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Danzig
Black Laden Crown
Type: CD
Company: AFM
Release: 2017
Genre: Heavy/Extreme
Reviewer: Eric Compton
Published: 5/25/2017
Years later and the iconic singer is still plagued by horrible guitar
It's been seven years since Danzig wrote, recorded, and released new material. Aside from the covers album 'Skeletons' in 2015, the last studio effort of originals was 2010's 'Deth Red Sabaoth'. Fans and critics alike were both anxious to hear 'Black Laden Crown', an album that took three years to make and required the use of four drummers over the course of its creation. It also marks Danzig's debut for new label AFM Records.

So, the ultimate question is this--Is it really worth the wait?

Maybe for some. Personally, I felt 'Deth Red Sabaoth' suffered from horrendous pinch harmonics that distracted from crafty songs. It was an album that finally harkened back to the glory days of Danzig I-IV, yet was completely unlistenable due to Tommy Victor's playing style. I had high hopes that 'BLC' wouldn't suffer the same fate. I was dead wrong.

The opening title track has some of the worst guitar tones I've ever heard on record. That is saying a lot considering I've been actively listening for decades. The squeal of the strings at the 1:24 mark absolutely just guts my inner ears. This isn't hyperbole. I had to remove my ear buds and stretch my jaw muscles. It is painful to hear that high treble squeal, complicated by the bar stool view production standards. This is extraordinary really...three years to make the album and no one stops to question why the guitar tone is abysmally bad? How is this even possible?

If one can somehow tolerate the nails on the chalkboard then 'BLC' is actually quite good. The title cut has a funeral procession of doom, slowed to a crawl with Glenn's black priest lyrics and icy tone. While "Eyes Ripping Fire" is the most elementary guitar lick, it's mid-paced chunky groove is addictive. "Devil on Highway 9" suffers the fate of pinch harmonics throughout but overall is a solid trucker cut that fits baby-boomer Danzig. "The Witching Hour" is one of my favorites of the record, sort of a "How the Gods Kill" aura around a slower beat and heavy distortion. Lyrically, the whole album is chilly--"I'm the devil waiting for a stopped pulse".

I wish the devil would have brought a better sound with him.
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

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Black Laden CrownDanzig
2017
Eric Compton5/25/2017


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