Black Laden Crown
(Nuclear Blast Records/Evilive Records)

The first Danzig album of original material since 2010’s Deth Red Sabbaoth (2015’s disappointing Skeletons consisted strictly of cover songs) is, for the most part an improvement over said recent releases, though the often amateurish (and at times even shoddy) mixing/production values do hinder things a bit. Songs like “Last Ride,” “Blackness Falls,” and the title track all echo of the bands’ heyday, while less impressive numbers like “Eyes Ripping Fire” and “Devil on Hwy 9” embarrassingly trudge along (the latter of which containing one of the weakest vocal tracks recorded to date in the entire Danzig catalog, at least in my opinion).

Former drummer Joey Castillo’s return to the band after ten-plus years is a welcome addition, while bassist Steve Zing’s absence in the recording process once again is puzzling (guitarist Tommy Victor yet again performed all of the bass parts here).

I really wanted to love this one as much as such old-school releases as How the Gods Kill or Lucifuge, but unfortunately it’s just a tad under par to put alongside any of those classic records. Black Laden Crown isn’t about to propel the band back into the hearts of a mainstream audience, but at the very least, it should still pacify many a die-hard Danzig fan.

Purchase the album here: iTunes | Amazon

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