Danzig, often very low-key on social media, has updated the fans on the 2020 plans for the band. The post to Facebook filled in some details we previously broke the news about concerning the Verotika Blu-ray and Soundtrack release next month. The post promised the long-in the works Danzig sings Elvis Presley covers album that Jerry Cantrell worked on with the singer. “A few intimate” shows are said to be planned for that release. Danzig has hinted at more solo touring as he ramps up his film projects and winds down his work with the Original Misfits. Also, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of Danzig II Lucifuge, and we heard in our recent interview with Tommy Victor (Prong) that he was expecting to be on the road with that tour this year and that activity might impact Prong. Continue reading
Prong has shared a new single, ”End of Sanity”. Recordeed with producer Chris Collier (No Absolutes, Zero Days) the recording is one of two tracks for a new EP, to be released in the fall. The songs were mixed by Terry Date (Cleansing, Rude Awakening). Prrong recently wrapped the “Cleansing” 25th-anniversary tour in Europe, and a tour with Agnostic Front. Continue reading
Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed is releasing his long in the works solo project album Jasta: The Lost Chapters Volume 2 this fall. Jasta announced today that he is offering subscribers to his podcast, The Jasta Show, via Gas Digital a special offer to get early access to the two new singles and the album before the public can buy or stream it. The two singles are ‘Spilled Blood Never Dies’ ft Kirk Windstein of Crowbar, and ‘Silence the Enemy Mind’ with Billybio’s Billy Graziadei. The album features guest appearances from Max Cavalera, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, Jesse Leach, Windstein, Howard Jones, Matthew K Heafy, Zoli Teglas, Billy Bio, Phil Rind, Tommy Victor, Joey Concepcion and Frankie Palmieri, as well as his backing band consisting of Charley and Nicky Bellmore (Dee Snider). Jasta will likely not tour behind this album right away since his focus for 2020 will be recording the new Hatebreed album. Jasta’s podcast airs two episodes weekly (Tuesday and Friday) in an interview format, often featuring hour-long, in-depth chats with legends. He is nearing 500 episodes, with the current edition #489, with Amigo The Devil, just aired.
On the heels of their recent announcement of their co-headline tour with fellow legends Helmet, Prong has announced another run of tour dates. The “Zero Days Tour” will see the long-running metal innovators joined by supergroup Powerflo, which features members of Cypress Hill, Biohazard and Fear Factory in their ranks, and special guests at each date. Prong continues to tour in support of their killer 2017 album, Zero Days, released last summer on the Steamhammer label. Continue reading
Two bands synonymous with their early days in the New York City metal and hardcore scene, Prong and Helmet are teaming up for a co-headline tour. All dates below. Pre-sales begin tomorrow at 10 AM local time.Continue reading
For a band that’s been around longer than I’ve been uselessly kicking around this earth, Prong still has plenty of juice. I enjoyed both Songs from the Black Hole and X – No Absolutes (both SPV/Steamhammer) just fine, but the vibe is different on album twelve(!), Zero Days (Steamhammer). Seems like Tommy Victor has been busy putting together a late career resurgence, not unlike the lads in Machine Head.Continue reading
The number seven has long been a recurring theme with Glenn Danzig. ‘777’, ‘7th House’, seven albums with numbered prefixes, and now in 2017 – seven years on from his last studio album to feature original material, and at the age of 61 (six plus one…? Okay, maybe that’s pushing things a little too far) it’s finally time for Black Laden Crown (AFM Records), the latest chapter in the Danzig story.Continue reading
Tommy Victor has been a busy boy recently. Since Prong returned from their self-prescribed hiatus in 2012 with Carved Into Stone (Long Branch/SPV), Victor has recorded two more albums with the band, played on Danzig‘s covers album Skeletons (Evilive/Nuclear Blast) and toured with both acts. Now, less than a year after the release of their own covers record Songs From the Black Hole (Steamhammer/SPV), Prong are back with X – No Absolutes (Steamhammer/SPV), their third full length in four years. Or fourth if you include the covers album. (Editor’s note: They also have a self-released live album on Bandcamp they are not counting either!)
Although previous record Ruining Lives (Steamhammer/SPV) was generally well received, it felt a little like the band were trying too hard to make sure they pleased everybody by writing songs which sat nicely inside their own safe little pigeon holes. Hardcore song – check. Thrash song – check. Industrial song – check. This time out, there’s a slightly more organic feel to the record in the respect that although there are songs which clearly fit into each of those little boxes, there are some which cross over into others or have a different sound entirely. It appears that recording a covers album has had a positive creative effect on the band.
The opening trio of songs are all about hitting you hard and fast though. ‘Ultimate Authority’ is a mid-paced stomper with a hardcore chorus and a Pantera vibe to its opening riff. ‘Sense of Ease’ is full-on shouty and aggressive hardcore thrashing with a nice breakdown towards the end, and “Without Words” simply punches its way unceremoniously into your ears.
Things fall into standard territory (in a good way) with the next few songs. The title track stands out with its more laid back, but still purposeful approach, and ‘Do Nothing’ is possibly the closest the band have ever come to writing a ballad. There’s a hint of Ministry during ‘Belief System’, the pacy ‘In Spite of Hindrances’ features an all too brief guitar solo which sounds distinctly similar to old school Metallica, and one of the album’s highlights ‘Ice Runs Through My Veins’ begins with a pulsing bassline and a tickly little riff followed by a chorus not a million miles away from The Sisters of Mercy. Victor’s love of pinch harmonics has been noticeably restrained until we get to ‘Worth Pursuing’ when he suddenly throws caution to the wind and hurls a load of them into the mix just for the hell of it. Closer ‘With Dignity’ although actually pretty catchy, is probably the weakest track on the album, sounding more like Linkin Park than it probably should, the bonus track ‘Universal Law’ saving the album from ending on its lowest point.
Another year, another Rock and Shock Festival arrived on the scene to get us even more in the Halloween mood. A terrific lineup of iconic personalities, and amazing vendors at the DCU Center along with a strong lineup of music titans over at The Worcester Palladium made this a year to remember. I have been to eight of the eleven years of this great festival and it gets better and better every year. This was one of the years where the convention ran slightly ahead of the show for me in terms of love, but that is less about the bands and some the horror giants that were in attendance, among my favorites in the genre, ever.
Friday was marred slightly by the typically shitty I -90 traffic heading out to the venue, taking almost 2.5 hours to arrive from Boston. Not only did we miss a tight group of local bands, I missed some of the bands I really wanted to see like Brick By Brick and Shattered Sun. Getting there in time to catch some of Soilwork at least made up for it. Not only did they play some more recent tracks from The Ride Majestic (Nuclear Blast), they played the throwback classic cut ‘Bastard Chain’ which was amazing.
Following Soilwork it was time for some more old-school jams with Sanctuary and Soulfly. The reactivated power metal/thrashers Sanctuary were super tight and sounded great. Better than I expected or remember. Soulfly also put on a great show. Max Cavalera and crew played a lot of hits as well as Sepultura classics and even a little Nailbomb jam. Maybe about the best Soulfly set I’ve ever seen. Max is just really great at extolling the crowd to move: screaming, rapping, or playing some percussion instruments, the guy does it all.
As expected Hatebreed’s career spanning, 20th anniversary set was as great as could be. Jamey Jasta and his crew have boundless energy and played an almost two-hour set. Track after track of classic beat-down songs and deep cuts from every era of the band rained down from the speakers. Many times Jamey jumped into the barricade and had fans screaming along with him. It was epic feeling and people were just throwing down all over the venue. It was a pretty amazing time and Jamey made sure everyone new Hatebreed is coming back with a new album in 2016.
Getting up early on Saturday, we made sure to spend a lot of time at the convention at the DCU center and really get to see and do everything over there. There were many awesome vendors, specifically a lot of local businesses, which was great to see. There were also several dog rescues and pet adoption tables with people doing great work to find some puppies and kitties new homes in the middle of all this metal and horror greatness. While I was only able to get glimpse of George A. Romero, some of the movie personalities I got to chat with made up for it such as Doug Bradley (Hellrazor), William Sanderson, Bill Mosley, Traci Lords, and especially Stephen Macht and Michael Mackay from Monster Squad. Most of the band signings were happening here, with the longest line I saw being for Superjoint.
Saturday’s lineup was a little deeper and more eclectic than most years too. The second stage had an array of diverging styles represented by The Relapse Symphony, Byzantine, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein with his solo band, and Eyes Set To Kill among others. The main stage was led off by doom masters Witch Mountain. New singer Kayla Dixon has a tall order to fill replacing the much adored Uta Plotkin, but Kayla has amazing pipes and stage presence. She does justice to all of Uta’s material, the other past material of the band, and definitely brings her own style to the table too. I am so looking forward to a new WM album with her at the mic.
For a bit of consistency, the next three bands had a common thread in Wednesday 13, New Year’s Day and The Rocking Dead, all bringing an old/new take on horror punk, glam rock and metal. Wednesday performed the best, NYD had the most fans in the house, and The Rocking Dead was beautiful wreck. Both the later two performed with The Rocking Dead, an all-star collection of talented folks playing all covers. It was exciting to see and hear Doyle and Taime Downe of Faster Pussycat jam out to some great songs, but the band hadn’t rehearsed at all and the sloppy performance was not amusing.
Prong was up next and were one of the best bands of the weekend. The band seems reinvigorated by some new blood in the band and performed a mix of old-school (‘Beg to Differ’, ‘Unconditional’) and new-ish (‘Revenge Best Served Cold’) tracks. Props to Tommy Victor for pulling double-duty this tour with Danzig. I’m waiting patiently on that new Prong album in early 2016 too.
After catching a little bit of Veil of Maya’s performance, we had to grab some provisions (beers and food) and do a final sweep of the band merch for the weekend. Then it was time for Superjoint to open up a total can of whup-ass on The Palladium. Easily the most brutal set and pits of the entire weekend by far. Between Phil Anselmo’s between song levity, the amped up playing it was a really fun time. With an excellent blend of hardcore, doom riffs and heaviness, the band was actually tighter and better than they were back in the day to me.
Finally the set changed over for Danzig. As always he had an impressive stage set up and props, with the ominous “Skull Horns” mascot emblazoned on everything. The backdrop and stage were definitely the best of the entire weekend in contrast to the other bands except for maybe Soulfly. The band came out strong with ‘Skin Carver’ and ‘Hammer of The Gods’. Glenn still has a mighty voice live after all these years. The good thing about being an enigmatic artist and not touring all the time is that people are not burned out on seeing you. Even the songs you have heard a million times on record sounded good live. Feeling every note and dramatic beat, the front man flung himself around the stage like a much younger man. While this challenged him to keep his breath and tone steady, he held up well. The set list was also pretty eclectic with three new cover songs from his new Skeletons album (Evilive/Nuclear Blast).
One thing that was a bummer was the much talked about photo policy. As everyone now knows, Danzig hates photographers; professional or otherwise. I saw at least 25 people kicked out of the show by security for taking pics or videos, and that number may have been 3-4 times that number from what I have been told. Although I admit this policy is extreme, Danzig has a point. Everybody put your phone down and watch the goddamn show! Plus there were signs everywhere and it wasn’t exactly a secret since security guys were warning people all night and stopping the from filming.
Overall Danzig’s set was pretty sweet, although some people I talked to after quibbled with the song choices. He did mix it up well with 15 tracks spread across 7 albums. And I might have chosen a different closer than ‘Brand New God’ from Danzig 4P (American), but no matter. If it’s the last time I ever see the guy live, it’s all good to me.
See you next year Rock and Shock!
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From Black Sabbath’s 1970 début to the present day, cover versions have always been part of the Metal furniture. They can appear as part of the album itself, tacked onto the end as bonus material, or in more recent times, even given a disc of their own to supplement Special Edition packages. In fact for some bands, covers almost come as standard. But to release an entire album of them? Well that could still be seen as a little unconventional.
It’s been done before, of course. Metallica even did it twice (well, once and a half), Slayer took a stab at it, Ozzy had a bash, and more recently Hatebreed threw their hat into the ring with surprisingly effective results. However, whereas those acts chose songs which came as no real shock to anyone, there are a couple of genuine surprises on Skeletons (Evilive/Nuclear Blast). Danzig does ZZ Top and Aerosmith? Really?
Yes, really. And what’s more, he does them well.
Kicking off with a rollicking version of the theme song to obscure 1967 biker flick ‘Devil’s Angels’ it’s pleasing to report that Danzig’s voice is still in fine fettle. The obscure movie theme, er… theme continues with the title song to 1969 movie ‘Satan’s Sadists’. A slow, bluesy number which allows Danzig to croon to his heart’s content, featuring lyrics he could easily have written himself.
Unsurprisingly, the album kicks off properly with the arrival of Elvis. Lifted once again from a movie soundtrack, ‘Let Yourself Go’ comes from the 1968 Presley movie ‘Speedway’, and this new version is an absolute thumper. As soon as it finishes, you want to go back to the start and listen to it all over again. And again. A satisfyingly heavy version of Black Sabbath‘s ‘N.I.B.’ follows. Not a patch on the original of course, and Tommy Victor’s pinch harmonics do start to become a little grating, but it’s a meaty enough version with Danzig’s stamp all over it.
Up until now, covering Black Sabbath, Elvis and low-budget biker movies should come as no real surprise. But Aerosmith? Taken from Get Your Wings (Columbia), ‘Lord of the Thighs’ sounds more like a Danzig original than an Aerosmith song by the time it ends. The Litter are next up for the Fonzig treatment. A psychedelic garage rock band from Minneapolis, their song ‘Action Woman’ from 1967 was their first hit, and once again not the most obvious choice of song to benefit from a Danzig overhaul. But yet again, the big muscular cuddly one comes up trumps.
It’s a case of so near, yet so far with ZZ Top‘s ‘Rough Boy’; an adventurous selection anyway, it so very nearly comes off thanks to Danzig’s voice (probably his best vocal performance on the record), but Tommy Victor’s constant pinch harmonics renders it irritating to the point of distraction. Even Zakk Wylde‘s ear piercing harmonics would have been easier on the ears than this. Also, the addition of a couple of needless “fucks” added to the lyrics distract you even further. Frustrating.
Danzig turns The Troggs classic ‘With A Girl Like You’ into a Misfits number with consummate ease, ‘Find Somebody’ by The Young Rascals gets a lively makeover, and the album closes with a suitably depressing version of The Everly Brothers‘ already melancholic ‘Crying in the Rain’.
Danzig’s voice is as strong (and divisive) as it always has been; a few minor wobbles and cracks here and there but nothing too bothersome. The production is nice and warm, and the album cover features a naked-from-the-chest-up porn star Kayden Kross in skullface make-up. Which is nice.
An interesting collection of songs, Skeletons should sit comfortably on the shelf alongside Danzig’s other releases, and surely without any of the ignominy of being referred to in the future as “oh yeah, that pointless covers album”. If you consider compilation album The Lost Tracks of Danzig (Evilive) to be worthy of inclusion in your record collection, then this should definitely be in there too.
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