There once was a time when punk and heavy metal were arch-enemies.
Certainly, the two were similar: loud, simple, angry and often (intentionally or not) comical, appealing primarily to young, bored suburbanites. The differences were subtle, if anything about those types of music can be described as subtle. But the young, bored suburbanites were divided into two camps who bitterly, and sometimes violently, opposed each other's tastes.
Sometime in the last half decade, though, the two have come together in a convoluted netherworld of thrash, speed-metal and a dozen other sub-genres.
One of the original bands to smudge the line between punk and metal was New Jersey's Misfits, led by singer Glenn Danzig. The Misfits broke up in 1983, but Danzig is still around, fronting an eponymous band and still making thrashy, trashy music.
Consisting of grungy power chords and wailing guitar solos over thumping rhythms, Danzig's music draws its influence equally from the New York punk scene and glam rockers like Kiss and Alice Cooper. The music is loud and simple, but the power chords and choruses make it extremely catchy.
The group would sound like 100 others, though, if not for Glenn Danzig's voice -- a muscular roar that dares anyone not to take him seriously.
Danzig's lyrics are pretty typical gloom-and-doom metal sentiments, typified by stanzas like "So if you wanna try Hell with me/ Let me show you what it's like" (an admittedly rough transcription). But unlike the salacious invitations of other metal bands, Danzig's offer of a tour of Hell is more an ineloquent Dante-type warning than a lure for the impressionable. Danzig seems to be imploring his listeners not to follow him into the Inferno.
In contrast to Dante's Homer, however, Danzig provides an enjoyable tour through the pit -- if you can stand the noise.
Danzig was preceded by Trouble, a band with a more decidedly metal bent. They sounded like Judas Priest on amphetamines, as it sped aggressively along behind a singer with a perfect heavy-metal banshee wail. More-than-adequate talent, tightness and power made the band's set convincingly solid.
On the other hand, openers Quicksand turned in a dull set of plodding numbers that would have been soporific if they hadn't been so loud.
Noisy New Jersey rockers
Wednesday in the Skyroom, 2186 Seneca St.