Personnel: Tommy Victor (guitar).
Audio Mixers: Glenn Danzig; Chris Rakestraw.
Recording information: Sunset Lodge, Calif.
The Jersey-based horror-punk icon's first album in five years, Skeletons is best summed up by the man himself: "If you took Elvis and Sabbath out of my life, I would probably not be the Glenn Danzig you know." Comprising ten covers and sounding a bit like a raucous open-mike-night takeover (seriously, if Glenn Danzig sauntered into your local watering hole on amateurs night and handed the house band a set list, you would definitely stick around), Skeletons is a delight for longtime fans, especially those who lean harder toward the Misfits/Samhain end of the spectrum. Raw, rowdy, and devoid of any sort of studio chicanery, Skeletons feels less like a proper Danzig album and more like a home recording of a boozy late-night house show. Surprisingly, its slapdash, lo-fi demeanor mostly works in its favor. Opener "Devil's Angels," the theme song from the 1967 biker-sploitation film of the same name, bristles with melody-driven, Legacy of Brutality-era Misfits swagger, as does the pulpy "Action Woman" and "With a Girl Like You," the former a sugary take on the 1967 psych-rock nugget from the Litter and the latter a spirited, fidelity-deficient distillation of the 1966 Troggs hit. A lumbering, stoner metal re-imagining of Sabbath's "NIB" and a ballsy, muscled-up rendering of Presley's "Let Yourself Go" impress as well, but some of the slower numbers like "Find Somebody" (the Rascals) and "Crying in the Rain" (the Everly Brothers) are weighed down by vocal takes that sound like they were laid down after a ten-mile run. Lemons aside, Skeletons never pretends to be anything other than a vanity project (note the David Bowie Pin Ups-inspired cover photo), and it's certainly a hell of a lot more fun that 2010's brooding and shiftless Deth Red Sabaoth. By getting back to his roots, Danzig seems to have found a bit of the spark that made him such a formidable frontman in the '80s and '90s. Here's to hoping he channels a bit of that old hook-filled ultraviolence into future endeavors. Also, maybe hire a producer. ~ James Christopher Monger