w/Doyle, Himsa, guests

Tues Oct 4, Premier,

$25 adv, 5:30 pm, all ages.

Danzig release gloomy blues-metal albums every other year, with last year's Circle of Snakes marking their last unheralded appearance on record-store shelves. The group's diminutive muscleman singer has vanished from the airwaves, but he keeps slugging it out, like an aging boxer fighting without medical clearance. Frontman Glenn Danzig is now metal's Rocky Balboa, an inspiring underdog and bighearted mentor.

It's misguided to liken Danzig to Ozzy Osbourne, another pop-culture icon who slurs words like a punch-drunk palooka. Like Osbourne, Danzig has made himself top totem on a rock fest. But where the former chooses senior-discount headliners, Danzig's current Blackest of the Black bill showcases up-and-coming acts and obscurities. This year's lineup, a compelling cross section of extreme-music genres, includes Behemoth, Mortiis, Chimaira, the Agony Scene, and Seattle's own Himsa. Danzig's genuine next-generation zeal clashes with Osbourne's sponsor-driven philosophy.

While Ozzfest is like the flashy promoter in Rocky V, promising giant arenas and broad exposure, where's the love? Danzig rejects hoary gimmicks like frequent reunions and fraudulent final tours. He smartly sat out the pseudo-Misfits recordings and that group's disastrous, blasphemous Warped Tour sets. Instead he's inserting an all-Misfits jam session with guitarist Doyle von Frankenstein into his Blackest sets, resurrecting this material with a band that can do it justice.

It might seem strange to discuss songs about zombies as if they were sacred, but Danzig's work deserves respect, both for its uncompromising demon-driven aesthetic and its consistent quality. He might not be selling many records, but he's also not selling out.