Danzig - Danzig Sings Elvis (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Danzig Sings Elvis (2020)


Here’s something you didn’t expect- the sensitive side of Glenn Danzig. For over 40 years, the creator of Horror punk has waxed tales about succubae, ripping off people’s heads, blasting people apart with shotguns, summoning unnamed evils, lycanthropy, and doing just the meanest, nastiest, most evil things. Yet here, on Danzig Sings Elvis, which Danzig has hinted in recent interviews may very well be his final album, the man pushes all of that aside and leans fully into humanity.

Danzig has made no bones about being an Elvis fan, often referring to the King in interviews and even covering Mr. Presley in Misfits, Samhain, and the Danzig band (multiple times!) But, each of those covers were evil-fied, with Danzig taking the King’s lyrics and putting them to a jacked-up, sinister metal backing.

Not so here. On this release, Danzig uses a stripped down production on every track, sometimes using just a bass and maybe a piano to ride under his voice. Where Danzig has succeed above his contemporaries is his dedication to the blues, crooning, and actually giving a full bodied vocal performance- no doubt learned directly from the King himself, and perhaps a few like minded paisans. He does that here, showing remarkable sensitivity. “First in line” and “love me” are both genuine tales of heartbreak that Danzig delivers with conviction and appreciation. His voice is not quite the full-power blues howl that it was in the 90s, but, hey, what can you do? Instead of trying to cloak this with studio tricks (which often rob a recording of any true emotion or feeling), he puts his vocals on bright display as compared to the sparse musical backing. It’s not quite the unrestrained dissection that Johnny Cash’s American Recordings series was, but it leans in that direction.

Skill wise, Danzig is as dedicated as he has ever been. “Pocket Full of Rainbows” (surely, a title you never expected to see on a Danzig album) is a vocal workout in of itself, made all that much more difficult by the fact that the song is a quiet, introspective track, but Danzig takes the track head on. It’s also nice that he appears to be having fun. On classic “Let’s Play House” Danzig goes full on Elvis in Vegas mode, with all of the energy and sincerity one would expect and, somehow, he trims away any corniness that might arise. Also see “Fever,” which has been recorded by hundreds of artists, where Danzig sings along to a late night jazz club backdrop. More “careful” artists might have shied away from a task like this, picking safer artistic choices. Danzig dares to go for it, and he hits the mark.

It’s not surprising that Danzig has recorded a full Elvis covers album. The project has been hinted at by fans pretty much since Danzig 1. And that’s not to mention the Danzig Legacy video special he recorded wherein he took set dressing from The Elvis Comeback special. But, what is surprising, is that perhaps for the first time, we see the unfiltered, sensitive, human side of Glenn, not Danzig.