8/10

Let’s get one thing straight first; whatever you do in your life, you will never be as cool as Glenn Danzig. Did you front Mistfits or Samhain? No? Have you ever written songs for Roy Orbison or the original man in black, Johnny Cash? Not that either? Did you even make the most essential gothic rock music of all time, with a band named after yourself? You think the bar is set too high? Not for Glenn Danzig, who’s done all of this and thus earned the right to just relax and sing some Elvis tunes if that’s what he wants do.

‘Danzig Sings Elvis’ will no doubt be a confusing album for some metalheads, many of whom think that music was invented in 1970 by Black Sabbath. They will scratch their heads and ask why the production sounds so basic, and wonder what a slapback echo is anyway? They will also be bewildered by the general absence of drums,  drummer Joey Castillo (ex-Queens of the Stone Age) is advertised on the album, but where the fuck is he? Is he the guy clapping his hands on ‘Fever’?  Danzig’s guitar sideman Tommy Victor also has the volume politely turned down, to the level that he sounds like he’s practicing guitar with someone napping in the same room. He’s no James Burton or Scotty Moore, but a great guitar player nonetheless and the subdued guitar tones adds some nice texture to Danzig’s vocals.

After a little basic Rock N Roll History 101, uneducated listeners might come to the realization that in the 1950’s, there was no such things as triggered drums and saturated guitars. Many of Elvis Presley’s biggest hits were cut in a tiny room in Sun Studios with a very small band, with only one or two microphones and without overdubs. This is evidently the approach Danzig takes with this record too, as he tries to make the music sound as traditional and roots based as possible, but still with some of that trademark Danzig darkness.

Danzig presents himself as a true Elvis connoisseur, steering far away from the most famous hits and instead opting for some obscure picks, like the Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge cover ‘Loving Arms’. His voice also sounds great, especially considering that he’s 64 years old and singing a collection of songs in which the majority was sung by Elvis in his early twenties.

Admittedly, it is a sort of  a silly prospect of hearing Danzig sing ‘Girl of My Best Friend’ and the very proposition of Glenn Danzig being a teenager who’s in love with your girlfriend. But just like the famous paparazzi photo of Glenn buying groceries and kitty litter while dressed in all black, he gets points for just showing up. He’s motherfucking Glenn Danzig, and you’re not.

Artist: Danzig
Title: Sings Elvis
Label: Cleopatra Records
Date of release: 24/4-20
Rate: 8/10
Stand out track:  Always On My Mind