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Deth Red Sabaoth
Released: 2010, Evilive Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
I’m going to make a wild assumption that you’re all familiar with Glenn Danzig and skip the formal introductions. Needless to say, the guy’s a legend and the entire metal community owes more to his black creativity than they may be willing to admit. Until recently Glenn’s kept a pretty low profile, working on just about everything except new music, but when it was announced earlier this year that a new studio release was on its way, it was only then that it clicked – it’s been six years since we’ve heard any new Danzig material. Six...freaking…years. Like many fans, the last few discs have admittedly left me feeling a little “meh,” so I approached DETH RED SABAOTH with both anticipation and cautious trepidation. Glenn does what Glenn wants, regardless of how it may be received (see BLACKACIDEVIL), so to paraphrase Forrest Gump, 'you never know what you’re gonna get'. Thankfully, what you do get on DETH RED SABAOTH is arguably the best batch of tunes since DANZIG 4.
Glenn’s been on record that he wanted this album to have a more analog, organic sound. Whether that’s an indictment of his flirtations with industrialized elements, or the very cold presentation on CIRCLE OF SNAKES is up for debate, but it’s a welcome approach that longtime fans should go nuts for. The songwriting, production, and performances are all less convoluted than on recent releases and are vividly reminiscent of those first four classic Danzig albums. You could even take it a stretch further and say that DETH RED SABAOTH would fit snugly between albums III and 4.
As for the 11 songs included on the album, they feel consciously bare bones. Trimming the fat and filler, the tunes focus on the basic guitar-bass-drums dynamic and how the music interplays with Danzig’s iconic croon. Opening track “Hammer of the Gods” sounds like a continuation of Danzig III’s “Godless,” and puts you in the right frame of mind for what’s to follow. “The Revengeful” and “Black Candy” both feature the dirty, bluesy swagger that Glenn doesn’t set loose nearly enough, while “Deth Red Moon,” Rebel Spirits”, and “Left Hand Rise Above” are all epics in their own right, featuring that sinister, menacing vibe that was once such a token trademark of the Danzig brand. Each song has its own personality and flavor, but they work together to make a satisfying 52 minute procession from start to finish.
It should be said that Glenn’s choice of backing musicians this time around is certainly due some credit to the album’s success. On again/off again guitarist Tommy Victor is truly an under-appreciated musical chameleon, while longtime touring drummer and Type O Negative/Seventh Void alumni John Kelly makes his first recorded appearance with the band. Former Samhain and Danzig touring bassist lays down some bass tracks as well, but his inclusion here feels like Glenn’s past and present are coming full circle.
Once again, Glenn’s proven that he’s still got some creative juices left and DETH RED SABAOTH is the proof. While it’s by no means a perfect album, it is the kind of Danzig album that fans have been clamoring to hear for a long time. It will take a few listens to get under your skin, but once it does, it’s hard to shake.
1. Hammer of the Gods
2. The Revengeful
3. Rebel Spirits
4. Black Candy
5. On a Wicked Night
6. Deth Red Moon
7. Ju Ju Bone
8. Night Star Hel
9. Pyre of Souls: Incanticle
10. Pyre of Souls: Seasons of Pain
11. Left Hand Rise Above
Glenn Danzig – Vocals, bass guitar, drums
Tommy Victor – Guitars
John Kelly – Drums
Steve Zing – Bass guitar