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DANZIG III: How The Gods Kill
By Daina Darzin

   The metal scene is crowded with tales of the bloody and macabre, but 
only Glenn Danzig combines gothic sensibility with Top 40 soul. While 
most death-metal bands want to rip rock n' roll's heritage to shreds with 
a brutal, atonal barrage, Danzig reveres it, making it his own with solidly 
crafted melodies and well-modulated vocals.
   The one thing he shares with, say, Deicide, is a conspicuous lack of 
humor. Yet the lush, malevolent power of Danzig's music transcends his 
lyrical lapses ("I can make a young girl lay down for me because I'm evil," 
he sings in "Heart of the Devil"). He has the courage to go for fatalistic 
grandeur and gets away with it, for the most part, without falling into 
the Spinal Tap trap. Credit must be paid to Danzig's wonderfully expressive, 
opulent voice, which can manage a restrainted Frank Sinatra-style intro to 
the title track (crooning "show me how the gods kill") with a straight face.
   Danzig's Elvis Presley/Roy Orbison country-rockabilly twang doesn't 
invade his third disc as obviously as it did on Danzig II: Lucifuge (1990), 
but it makes a welcome appearance in the percolating groove of "Left Hand 
Black" and the pulsing, unabashedly emotional ballad, "Sistinas."
   Danzig is, however, a band and much of the music's power derives from 
guitarist John Christ, whose playing is as melodic as Gary Moore's and as 
sinister as a film noir soundtrack. The dark majesty of "Godless" is no 
less effective for the fact that its opening riffs are borrowed from Ozzy
Osbourne's Black Sabbath classic, "Children of the Grave." The resonant, 
twisting guitar line of "Dirty Black Summer," the gorgeously menacing power 
chords of "Heart of the Devil" and the soaring, exhilarating run of "When 
the Dying Calls" all conspire to give Danzig a spectral mystique. It's a 
quality that bands like The Cult covet desperately but will never have, 
and Slayer has in spades (though it will never be heard beyond a rabidly 
devoted core audience). Gruesome and accessible, Danzig could actually be 
a theat to the moral fiber of America. And that's a compliment.