May 08, 2001
Restless Records
Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Alternative Metal

Album Review

It's been a while since Danzig made music that was even marginally significant, and it's been even longer since he last collaborated with the Misfits, the seminal punk band he co-founded with Jerry Caiafa in 1977. Since breaking up his original backup band (Eerie Von, Chuck Biscuits, John Christ) after the release of Danzig IV, Danzig has been touring and recording with an ever-changing cast of heavy metal stagehands, producing loud, abrasive rock filled with masturbatory solos and plenty of nods to the buff singer's favorite muse, good ol' Lucifer. Now, diehard fans can feast on Live on the Black Hand Side, a high-priced, two-disc tour souvenir that commemorates Danzig's fall from grace in a conveniently linear, chronological fashion. The first disc captures Danzig in the early '90s, performing all the "hits" from his first lousy solo effort, 1992's Danzig III: How the Gods Kill. (If Danzig and Danzig II treaded cautiously along the fine line between clever and stupid, How the Gods Kill boldly crossed the line, venturing into the realm of self-parody.) The guitars are screaming and Danzig's distinctive crooning (imagine an unholy hybrid of Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, and Dio) adds a bit of raw passion to fine renditions of "Dirty Black Summer" and "Pain in the World," but the recording is muddy, and the vocals distorted enough to make mediocre numbers like "Godless" and "How the Gods Kill" unlistenable. The second disc isn't much better. Amazingly, the sound quality is worse, which is odd considering that it was recorded with big, expensive equipment in 2000. Nevertheless, it's more of the same -- Danzig performing a handful of early hits and misses with varying degrees of success. This time he's accompanied by guitarist Todd Youth, bassist Howie Pyro, and drummer Joey Castillo, conventional metalheads who clearly lack the sense of restraint that made Von, Biscuits, and Christ such a tight unit. The band plunders through obligatory renditions of "Mother," "Twist of Cain," and "She Rides," as well as material from embarrassments like 1999's Satan's Child and 2000's Blackacidevil, but the music is barely audible and even Danzig sounds disinterested. It's enough to make one wonder why he ever bothered to release Live on the Black Hand Side, a glorified bootleg that seems like an afterthought.
Rossiter Drake, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Godless
  2. Left Hand Black
  3. How the Gods Kill
  4. Dirty Black Summer
  5. Pain in the World
  6. Evil Thing
  7. Halloween II
  8. Not of This World
  9. Kiler Wolf
  10. Little Whip
  11. Going Down to Die
  12. Bringer of Death
  13. Stalker Song
  14. Long Way Back from Hell
  15. Satan's Child
  16. 7th House
  17. 5 Finger Crawl
  18. Unspeakable
  19. Lilin
  20. Her Black Wings
  21. It's Coming Down
  22. Do You Wear the Mark
  23. Until You Call on the Dark
  24. Deep
  25. Belly of the Beast
  26. She Rides
  27. Twist of Cain
  28. Mother