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Sound Check

12/2/2015

DanzigDanzig
“Skeletons”
Evilive/Nuclear Blast

Glenn Danzig is one of the most legendary names and voices in music today. On the surface, this makes “Skeletons” an interesting project: An artist who has inspired so many musicians releases an album of the songs that inspired him. Cool. The problem (if the album’s issues could be distilled down to just one) would be that a young Danzig drew inspiration from too many places. It turns out that not every song sounds that good when pushed through the Danzig filter. The whole album has a monotonous feeling to it that keeps anything from standing out from the pack. Instead, it’s a matter of which songs sound “right.” Some of the songs work: The Young Rascals’ “Find Somebody” is possibly the highlight of the album. Other songs, Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B.” being the biggest example, just come out sounding leaden and boring. CV

Dweezil ZappaDweezil Zappa
“Via Zammata”
MRI

I did not go in to “Via Zammata” with huge expectations. I came out thinking “holy shit.” As a prog-exploration album, there is nothing about “Via Zammata” that feels coherent or fluid. It is really less of an album, in the traditional sense, and more a collection of musical doodles. That, however, leaves each track free to explore whatever Zappa was feeling at that given moment, and the results are often surprisingly fun. The album is full of ridiculously quirky time signatures (“Funky 15” comes off in 15/8), garish musical explorations (the thunderously prog metal “Dragon Master,” co-written with his dad Frank), and the gloriously weird (“Malkovich,” with spoken word verses by John Malkovich, and the Zappa-sung chorus of “Malkovich, Malkovich, what the fuck are you talking about?”). It might only be good for a single listen — your mileage is sure to vary — but for as long as it lasts, “Via Zammata” is definitely a fun ride. CV

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