When I purchased Danzig around 1989 or 1990, the metal scene was saturated with hair bands, thrash acts such as Metallica and Slayer were in a creative decline, and Pantera was about to introduce a style that would ruin it for everybody. I bought this album because I was looking for something different and “Mother” was receiving airplay on metal radio, but it was quite a pleasant surprise to discover how good the rest of the record was.
Metal follows trends just like any other music genre, and as a result many bands sound alike. It is pretty safe to say that no other band sounds like Danzig. If you are tired of cookie monster vocals, blast beats, and “technicality”, this record is for you. The instrumentation is straightforward and minimalist, and Glenn Danzig’s vocals range from howling to crooning, powerful to subtle. The lyrics are poetic and would sound clichéd if sung by any other vocalist, but Glenn Danzig delivers them with depth and emotion. Danzig manages to combine satanic and occult themes, gothic imagery, and sexuality into a unique package. I have heard them played in a strip club (“She Rides”), how many other legitimate metal bands can make that claim?
The record is a gem from start to finish. “Twist Of Cain”, “She Rides”, and “Mother” are probably the most familiar to metalheads, but other tracks stand out as well. You will bang your head to “Am I Demon” while “Soul On Fire”, “End Of Time”, and “Evil Thing” are also excellent songs. The mood overall is cold, dark and bleak, sometimes mysterious and ethereal. This is undoubtedly a metal record but one that is heavy without relying on speed or volume. Stylistically, it bears quite a bit of resemblance to Judas Priest during the era of Sad Wings Of Destiny, Sin After Sin, and Stained Class.
No metalhead should ever forget that Danzig carried the torch for years during some of metal’s leaner years. In an era dominated by grunge and alternative, the band refused to compromise and gave hope to an embattled metal audience. This is an outstanding debut record and is rivaled only by Danzig IV in terms of quality. It is definitely worth a purchase.