Thursday, August 16, 2007

In the mid 90’s when I was just out of High School I remember a conversation with a fellow hardcore kid about the lack of real metal available. Death metal had been great, but by 1995 it had hit a layover valley on its way to a more technical and stronger future. It was a tough time for metal in general (a transition period in hindsight), and most metalcore being played in VFW halls by sxe kids just wasn’t cutting it. Mercyful Fate had reformed, but that was more of a touring thrill than an excitement about new material. King Diamond had started to drift. Iron Maiden didn’t have Bruce anymore. Michale Graves was fronting some band. Times were tough. We both knew it would swing again to greater heights as unknown records would someday be released by bands more brutal and heavier than we could ever imagine. It would work itself out, but we sadly acknowledged that at that moment we stood in a desert of sorts. At that same moment we took a great deal of comfort in agreeing that Danzig proudly and solely was metal’s standard bearer. In the good times, bad times, and in between times, Glenn was there, man. Every 2-3 years another Danzig record would come out and it would be good. It was a gimme. We both talked about many records that evening but I always remember agreeing easily on the strength of the Killer Wolf upon parting.

Well, within a short year or so that BlackAcidDevil record was released. What a heart breaker. Glenn had let us all down. Granted, good metal soon came back around in numerous new splintered variations so it all worked out, though it was tough to take considering the throne we had placed Glenn’s output on. The subsequent records were better, but still horribly mediocre compared to what the Misfits, Samhain, and first 4 Danzig records showed us we could expect. I saw the Satan’s Child/Samhain Reunion tour and loved it -- completely satisfying and impressive. I had calmly given up on the possibility of any impressive studio output while still knowing that the live shows would deliver, kind of like Slayer.

All of this chatter leads me to just how impressive the Lost Tracks of Danzig is -- two discs of chronologically organized B-sides and unreleased tracks that are easily up to the quality of the first 4 records. Disc 1 is stellar and disc 2 is closer to lukewarm, though still highly listenable. I still doubt that Danzig has any brand new material worth getting excited about, but this is a killer release. Hey, the Killer Wolf is in his 50’s after all. Time is marching on for all of us.

Friday, August 10, 2007

After a recent trip home I grabbed all of 7” records (maybe 75 or so) and brought them up to Madison. Bringing all of my 12”s would be a little too brutal of an undertaking considering the size of my apt, but thankfully my 7”s don’t consumer as much space. Before moving away from Chicago a few years ago I did some legitimate pruning of my records, trying to ebay away everything that had absolutely no value to me. It seemed tough at the time but I can’t say that I miss any of the records I jettisoned. I do think back on the blue marble One Truth 12” by Strife that I unloaded, but every time I listen to a Strife song I remember that the band never really did it for me. I think I just liked the idea of a mint, gatefold lp on blue marble. I used to buy 7”s constantly at shows -- it’s so easy to just give anything a try for 3 measly bucks. It’s even easier to give something a try if you know it’s a limited color or pressing, never escaping the record nerd part of myself that knows that I could trade or sell it down the road and do just fine. I was never a speculator, but rather just aware of the market in place that would someday lead me to possibly getting the Negative Approach 7”, or Mercyful Fate’s Live From the Depths of Hell 12” (two unfulfilled quests so far).

So now I’m on a new project to listen to the entire collection again and find out what I’ve completely forgotten I own, what I used to love but now just cannot get into, and what I remember as mediocre that is now so much more than that. I was always a lukewarm Mouthpiece fan but their final 7” Face Tomorrow is really rubbing me the right way. I remember liking it better than the lp, but not this much. We’ll see what happens as more sxe goodies are reevaluated.