Melody Maker, 10/22/88 ---------------------- THE DEAD ZONE By Mick Mercer DANZIG Def American Is this a swagger I see before me? Have all four men deliberately parked articulated lorries in their lower jaws? If that is what it takes to expunge prissy thrash metal bands from at least one corner of a page forever charitably abused, then this is a bathosphere with a difference. A noble berth, whatever the duration. Two years in the making, "Danzig" wears its dogma like a penis extension, proudly. In fact it waves it in your face. It offers nothing but nightmares and, as we all know, nightmares are for wimps. It takes it upon itself to be a test. Glenn Danzig, who, in his frenzy, has swallowed his tongue on some tracks, rails against lack of motivation. He questions shortfalls in social momentum, but his only answers involve pain and humiliation. Even death. The voice that paralyses this album is out of control, yet seems impressive. A suit of armour on castors. The music harks backwards in time, supple in its sonic exposure, a rarified massacre in an air-lock. Often the drums of Chuck Biscuits (so named after an embarrassing episode in Sainsbury's?) Hardly seem to be there, totally absorbed into John Christ's guitar, flashing through electrified stubble, defecating like a cheeta in full flight. In "Not Of This World", Glenn steals up behind him and lets out a long, liquid howl. The ever resourceful Rubin just dropped a safe on his foot. Brevity is their watchword. Empty, desolate, sometimes disquietingly inviting, Danzig can change moods faster than the cracking of skulls. From the teaspoonful of meekness accidentally revealed in "Soul On Fire", complete with the ghost of Jim Morrison, to the pressing heart attack of "Am I Demon" they come close to giving The Night a decent voice. There are bass notes like sparrowhawks, dodging and infuriating the vertical take-off of Christ during the echo-assisted "Evil Thing", there is a concerted rape of the spleen throughout "Mother", one of the most hair-raising, hellraising, experiences of the year. Moronic it may be, but did you never thrill to the sight of William Shatner trying to run? Personally I'm glad they live in America, although several thousand miles never seem so small, because there are many reasons to be tearful. They have stripped everything down to the bare bones, where humanity is dead. Not for them the art of scrimshaw. They just want to suck the marrow. Most metal bands mean well, when it would be better for us if they didn't. Dramatic, bordering on the nauseatingly twee, you know they never mean what they gargle. Danzig, who would like to nestle inside your brain, walk about in your dreams and "light you up like Christmas" (?!!!) Appear to mean every dreadful word. They'll make you wish you'd never been bored. Home, safety, rationality? Forget it.