by Derric Miller
– Managing Editor —
Before Black Laden Crown gets rightfully raked over the coals, some mighty hails to one of the best Metal musicians ever might be in order. Misfits. Samhain. Solo work. The best Mother’s Day song in the history of mankind. The beautifully Orchestral, Symphonic and Classical darkness known as Black Aria. That’s all Glenn Danzig, folks. HE did that. The guy is in some ways, a genius.
He also did Black Laden Crown.
Starting off with the title track, a morose, lumbering Doom composition greets you with a song that takes itself way, way too seriously. Danzig’s voice is warm, husky, smooth as an aged Irish Whiskey, but severely lacks the power and gusto of decades past. There’s a gang, layered moment of “oh-ohs,” and really not a hell of a lot else, except some cool ass leads from guitarist Tommy Victor. The droning goes on and on until it skips to an uptempo glide 4:30 minutes in, three minutes too late.
“Eyes Ripping Fire” at bare minimum slays with the song title. This is another mid-tempo grinder, mostly Doom, atmospheric and foreboding. Danzig just doesn’t seem all that into the vocals; if he doesn’t believe what he is selling, how can the listener buy it? He sounds bored, and to be brutally honest, it’s beneath him.
It takes until the third track before you are allowed to really start the headbanging, with “Devil on Hwy 9.” Victor seemingly becomes the focal point on many of these compositions, which is not a detriment since the guy is a talent, but does anyone buy a Danzig release for the guitar solos, riffs, and leads? Danzig puts his energy into this one, snarling and howling the chorus, and it is far and away the best song on Black Laden Crown.
One of the songs you’ll find yourself coming back to is “The Witching Hour.” It is haunting, it just drips sort of a welcoming venom, the kind you want to sup of even though you know it’s deadly. Whether it’s fair or not to compare Danzig to his contemporaries, the dirge has a bit of Trouble vibe to it sonically, more of a swash than a direct reflection. This is why Danzig should be writing new music.
“Skulls and Daisies” is the same syncopation, vocal rhythm, seemingly the same vocal melodies you’ve heard too often not on just this release, but prior Danzig albums. It’s a bit worn out; how can you hear a song for the first time and think, “I’ve already heard this one like 10 times!”
“Pull the Sun” takes the crown off and lays it at your feet for judgment. It is found wanting in all the ways mentioned above.
One of the worst things you can do for a listener is just make them apathetic. Make someone hate or love the music. Make them FEEL SOMETHING! But Black Laden Crown is just background music to a cool B horror movie. It’s not really bad, it’s not good … it’s just there. And for someone of Danzig’s history and breadth of talent most musicians can’t even hope to obtain, it makes one wonder if he even really likes Black Laden Crown or if it’s just “there” for him as well.
Glenn Danzig – lead vocals, piano, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, drums (2, 4, 7)
Tommy Victor – lead guitar, bass guitar
Four different drummers
Genre: Metal, Doom
1. Black Laden Crown 5:59
2. Eyes Ripping Fire 4:19
3. Devil On Hwy 9 3:52
4. Last Ride 5:00
5. The Witching Hour 5:58
6. But A Nightmare 5:04
7. Skulls & Daisies 3:58
8. Blackness Falls 5:47
9. Pull The Sun 5:54
Label: Nuclear Blast
Hardrock Haven rating: (6.6 / 10)