The first collection of new original music from the punk-metal legend since 2010's Deth Red Sabaoth, Black Laden Crown follows a surprisingly busy three-year stretch that saw Glenn Danzig issue a covers album (2015's Skeletons), reunite with Jerry Only and Doyle for a pair of Misfits reunion shows, and appear on an episode of the sketch comedy TV series Portlandia. Black Laden Crown is the 11th studio long-player from Danzig (the band), and it marks a return to the brooding, largely midtempo, blues-based biker horror jams of yore, with a smattering of doomy, Samhain-era malevolence tossed in for good measure -- the latter Danzig iteration looms large on the sludgy, nearly six-minute title track. Recorded with multiple drummers over a four-year span, and produced with the opposite of finesse by Danzig himself, the nine-track set never really gels, but like Deth Red Sabaoth, its utter contempt for production values occasionally works in its favor, effectively capturing the pugilistic, comic book/horror punk aesthetic of the Misfits -- tapping British comic book artist Simon Bisley for the garish cover art was a nice touch. Lead single "Devil on Hwy 9" is downright abysmal, a demo-level, rudimentary blast of B-movie chum that yields not a single fin, and it misrepresents the album as a whole. Black Laden Crown is at its best when the band keeps it slow and low, as they do with great success on workmanlike candelabra-burners like "Last Ride," "Skulls & Daisies," and "Pull the Sun" and it's in those solemn moments of churning, Jim Morrison-esque torment and woe that Glenn Danzig sounds the most sinister and at ease.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger