Danzig - Danzig II: Lucifuge (1990)

Danzig - Danzig II: Lucifuge (1990) Cover
Daniel Daniel / August 24, 2021 / Comments 0 / 0

To be honest this is the first time that I've been tempted to listen to a full Danzig record. I've obviously been aware of their existence since way back in the day as I was hearing "Mother", "Twist Of Cain" & "Long Way Back From Hell" all over metal radio programs but their style didn't really match up with my taste profile at the time so I've ignored them until now. In the interest of completism though, I thought it was about time that I corrected that glaring gap in my metal knowledge.

Now, let's get one thing straight right from the get-go, "Danzig II - Lucifuge" isn't a metal record & I'll be submitting a Hall entry later on today to indicate this. It's far more accurate to describe this a hard rock release. There are certainly metal influences being drawn upon in a few songs (see the early Judas Priest influence in songs like "Snakes Of Christ" & "Tired Of Being Alive" for example) but closer "Pain In The World" is the only track that I consider to be a legitimate metal track. In saying that though, there's definitely a doomy aesthetic to a lot of the material which is why this record is so often linked to our beloved metal genre. My best description of "Danzig II - Lucifuge" is to say that it builds its sound off the hard rock crunch of Bon Scott-period AC/DC & "Wheels Of Steel"-era Saxon, adds a taste of classic Led Zeppelin, layers the atmosphere of Black Sabbath's debut & Judas Priest's "Sad Wings Of Destiny" over the top & then scatters hints of late 60's blues rock & The Doors sporadically across the tracklisting. Glenn Danzig's Elvis Presely meets Jim Morrison vocal style is certainly unique but I'd imagine can be quite polarizing. I don't have any particular issue with his contribution here but find the instrumentation to be much more appealing which is a strong indication that the album would have offered me a little more enjoyment with a more traditional singer. I love Glenn's more subdued Morrison-esque moments (see the start of "Devil's Playground" for example) but struggle to connect with the more obviously Elvis-inspired stuff.

Look, "Danzig II - Lucifuge" is a pretty strong record overall to tell you the truth but I will say that I think the straight up blues & blues rock tracks let it down a touch. I don't really get much out "Killer Wolf (which sounds like AC/DC playing one of their early blues tracks) or the stripped back Stevie Ray Vaughan style of "I'm The One" & greatly prefer the heavier material (big surprise, I know). The warm 70's-focused production does a lot to enhance the authenticity of the music & I really enjoy it. I just don't think a Glenn Danzig fronted band is gonna be able to get me reaching for the higher scores. It's really that simple although it is worth noting that Danzig save their best for last with the ultra-deep traditional doom metal sound of "Pain In The World" thoroughly floating my boat. That monster sounds very much like an early Black Sabbath's take on Led Zeppelin's "Dazed & Confused" which can't be a bad thing now, can it?

For fans of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin & early Black Sabbath.

Vinny Vinny / April 07, 2019 / Comments 0 / 0

I can't say that much of what where my mainstays in 1990 have withstood the test of time all that well.  This was perhaps still my first full year of metal discovery and I had near sensory overload in all honesty as Priest, Slayer, Pantera and Megadeth dropped records all over the place and I desperately attempted to keep up.  Although fully aware of Danzig at the time, I had soon gotten pissed off with hearing Mother and Twist of Cain all the time and was quite unresponsive to testing out a Danzig full length at first.

Thankfully, I soon got the fuck over myself and jumped feet first into his sophomore release, grateful to discover that it contained enough of the catchy riffs that made the aforementioned hits so undeniably memorable without being irritating.  I got more pleasure in all honesty from the true dark cabaret style of the music, with Evil Elvis firmly living up to his nickname on tracks like I'm The One and Blood and Tears.  Fair to say that whilst Cowboys From Hell and Rust in Peace have lost most of their initial sparkle, Danzig's second album still shines its dull majesty even today.

What is the real triumph on this album though is the superb blending of heavy metal with doom and even rock elements (most of Christ's leads are firmly in the rock sound of things).  It doesn't ever sound contrived though.  The album takes on a real character from virtually the opening track and wears that persona all the way through, unapologetic for being over the top in places because this act is near Oscar winning in places.  There's a remarkable simplicity to the overall sound here, I mean whilst this is obvious on the aforementioned I'm The One with Danzig crooning along to an acoustic guitar, this clear and coherent tone and unmuddied sound flows across all tracks.  This tactic helps highlight even the simplest of string bends, making them come across as real nuances that become standout moments on an album that feels like it never really gets out of third gear most of the time.

Interpreting this often rudimentary mid-pace and basic song structure is perhaps a challenge for some.  I find it processes easily enough for an extreme metalhead like me.  I find its bareness adds a real gnarly feel to proceedings which is still the overarching feeling even on the albums more catchy moments.  The consistency of the quality in the track listing does start to lapse as we get towards to the end of the record with Girl and Pain in the World being the main reasons that this record loses a full marks rating.  I think Blood and Tears would have rounded off the record perfectly well but I am denied a pain-free experience overall (but for the record I hated these tracks back in 1990 also).



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Danzig II: Lucifuge
The Guardians
Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal (conventional)

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