Blackest of the Black is Danzig’s answer to Ozzfest. He felt the corporate festival booked nothing but shitty nü-metal bands and decided to create his own, non-corporate, DIY event. Not exactly a festival, Blackest of the Black is a full night of some pretty dark metal. This year’s line-up was arguably one the weakest since it’s debut in 2003 but I was really just there to see Danzig anyway. This 55 year old man killed it as the headliner of Fun Fun Fun fest last year and recently released his best album in 16 years. Seeing a few bands open up for him would be fun, but seeing Danzig tear the roof off the small Ogden Theater would be the main event…the reason we were all there.
This year’s Fun Fun Fun fest’s headliners, Bad Religion, were playing just next door at the Fillmore, splitting the Denver crowd quite a bit. Neither show sold out. But what might have been a financial hit for the artists and venues was a welcome surprise for the fans. We were able to watch the openers with plenty of room to move around on the balcony and secure a perfect spot on the floor for Danzig.
The show started at 7:00pm with Withered, followed by Toxic Holocaust. We were in the Highlands having dinner while these bands were playing, so I don’t have anything to say about them. When I got up to the stage at around 9:00pm, Marduk were performing. This Swedish black metal band, who are supposedly the most blasphemous band ever, were pretty disappointing. These guys can spout out anti-Christian sentiments just like the rest of them, but they also mix in crap about WWII, the Nazis and other controversial subjects. The problem is, they were actually pretty weak on stage. There songs all sounded the same, they have no personality and after seeing Watain, these guys looked no more evil or blasphemous than anyone in the crowd. I was expecting to be frightened and I ended up being bored.
Possessed were up next. This influential bay area death metal band only consists of one member of the classic 80’s line-up…vocalist Jeff Becerra. There seemed to be a lot of older metalheads at the show who were stoked to be seeing these guys. They had that old school sound and the guys Jeff amassed for the new version of the band had no problem recreating that metal sound from days past. The most interesting aspect of their set wasn’t the music though, it was Jeff himself. The man is paralyzed from the waist down. I have never seen a metal singer in a wheelchair before and it was pretty incredible to see him get back and forth on the stage while belting out growls and grunts and driving the crowd into a frenzy. Damn impressive.
Danzig took the stage just after 11:00pm to the instrumental Wotans Procession before going into Skincarver from 2004’s Circle of Snakes. Twist of Cain was up next and that’s when I realized something was very wrong with the sound. His voice didn’t sound like it did at FFF last year, in fact it sounded like shit. I knew it had to be something with the mic or the mix and they better fix it fast! Ruining Twist of Cain is as blasphemous as Marduk claim to be! This continued through Hammer of the Gods. You could see the anger starting to boil in Danzig. Stomping around the stage, trying to yell into the mic and finally throwing it at the ground with a POP!
“This mic fucking sucks! Don’t hand me a mic that doesn’t fucking work! That’s like handing giving someone a guitar with no strings and saying ‘Kick ass!'”
Luckily the problem was remedied before Glenn turned into the black Hulk and everything sounded 1000% better for Deth Red Moon, one of those great songs from the new album. With everything fixed, the show kicked it up a notch. The set consisted of material from his first four albums, the classic albums, with material from Deth Red Sabaoth mixed in. Ju Ju Bones was the only song that didn’t have the crowd pumps their fists and singing along. But Thirteen, written for Johnny Cash and made famous from The Hangover, was a great follow up.
The main set ended with Mother, ‘as you as could’ve guessed’, and proved once again that Danzig is ageless. He sounds just like he did the first time I saw him in 1994.
The encore started with She Rides. This is one of my favorites but I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have like because I was anticipating the next song, keeping my fingers crossed that he wouldn’t leave without doing Long Way Back From Hell. My worries turned out to be unfounded and my favorite Danzig song closed out a great night of music!
Danzig – Deth Red Sabaoth
Danzig‘s best since his essential first four albums. Recorded in a lo-fi, 70’s garage style, this album almost makes up for his progressive phase.