CD Reviews


Danzig Deth Red Sabaoth (Evilive)

Danzig stands among the giants of loud, heavy rock—Lemmy, Ozzy and the late Dio. The last six years, however, the Misfits mastermind has remained mostly quiet, choosing instead to revisit his earlier symphonic mode (2006’s Black Aria II) and collect unreleased material (2007’s The Lost Tracks of Danzig). With his legacy-building stalled, he needed a strong statement, and he makes it look easy with Death Red Sabaoth, his ninth studio effort under the Danzig name. First, the production: He used vintage instruments and gear, and the warm, organic approach stands in contrast to his previous emphasis on industrial beats. This is muscle-car music, and “On a Wicked Night,” which opens with country-ish acoustic guitar chords, delivers the skull-pounding goods. “The Revengeful,” meanwhile, will sever your eardrums with a lacerating metal riff. Don’t write off Deth as just another Danzig disc. ★★★★☆


Bret Michaels Custom Built (Poor Boy)

Successfully blocking out the reality-TV shenanigans and near-death tabloid tale of the ex-Poison frontman, I picked up his third solo offering with the only baggage in my head being the glam-metal masterpiece Look What the Cat Dragged In. Twenty years later, Custom Built confirms his talent as a pop-songsmith par excellence. There are first-rate country-pop songs here that, in the hands of the opposite gender (say, Taylor Swift), could become massive hits. “Riding Against the Wind,” for instance, possesses a crisp, commercial structure, and when Michaels sings the line “yesterday’s gone/I’m living for today”—presumably recorded before his hemorrhage—you can hear grit in his voice that will only grow grittier. “Nothing to Lose,” a duet with Miley Cyrus, is a surprisingly gorgeous ballad, and when he digs into a full-on country version of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” it strikes me that, hey, this Michaels guy ain’t bad, even when he [shudder] covers a Sublime song. ★★★☆☆


Wolf Parade Expo 86 (Sub Pop)

Canadian indie-rock champions Wolf Parade return with their third album, a more polished and uptempo pop assortment than what we might have expected from this typically moody quartet. Named after the World’s Fair event in Vancouver, when Parade members were just little kids, Expo 86 excels as an off-kilter power-pop record meant to conjure the heady, forward-looking, Epcot-like atmosphere of the ’80s. The perky synth lines and rough bass textures of “Ghost Pressure” are alluring, as are the sleepy-headed lyrics to another track, “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)”: “I don’t think I should be sorry/for things I do in dreams,” sings co-frontman Spencer Krug. Still, as compelling as this studio album is (it was mostly recorded live to tape), the band’s flesh-and-blood performances are even better. Somebody book them to play Crown Theater, please! ★★★★☆

Suggested Next Read

Jonah Hex (PG-13)

Movie Review

Jonah Hex (PG-13)

“Slipshod” doesn’t begin to express the approach that its team of screenwriters and clueless director (Jimmy Hayward) take in making a pejoratively cartoonish movie.



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