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The Misfits: Famous Monsters **; Danzig: 6:66: Satan's Child *

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Rossiter Drake*

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THE MISFITS: Famous Monsters
DANZIG: 6:66: Satan's Child
(Courtesy of The Oberlin Review)

Twelve years after Glenn Danzig decided to sever ties to longtime partner Jerry Caiafa and embark upon a solo career, the former Misfits frontman continues to produce loud, abrasive metal with his latest bandmates, bassist Josh Lazie and drummer Joey Castillo. Their latest effort, 6:66: Satan's Child, is a passable fusion of screaming guitars and wild electronic beats, featuring enough generic hard rock to impress the legions of prepubescent Korn and Limp Bizkit fans who wouldn't know a classic Misfits tune if it fell on them.

Unfortunately, Satan's Child does not live up to the impossibly high standards set by his work with the Misfits or even his strongest solo material (Danzig, Thrall: Demonsweatlive).

That's not to say that Danzig has forgotten how the gods rock on this, his seventh solo effort. The title track is an energetic rocker that exhausts listeners with bludgeoning riffs and dense, pounding rhythms, just as the opening number, "Five Finger Chant," launches a joyfully menacing attack on the senses -- even if it suffers from poor mixing that drowns the aging metalhead's crooning in a sea of distortion. And "Into the Mouth of Abandonement" shrewdly borrows the hook from Danzig's "Twist of Cain" for its creepy, if derivative, tale of angst and alienation.

Inspiration on Satan's Child is running thin throughout, and too often it seems that Danzig is just going through the motions. His lyrics are riddled with tired cliches and predictable rhymes ("Some have to have/Some like to bleed/The more they take/The more you need"), a far cry from the clever humor that he once invested in seminal punk anthems like "Ghoul's Night Out" and "Hollywood Babylon."

To make matters worse, many of the tracks on 6:66 seem cold, even clinical. They've got the thunderous guitars, the masturbatory solos and all the other head-banging bullshit that Danzig fans have come to expect from their cartoonish hero. But Satan's Child is missing the soul and the urgency that made Danzig a star in the first place. That's a shame, because there is still talent here, and it's going to waste.

For their part, the remaining members of the Misfits (Caiafa and his brother, Doyle) regrouped in 1995 to begin recording American Psycho, their first full-length album of new material since 1985's Legacy of Brutality.

For Psycho, a lackluster effort that proved rust really does sleep, they enlisted the help of singer Michale Graves and drummer Dr. Chud. Now, that quartet has returned with Famous Monsters, a collection of 18 new tracks overstuffed with thunderous guitar riffs and lyrical gore. And though Caiafa and his fellow fiends do their best to recreate the sound that once made the Misfits one the most ferocious punk acts in the world, Monsters serves notice that this band's prime has long since disappeared into the rearview mirror.

To its credit, Monsters looks and feels like a classic Misfits album. It's got the overblown lyrics ("Cutting with a knife/Blood is spilling everywhere/She will be my wife/Secondary spine incisions must be accurate") and the aggressive harmonies that helped to define the band's sound during its eight-year heyday. It even has a couple of tracks ("Hunting Humans," "The Forbidden Zone") that make fine additions to the band's illustrious catalogue. But alas, the irresistible melodies that once graced songs like "Teenagers from Mars" and "Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?" are missing from this latest effort. Gone too are the unique vocal stylings of Danzig, who is aped and mimicked -- but never equaled -- by Graves.

Clearly, the new Misfits, like Danzig, have settled into a cold, calculated groove. They are no longer the pioneering punks who opened the doors for White Zombie and Marilyn Manson. Instead, they are content to coast on a wave of nostalgia, producing dull carbon copies of past hits for a new generation of bloodthirsty, hormonally charged teenagers. -- Rossiter Drake

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