Ever since Danzig began there have been talks of very strong unreleased tracks in existence and until now the vast majority of those tracks have remained completely unavailable in any form. This much-anticipated two-disc collection features unreleased songs spanning Danzig's entire discography, from Danzig I all the way on up to Circle of Snakes. According to Glenn, none of these tracks were deemed "too weak" for any of the albums, but rather did not fit into the "theme" or sound of the particular album and were therefore shelved. After sitting through this entire album three times I have come to the conclusion that Glenn isn't joking: These are mostly very strong tracks that stand their own ground; however, they aren't all great...but we'll get into that later.
The songs are basically placed in chronological order from the earliest post-Samhain recordings ("Pain Is Like an Animal") to the most recent Circle of Snakes sessions material ("Lady Lucifera"). The set also features three unreleased covers: David Bowie's "Cat People"; T. Rex's "Buick MacKane"; and the much-sought after version of the Germs' "Caught in My Eye."
The first disc features some very strong tracks. "Cold, Cold Rain" is a beautifully melodic ballad featuring Glenn at his crooning best; it's mind-boggling why it took so long for this song to surface. Other strong tracks include the very Samhain-like "Pain Is Like an Animal" and both versions of the 'not quite as rare' "When Death Had No Name" (which, in my opinion, is one of the best Danzig songs ever). On this disc we also get an alternate version of the song "Deep," which was originally featured on the "X-Files" movie soundtrack in 1998 and an acoustic version of "Come to Silver," the song Glenn wrote for Johnny Cash.
Then we have the troubling "White Devil Rise"...I am very confused by this song -- is Glenn a racist? I never thought so, but this song leaves many questions to be asked. Apparently this song was written in response to remarks made by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan towards what Glenn refers to as the "white race." This is where things confuse and trouble me -- I can understand writing a song attacking Farrakhan's attitude and beliefs, but rather than taking an intellectual and insightful approach to the song, Glenn instead retaliates with an equally racist and equally inflammatory statement. Apparently Glenn never heard that two wrongs do not make a right. Is Glenn racist? I doubt it. But in this song he sure sounds like it and I cringe at the thought of neo-Nazis worshipping Danzig over the release of this track; perhaps Glenn should have made a more intelligent song. The song itself is nothing particularly special; it isn't bad but it isn't anything that I would put amongst Danzig's best regardless of its lyrical content.
With the exception of that small bit of ugliness and a few weaker tracks the first disc is well worth the price of admission for Danzig fans and fans of hard music in general.
Thankfully, Disc 2 is even better. The songs are stronger and we get a Germs cover! The opening track "Lick the Blood Off My Hands" and the following "Crawl Across Your Killing Floor" are amazing and rank among Danzig's best; both are slow and creepy blues metal at its best. It's amazing given that these are apparently outtakes from Danzig 6: Satan's Child, with which they sound nothing alike. Glenn gives the Germs' "Caught in My Eye" a total facelift; where the original was a loud and vicious hardcore punk assault this version is a subdued, dark and creepy exercise in industrial metal. Other strong tracks on Disc 2 include the I Luciferi outtake "Bound by Blood" and the Circle of Snakes outtake "Lady Lucifera" (which Glenn claims is one of his favorite Danzig tracks).
Overall, with the exception of a few weak spots and one total disaster, this is a good collection that goes beyond the realm of most B-sides and rarities collections.
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