#albumoftheday – DANZIG: THE LOST TRACKS

“You should be dying / dying, dying, dying,” Danzig sings — no, screams — during “You Should Be Dying.”  If that sounds lame to you, then I’m sure this album would not suit you.  But if you have a dark side that those lyrics might appeal to, then I should think you’d really enjoy this collection.  Danzig is kind of like an evil version of Elvis.  That’s how I’ve always seen him.  If Elvis was possessed by the devil, then Danzig is what you would get.  I hear so much of Elvis in Danzig’s vocals.  I could swear I actually am listening to Elvis when I’m playing certain Danzig songs.

Normally, I wouldn’t suggest a collection of rare tracks as an introduction to an artist, but this one is a fine compilation of some truly great songs.  There was nothing wrong with these tracks at all.  They were mostly out-takes, songs that were recorded during sessions for his normal albums that just didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the tracks on the albums, so they were left unreleased.  That being said, you would think that a collection like this wouldn’t flow very well, but it does.  The songs are arranged in an order that makes it feel as though you’re simply listening to a normal album.  A somewhat eclectic album, but, still, a solid album.  This definitely does not feel like a collection of misfit songs that were just randomly thrown together and released to make a quick buck. A lot of thought clearly went into arranging this compilation and it’s fantastic.

If you’ve always been curious about dark music but haven’t known where to begin exploring such a world, then The Lost Tracks of Danzig is a great place to start.  These songs are often bleak and sometimes violent, but not nearly as harrowing as death metal or black metal. And Danzig has a good sense of melody, too.  Aside from Elvis, he also reminds me of Johnny Cash.  The darker side of Johnny Cash, of course.  The side of Johnny Cash that claimed to have shot a man just to watch him die.  That’s definitely the sort of thing Danzig would sing about.  If Elvis was Luke Skywalker, then Danzig would be Darth Vadar.  Not the evil Emperor — he’s not quite that creepy — but definitely Vadar.

So, if you find yourself tempted to go to the dark side, this album is a great soundtrack to accompany you.  More importantly, it’s a great introduction to one of music’s most timeless artists, really.  From his work with The Misfits to his work with Samhain to his solo work, Danzig’s work never seems out of place.  Well, there was one album he did that was kind of industrial — Blackaciddevil — but that’s the only album he’s ever done in his long career that sounds dated.  There aren’t many artists you can say that about.  I mean, if you look at Alice Cooper’s career, there have been times when he’s jumped on bandwagons.  His album Trash, for example, is superb, but it was Alice Cooper doing late ’80’s hair metal.  And it’s not the only album he did where he tried to sound like Motley Crue or Poison.  So, yes, some of Cooper’s material does sound out-dated now.  He even jumped on the grunge bandwagon to some degree on his album The Last Temptation.  Even David Bowie has been known to jump on bandwagons.  I’m a big fan of his album Earthling, but that was Bowie jumping on the drum ‘n’ bass bandwagon.  To me, it’s an album that still sounds vital today, but I bet it makes him cringe now.  Anyway, I’m not here to criticize other artists.  I’m merely trying to illustrate that Danzig’s music never sounds out-dated, Blackaciddevil aside.  So, if you like dark, hard rock/metal then I highly recommend this.  If you’ve never checked out Danzig, it’s a great place to start — look at it like the Danzig boxed set, if you will — and if you’re a Danzig fan but don’t have this yet then you definitely need to add it to your collection.  But if you’re one of my pop music fans then you should probably avoid this.  Unless, of course, you’re tempted to hear what an evil Elvis might sound like.




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