Black Aria

Glenn Danzig

Plan 9, 1992

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Anyone who picked up the 1992 solo effort from Glenn Danzig, Black Aria, and who didn't read the disclaimer in the liner notes that this was not a rock album, had to be wondering just what they had purchased. After all, this is not a disc that sounds like any Misfits, Samhain, or Danzig album that had been released to that point. This was instrumental (save for a few female vocals used as texture), it was dark...and it demanded that the listener actually think.

Although this album debuted at the top of the Billboard classical charts, I'd have a difficult time calling this disc strictly a classical album, but not due to any fault of the music. In fact, Black Aria is a surprisingly good effort from Danzig, with one major's too damned short.

Comprised of a mere nine tracks, the first six reference Paradise Lost and the epic rebellion of Lucifer against God, resulting in Lucifer's banishment from Heaven with all angels who dared to rise up against God. And even without a storyline to follow along with – indeed, just by looking at the titles of the pieces – Danzig successfully captures the essence of the tale through his music.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This isn't to say it's perfect. “Conspiracy Dirge” seems like it was begging to be further developed, and while it definitely fits the mold of being a dirge, it seems like it is more of a work that was left incomplete. As strong as they are, even some of the longer pieces (none of which stretch past four minutes) such as “Battle For Heaven” and “Retreat And Descent” seem to be shells of what could have been.

In fact, much of Black Aria seems like it could have been developed into a true epic work. Though shorter songs such as “Dirge Of Defeat” and “And The Angels Weep” are still quite good as they are, one shudders to think what kind of power they might have had, if Danzig had strived to fully develop these pieces into magnificent works of art. (Perhaps this is what drove Danzig to record and release Black Aria II – an album I have yet to listen to, so I don't know if it's the continuation of this tale.)

The remaining three tracks, at least in title, seem to have less to do with the previous storyline, but continue the musical trek into the dark side of existence. “Shifter,” “The Morrigu,” and “Cwn Anwnn” all have very strong moments, but like their predecessors, almost beg to be part of something larger and more epic.

Note that I'm not saying Danzig failed in his efforts – in fact, this disc is quite strong as it is. And I will admit I didn't have high expectations going into this disc, but walked away more than pleasantly surprised with the quality of Danzig's work. Indeed, if there ever was any question of his talent as a composer, this should quench those doubts. But knowing Danzig's interest in all forms of media, one wonders what would happen if he were to expand upon these efforts and combine them with a Fantasia-like film (and I'm not talking about the scenes of the centaurs prancing around in the gardens) that detailed the rise and fall of Lucifer. Methinks it would make one hell of a film, with a soundtrack that you wouldn't soon forget.

As it sits, Black Aria is one of those albums that can easily be called a “hidden gem” waiting to be discovered by music fans of all genres. It was an impressive effort, but one wonders just how powerful this disc could have been.

Rating: B

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