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Danzig - "Deth Red Sabaoth" (CD)

Danzig - "Deth Red Sabaoth" CD cover image

"Deth Red Sabaoth" track listing:

1. Hammer of the Gods (5:22)
2. The Revengeful (4:12)
3. Rebel Spirits (4:00)
4. Black Candy (4:10)
5. On a Wicked Night (4:03)
6. Deth Red Moon (3:59)
7. Ju Ju Bone (4:47)
8. Night Star Hel (6:43)
9. Pyre of Souls: Infanticle (3:19)
10. Pyre of Souls: Seasons of Pain (7:19)
11. Left Hand Rise Above (4:23)

Reviewed by on June 7, 2010

"The strength of Danzig's classic material has always been two points - simple, primal, blues based metal and Glenn's powerful mid-range vocals. And let it be known, the first element is here in force."

Danzig. Even if you've never heard the band, the name is so ubiquitous in heavy and punk music you're bound to at least seen it's menacing skull logo before. Mastermind Glenn Danzig stole the hearts of many a disaffected youth in horror-punk band Misfits, gained a cult following with the occult obsessed Samhain and captured the minds of metal fans with his blues based metal journeys in the eponymous band. Like many heavy artists trying to survive the 90s however, he attempted a switch to industrial music, which like many others trying the same tactic, failed to impress fans with lackluster material.

We are gathered here today to discuss Danzig's new album, the fantastically titled "Deth Red Sabaoth." The strength of Danzig's classic material has always been two points - simple, primal, blues based metal and Glenn's powerful mid-range vocals. And let it be known, the first element is here in force. The riffs on this album are all around quality material, eschewing the static industrial nature of "Circle of Snakes" and returning to the blueprint of blues that worked so well for the band. The material only really falters on "On A Wicked Night," and even then it's hardly a bad song. Each song draws on repetition of a few solid, catchy and rocking (did I just say rocking?) guitar riffs, and the songs range the gamut of Danzig material. There's pounding blues songs such as "Ju Ju Bone," classic heavy material like "Rebel Spirits," dark haunting tracks like "Left Hand Rise Above," and great melodic-hook tracks like "Deth Red Moon," which is destined to be a new Danzig staple.

As with most aging rock stars (*cough* *Hetfield* *cough*) there tends be many an accusation of vocal degradation, which is inevitable over time (unless you're Rob Halford of course, which you're not). But this isn't a live show after one too many whiskeys; this is a well sung full length in which Glenn is the star of the show. Apart from garbling the phrase "Left Hand Rise Above" on the album's closer, the rest of the album shows the man in good form and belting out the satanic Elvis impersonation in true Danzig style. It won't top Lucifuge but it'll do.

Most of the stars in the metal world seemed to have aligned for this album, literally as well as figuratively. On drums is none other than Glenn's good friend and Type O Negative drummer, guitar features Prong guitarist Tommy Victor and on through the bands bassist. Samhain member Steve Zing, Glenn recorded most of the tracks. The whole band puts up a good show and Victor's juvenile, wah-swamped shreds fit in well with the music in the same fashion they did for bands like St. Vitus.

And though of course the largest draw-card of a Danzig album is the man himself, he's also gone and shot himself in the foot by choosing none other than the Zig himself to produce the album. It's not sub-par, it's not going to stop you from enjoying the it, but if you didn't like the loud industrial nature of Danzig's previous albums then it's not going to sit with you as nicely as it should. The guitar is in your face throughout the record, squealing away with pinch harmonics at full volume and right from opener "Hammer of the Gods" you will notice it. It's a shame, because most of the charm of Danzig's early material was the way Glenn's vocals soared prophetically over the heavy background riffing.

Bottom line, it's just hard not to like this album. The songs are well written and all the elements that should be present on a Danzig album are there. The production will piss you off and rightly so, but if you can see past it then you're a Danzig fan that won't be disappointed.

Highs: A retrun to the solid, classic Danzig songwriting which made the band so well known.

Lows: Fans of earlier albums will probably find the production as insufferable as Danzig's latter material.

Bottom line: Wanting to know if the new Danzig album's any good? It is, go grab it!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)