Danzig

I Luciferi

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Thankfully, I Luciferi finds Glenn Danzig rediscovering his bloody rock & roll cojones after two lackluster pseudo-industrial artistic stumbles, 6:66 Satan's Child and Blackacidevil. So yes, I Luciferi is a throwback of sorts to Danzig's heyday, when Danzig, Danzig II: Lucifuge, and Danzig III: How the Gods Kill (and maybe Danzig 4) were staples in any self-respecting punter's CD changer. So the album kicks off with mid-tempo ripper "Black Mass" sounding impressively sinister, if a bit ham-fisted in the riff department, with Danzig's howling vocals clean and creepy and the lyrics as black as Satan's pupils. Balls-out bombastic rocker "Liberskull" and dirge-like album-closer "Without Light, I Am" are the best Danzig cuts to tickle the devil's undercarriage since the widely underrated, richly textured Danzig 4, which boasted Glenn Danzig's most accomplished and varied songwriting -- before his top-notch backing unit (guitarist John Christ, bassist Eerie Von, and drummer Chuck Biscuits) bailed, presumably preferring career oblivion over Danzig's ego. And that's precisely where I Luciferi is lacking; without a truly blistering unit behind the Jim Morrison-emulated, Evil Elvis singer, "Halo Goddess Bone," "God of Light," and "The Coldest Sun" lack the spark that forces riffs into nasty black underground nether-regions. Instead, the guitars chug Rob Zombie-style during the verses and drone atmospherically during the choruses, the songs left needing a wicked John Christ-like virtuoso touch. Still, the leathered biker swagger of the title track and "Naked Witch" are worthy listens, although "Kiss the Skull" cranks a Dumbo-eared Marilyn Manson arrangement and "Wicked Pussycat" is depressingly obvious and quite embarrassing, too comic book-like and tongue-in-cheek for its own good. Uneven as I Luciferi is, it's a quite listenable and welcome return to truly metallic form for Glenn Danzig, who, for the most part, successfully aims for the gray area between truly menacing evil and nudge-nudge wink-wink dark humor -- something conveyed best on early Danzig material. Sure, his best years are most likely behind him at this point, but I Luciferi proves that this old snake still has some venom left in his fangs.

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