Luciferi picks up what the last two releases lacked; a modern sound with hooks that pay direct homage to old school Danzig. Guitarist Todd Youth updates the patented guitar squeal of original member John Christ with reckless abandon. Monstrous riffs dominate each song, taking the best of Satan’s Child to match the bleak lyrical subject matters. Danzig himself has slipped out of the screams for notes that needn’t be reached in favor for the lowered vibratos not heard since How the Gods Kill. “Dead Inside”, “Black Mass”, and the first single “Wicked Pussycat” incorporate the new meets old ethos masterfully.
Always cognizant of imagery, from the mock-scariness of The Misfits Crimson Ghost symbol, to the modified Samhain horned skull that today still stands as the official logo, Danzig has turned the evil meter down in favor of a “bondage meets gothic” style toyed with briefly on the last record. Adorning the Electric Factory stage along with the skull logo imposed upon a pentagram backdrop were topless gargoyles reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s Eddie mascot gone woman—not a pleasant thought. Danzig himself was clad all in black; jeans, leather vest and forearm length bondage gloves. Ever present was the upside down cross necklace and skull logo belt buckle. The result is more camp than actually spooky, almost reminiscent of the more recent German import Rammstein, who, while terrifying audiences in Europe with their whips and chains meets horror and fire came off as a joke in the States.
Still, the image Danzig is currently cultivating comes off as something fresh, mixing well with the music. The lyrics on 7:77: I Luciferi don’t vary much from revenge, death, sex, evil and pain themes, yet Danzig avoids coming off as laughable when he is pushing passion for wickedness, because, while it looks to be comical from afar, the guy is still pretty intimidating live. At times, he commanded the stage like it was 1990 all over again, not only with the expected response to “Mother,” but with metal-chestnuts “Am I Demon” and “Killer Wolf” calling to the times when the lyrics and imagery actually were scary and not diluted from fan-site overexposure and public desensitization.