Evilive / Nuclear Blast
Fiends who still clamor for Glenn Danzig to endow a true Misfits reunion should be sated with Skeletons, the pugnacious headliner’s all covers album. Danzig and his band apply a murky growl to bygone gems from the likes of Aerosmith, the Young Rascals, the Troggs, the Litter, the Arrows, and even the Everly Brothers. The aural result is a punchy broth which evokes that legendary Misfits Rosetta Stone Static Age (right down to the production gaffes). Thematically this is the straightest Glenn’s been in ages; half of Skeletons is love songs, actualizing a naked romantic ambition no one expects from this barbarian. Yes Virginia, Danzig has a heart, and you will believe it is breaking into icy chunks when you reach the woeful Spectory wash of “Crying In The Rain.”
Whatever heathen incantation Glenn recited before recording Skeletons worked—his vocals are robust, substantial, convincing. Absent is the dry fatigue that’s hampered many of his latter day efforts. With the songwriting pressure off, Danzig can just relax in the pocket. Still, he refuses to make it easy for himself. On the audacious opening track, a run through of obscure biker anthem “Devil’s Angels,” the singer is nearly eaten by his own guitar chaw. And yet he triumphs; by the ascending middle eight Glenn’s got his hooks in you, and the final refrain of “MOTHERFUCKER!” feels like true exaltation. The song concludes with thirty seconds of ringing feedback, offering you pause to decide if you’re really on board for this exercise.
If you persist you will discover Skeletons is by no means a flawless victory. The jagged interpretation of ZZ Top ballad “Rough Boy” comes across like the result of a dare, the f-bombs dropped throughout like rewrites from a petulant tween. “Action Woman” is commanding to a fault (never thought I’d endorse Naz Nomad over Danzig, but here we are). Guitarist Tommy Victor is apparently paid by the pinch harmonic. These grievances, however, could be applied in varying measure to any post-1994 Danzig. Skeletons contains no gruesome revelation, unless it’s astounding to you that Glenn could make the honky tonk of Elvis Presley (“Let Yourself Go”) and Aerosmith (“Lord Of The Thighs”) boil with newfound heavy metal danger.
Can an album comprised entirely of covers have a “most personal” track? If so, here it’s the rendition of the Satan’s Sadists theme, an impassioned and bloodshot saunter in which our outlier laments he was “born mean…by the time I was two, they were callin’ me, callin’ me Satan.” And yet this doomed howl is also a celebration, an acceptance that pervades the whole project.
Skeletons is who Danzig is. Take it or leave it.
FINAL SCORE: Three point seven five sadistic devil thigh lords (out of four).
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