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Danzig, Glen: Black Aria II

After listening to Glen Danzig's Black Aria II--his follow-up to the 1992 release Black Aria—I decided to see what other reviewers had said about this album. This was many moons ago. There was basically none. Even today, August 28,2007, there are very few. The review has taken so long to do, because it is an incredibly difficult review to write. And this is why there are so few reviews of this album. I'm sure it's on several desks, with a reviewer looking at it from time to time thinking that they really ought to write their review. This is not rock, this is not punk, this is not metal, and this isn't quite the horrorcore he has done in the past.

While on the one hand one could just say, "If you like Black Aria, then you'll want to get Black Aria II." But I feel that that would lack any real worth, and a review of that liking would be an injustice to Danzig and this album.

Black Aria II, like the first, is classical composition. While there are some female operatic vocals these are just instruments, as there are no lyrics. The story the music is telling the story of Lilith, Adam's first wife. Fans of the romantic era of music have perhaps checked out programmatic pieces/symphonic poetry from composers such as Liszt, and Bedrich Smetana. The purpose of music in these compositions is to relate a scene, such as in Smetana's Vltava.

To perhaps give the listener a better idea of what this type music attempts to do, I'll borrow from Wikipedia this description of Vltava:

"The composition describes the course of the Vltava, starting from the two small springs, the Cold and Warm Vltava, to the unification of both streams into a single current, the course of the Vltava through woods and meadows, through landscapes where a farmer's wedding is celebrated, the round dance of the mermaids in the night's moonshine: on the nearby rocks loom proud castles, palaces and ruins aloft. The Vltava swirls into the St. John's Rapids; then it widens and flows toward Prague, past the Vyšehrad, and then majestically vanishes into the distance, ending at the Elbe."

Now take a story as complex as that of Lilith and tell that in music. And the listener is not really provided with a full description. It is very difficult to fully understand what Danzig was trying to do with the music at times. While some songs are vivid, others would benefit from hearing the thoughts in Danzig's head as he composed and recorded the album. Sometimes the titles of the songs offer enough of a clue of what the music is about, such as the Bridal Ceremony of the Lilitu. While some listeners will understand this album, many are going to be lost. Black Aria II is best listened to when one can shut him or herself off from the rest of the world for a while. While it can be put on as background music, the music demands more attention than that to truly have it take effect.

Black Aria, in comparison to Black Aria II, felt more energetic and more variations within a song, though not necessarily across songs. Several of the 'songs', such as "Abbandonment/Recreation" are fairly slow, repetitive and highly atmospheric. The formentioned song uses a gregorian like chant for much of it. However, Black Aria II may be more successful in creating certain scenes and emotions. For example, the emotions of isolation, coldness, and fear come out strong in the song "Zemaragad". And one can imagine a creepy wedding in the Bridal Ceremony of the Lilitu. Most likely the listeners and purchasers of this album will be those who have followed much of Danzig's career. However, this album, and the first Black Aria, are ones that fans of classical compositions could also enjoy, but they may never know of it, or be scared off by the name, titles of the songs, and album covers. It is too bad. Black Aria II is powerful piece of work.

Track Listing
1. Overture: Wicked Night Demon
2. Abbandonment/Recreation
3. Zemaragad
4. Lamia
5. Bridal Ceremony of the Lilitu
6. Dance of the Succubbi
7. Unclean Sephira
8. Lckr
9. The Succubus Feeds
10. Shiddin
11. Demons Reprise
12. Lamenta Lilith

Added: August 28th 2007
Reviewer: Scott Borre
Related Link: Danzig Website
Hits: 3145
Language: english

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