26/08/2004 

 

Intro : Wotans Procession

Skincarver

Circle of Snakes

1000 Devils reign

Skull Forrest

When we were dead

Night be Sodom

My Darkness

Netherbound

Black Angel, white Angel


Glenn Danzig - vocals, keys, guitars

Tommy Victor - lead guitar 

Jerry Montano - bass

Bevan Davies - drums

 


DANZIG: "Circle of Snakes"       danzig      regain records 

distributed in Switzerland by Irascible Distribution    

 

review by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo____   


synopsis - Circle of Snakes is dark and gloomy, yes. Only it is very Slow- Rock oriented:  a Rock with robust roots back to the 70's and 80's. Both a certain metropolitan modern suffocation  and Blues-y chords paint the always pounding rhythmic session, the overdriven strikes  and the cool solos. Unfortunately vocals are not that ace: with an "alcoholic" and false - unwilling tone,  which rarely shows power. Repetitiveness lies always in ambush in all tracks. Some of them are imo a pure flop but some others are  objectively a hammer. Circles of Snakes is no masterpiece, nevertheless more than  worth a try'n buy. Songs like Black Mass, Five Finger Crawl and Unspeakable  were another thing...but, like mentioned, some cool songs save the situation.  Netherbound is maybe the more original in this album

 

review - Circle of Snakes is announced as the darkest work from Danzig. There is surely a pronounced dark tone, mainly applied to a kind of Heavy Metal highly mixed with   Blues-Rock in full American concept. Circle of Snakes is quite different from albums who have delivered us tracks like Black Mass, or Unspeakable. Here the Rock ingredients are stronger, full of reminiscences for 70's and the 80's; sometimes streams of Blues indeed surface too. Distortions are in a middle way between new Type of Negative and very old Black Sabbath and very old Deep Purple , actually the   influences from Black Sabbath and Deep Purple's  rhythms and inspirations are more stronger than what it can seem at a first listening. In Circle of Snakes all this is mixed with Danzig pounding rhythmic session and his unmistakable vocals that here appear even more "alcoholic" and false-unwilling than the usual, but (sorry) without much energy. Though  Glenn actually delivers a varied range of tones. The pounding rhythmic session, that has been always a distinguishing mark of Danzig, still remains the more faithful and successful sector. Lead solos are good and very agreeable too (see Axe-man Tommy Victor of Prong). 

The main negative fact is that 3 tracks in the first part of the album are a total flop (the title track Circle of Snakes  + 1000 Devils reign and Skull Forrest) , moreover, imo, all songs are a bit repetitive, some in a "agreeable way" , some others not, not even Skincarver. In spite of a superficial mask there is not much original and deep in this album, nevertheless some tracks can be appreciated by all and can be included in a metalhead's playlist. Obviously, you can see  things in a different way if you're more Rock oriented than me. Personal taste remains personal taste. But my fav tracks are When we were dead , My Darkness, Netherbound , Black Angel , white Angel. The instrumental-chorus intro is a thing different from all the rest , in itself very positive. 

And let's begin in fact with
Wotans Procession: an intro that is totally "per se". Pounding and ritual, a bit repetitive but full of effect, with light choirs and guitars distorted in  Type o  Negative style . This track with its ritual appeal remains a bit isolated if compared with the body of the album, though  under the conceptual point a view  it can represent a valid beginning. A very cool track however!


Skincarver is one of the heaviest tracks, with an enthralling beginning, therefore Skincarver  promises much but doesn't keep all these enthusiastic promises. A  moment of force however, a launch in which Danzig's heaviness tries to give their best. Pity that , though not perfect, is followed by even worse tracks and precisely 3 ones.

The titletrack
Circle of Snakes is one of the biggest disappointments of this album, at least for me. Based on Rock mid tempo -rhythm with a recurrent use of awesome strokes of overdriven guitar and typical rock solos it shows however only easy and cheap hooklines, that re-put us violently (and doesn't matter the modern arrangement) back to a certain 70's 80's atmosphere without adding that much to anything. If you're not a huge rock fan it will be good only for the skipping . the same i could say for the following 1000 Devils reign that inspite of a more pounding rock structure and a pretty refrain (this must be underlined) it is not that exceptional: catchy yes , but easy enough and nothing more. Moreover in these 2 songs Danzig's vocal sound absolutely disagreeable at my ears and sometimes even boring. And if  we speak about boredom nothing in this album can beat the first part of Skull Forrest , that  apart a good final enhanced with a nice refrain and a climax in despair, lets you die of exasperation and boredom in this first part that has the aim to sound like full of  emptiness, but the result is almost unbearable. 

When we were dead wants communicate us a sense of heavy distorted fear with a touch of nocturnal metropolitan slow- rock, united with a sophisticated subtle eroticism and i must say that the result finally is excellent. Vocals too seem to get finally more power. 

Night be Sodom rocks a lot (in the best way of the term)with a catchy though again very easy refrain. it is played tight heavy , pressing . In the refrain the word Night is sung with force and gets the total foreground, while "be Sodom" becomes almost an inaudible  whisper. Very good and let's hope well! 
My Darkness is very gloomy and asphyxiating  with its  mighty hammering mid tempo- Rock/Heavy Metal . it seems that Danzig don't derail any more.  Yes,  from now on the album is getting the top of the slope: 
the imo irrefutable conclusion is easy to be taken:  the second part of the album is far and far better than the first one. 

The again heavy and gloomy Netherbound is very interesting, more original,  extremely cadenced: it is  an attractive poison. Its guitars are very atmospheric though always rock oriented. It is a really dark track for what this musical direction can produce. Black Angel, White Angel is the best way to close this CD: oh! the Heavy Metal tendency finally gets the advantage, with a lot of  rhythmic energy.

In conclusion i  am a bit disappointed  by this new Danzig, i really don't know  how the fans can react.
But if you like a Heavy Metal  with not many deep musical phrases but with a tight and pounding and gloomy almost blues_y , old fashioned Rock, proposed in a revamped dress, well ... in that case you can only jump from joy. And even more knowing that  the sound quality is excellent. 

rating: 7/10

 

dalia di giacomo    

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