Danzig’s Black Laden Crown (2017) provides a beautiful new shade of black

Danzig released its 11th studio album Black Laden Crown that includes 9 all-new original songs on 26 May 2017.

Michael Christopher suitably opens his album review on loudwire.com by stating that “One might’ve thought that on the heels of last year’s unexpected Misfits reunion at Riot Fest, Glenn Danzig would perhaps be inclined to revisit the horror-punk past on his next album of original material from his namesake outfit. One would be wrong. On Black Laden Crown, he sinks deeper into the blues for the darkest, dirge-filled Danzig work in years.”

I agree with Michael, although,  I enjoy this kind of dark music. A more critical comment is given by Brandon Stosuy at spin.com, who argues, “Black Laden Crown is much more plodding than Deth Red Sabaoth, which had some impassioned songs on it. This feels more like an exercise in trying to keep the name in the headlines in time for Blackest Ever Black Festival and the Danzig shows this summer around the 25th Anniversary of Danzig III than an actual album.”

The argument is valid. However, I don’t see anything wrong with keeping the name in the headlines. Especially, given that the songs on Black Laden Crown radiate the trademark Danzig attitude. Crash Thompson at MetalSucks.net put it in a diplomatic way: “Danzig’s Black Laden Crown is Not as Terrible as We’d Expected.”

Another criticism comes from Katherine Turman at consequenceofsound.net, who notes that “Danzig’s new selection of songs may work for gloomy gatherings, but it falls short (no pun intended) when it comes to building on the group’s previous legacy. Yes, heavy is the head that wears the Black Laden Crown, but to rule, Danzig needs to breathe new life and light into tired tropes.”

I understand Katherine’s arguments, but decide to only see her first point, which Aris Hunter Wales addresses properly on paste.com: “Despite the poor production hinderance, the dark, sensual vibe that he has mastered over the years is strong on tracks like “Last Ride” and “The Witching Hour.” Slow tempos, weighty riffs and Danzig’s bleak croon create moods good for stalking coveted loves.” Aris adequately continues, “It feels a little unfair to hold Black Laden Crown up to the standards of Danzig’s first four LPs, but that’s where the mind naturally goes.”

In that regard, I am a Danzig pupil from the first Danzig-hour and will always regard the first handful of Danzig albums as the non-plus ultra. However, times change and so do people. Hence, Danzig 2017 is not the same as Danzig in the 80s and 90s – and that’s completely okay. Besides Glenn Danzig’s unmistakable voice and dark lyrics, the songs radiate doom and evil, just the way we expect to enjoy them from Danzig. My favourite part of the album, though, is Tommy Victor’s guitar work. Arguably one of the greatest heavy metal riff-masters of the past couple of decades, adds different shades of doom and gloom to the songs with his versatile playing and creativity.

Black Laden Crown might not be the next How The Gods Kill, but it is a new shade of dark that enriches the Danzig catalogue with 9 beautifully evil songs, just the way we like them to be in this context.

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer