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Metal Muscle   Summer 1990

   If Judas Priest could get in trouble over the supposed
subliminal inclusion of the words "do it" on a record, where does
that leave someone like Glenn Danzig, when the first song titled
"Long Way Back From Hell" pointedly asks the listener "Do want to
take a life?/Do you want to cross that line?" In one of the
weirdest verdicts ever recorded, the judge in the Priest trial
concluded that the non-specific utterance of Rob Halford, which
could have simply been the singer urging his band on, was in fact
an unintentional combination of grunts, musical sounds, and
noises which just happened to form those words. In Danzig's case,
it's quite clear where he stands and it's equally clear that he
doesn't care if you happen to like it.
   What the parents of the two teenagers in Reno conveniently
forget in their distress over their children's suicides is that
there was a lot more wrong with those two kids' lives than the
fact that they liked to get ripped and listen to a heavy metal
record now and then. Perhaps it was their parents who should have
been on trial. In actual fact, heavy metal usually serves as an
outlet for any kind of self-destructive or violent impulses, and
we'd have a lot fewer rapists and axe-murderers if more kids
listened to bands like Danzig.
   "Long Way Back From Hell," like many of Danzig's songs, is
about taking responsibility for your actions. Much of what Glenn
Danzig says or sings may be controversial but he stands by his
beliefs, which is a hell of a lot more than you can say for the
sickening hypocrisy of the fundamentalist types that accuse heavy
metal bands of devil worship. His music is about thinking for
yourself in a world where the forces that control our society are
gaining ever-increasing power. In the Sixties, there was a
popular button which said "Question Authority," and Danzig's
music shares a lot of the insubordinate attitude of that period.
   The talented Glenn Danzig began his musical career in the
godforsaken town of Lodi, New Jersey, thankfully managing to
escape the influence of Bruce Springsteen entirely. For Danzig,
there's only one King of rock 'n' roll and that's Elvis. If Elvis
is the king, however, Danzig is the Prince of Darkness. Starting
with The Misfits, the first band he was in that achieved
notoriety, Danzig exhibited a fascination with the occult that
went beyond other punk bands such as the Cramps and the Damned.
Even when Danzig was dealing in B-movie grade horror rock, it was
clear there was more depth here. Songs like "I Love The Dead,"
"Horror Business," and "Last Caress" were melodic if morbid stabs
of rock that showed that his songwriting, while still in an
embryonic stage, was way above the norm. Though Danzig prefers to
dwell on the present, it was during this period that his legend
was made. The Misfits, however, were not the best vehicle for
Danzig's developing vision. Live, the band was little more than a
blur, with Danzig's lyrics and incredible voice getting lost in
the overall sound. The band's hardcore carnage was a significant
influence on the birth of speedmetal and in fact, Danzig has
attracted a whole new audience that knows him because the guys in
Metallica wear Misfits t-shirts. Today the Danzig sound has done
a complete turn-around, though.
   A weird thing happened when Glenn Danzig slowed down his
music. Not only has his sonorous voice come to the forefront of
his band's sound but the music has gotten heavier. This one-time
punk rocker is now unabashedly heavy metal. He's carried his cult
following (developed with the Misfits and Samhain) along with him
into his new undertaking, becoming one of the most important
figures in breaking down the divisions between punk and heavy
metal. Where Danzig's 1988 debut album served to establish his
new sound with riff-based songs like "Twist of Cain," "She
Rides," and "Am I Demon," his latest record takes things even
further, delving into dark roots that he's previously left
untouched. And we're not talking about his jet-black hair.
   There is a pronounced blues influence on Danzig II: Lucifuge,
his new record, that adds a sinister edge more akin to records by
Howlin' Wolf and Robert Johnson than Black Sabbath. At the same
time, Lucifuge manages to be the most melodic record Danzig has
made since the Misfits.
   Even though the band attracts a much higher percentage of
females to their gigs than most heavy metal bands, Danzig isn't
Warrant. Eerie Von, the band's bass player, and John Christ have
been hanging around each other so long now that they're starting
to look like brothers with their brooding expressions and evil
moustaches. Drummer Chuck Biscuits, the friendliest of the lot,
is like a surfer gone bad, while Glenn himself has perfected a
detached countenance that affords him the privacy he so obviously
   The path Danzig has chosen may indeed be a hard one to tread
but despite the fact that he has the talent to write hit singles,
Glenn Danzig isn't about to trade his integrity for a platinum