Danzig - _Circle of Snakes_
(Regain Records / Evillive, 2004)
by: Jackie Smit (
It is truly a crying shame that the eighth Danzig full-length should be released amidst the controversy of something as ultimately trivial as the now infamous North Side Kings punch-up. This is especially true when you consider the steady increase in quality that has marked recent Danzig efforts, following critical basting lavished on the widely panned _Blackacidevil_. One could therefore only hope that when all is said and done that the Evil Elvis is remembered for making good music -- an ability that is demonstrated repeatedly by the material on _Circle of Snakes_ -- rather than the tabloid controversy that seems to be hovering above him these days.Although he is once again sporting a brand new line-up following the departure/firing of Howie Pyro, Todd Youth and Joey Castillo, the gloom-drenched opening of "Wotan's Procession" makes it infinitely clear that _Circle of Snakes_ is going to be classic Danzig and very little in between. That said, songs like the double-kick led "Skin Carver" and the blacker than black (pun intended) "Skull Forest" show off a much darker and heavier sound than probably anything Glen has offered up in his career thus far. But ultimately -- as has been the case since the Samhain days -- Danzig is at his most curiously effective when he slows down and reveals his more pensive side. And, as _Satan's Child_ had "Cold Eternal" and _I Luciferi_ had "Without Light I Am", so the highlight of _Circle of Snakes_ turns out to be "Netherbound" -- a bleak, heartfelt ode to... well, who knows, really. _Circle of Snakes_ is pretty much everything you could want from a Danzig record, and while it is unlikely to convert any new acolytes to the man's cause, after nearly three decades in the music industry, I doubt that's something he pays too much attention to these days.
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