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An experiment in sticking to one's guns. - 64%

JtK, April 26th, 2018

I used to hate Glenn Danzig. I just couldn't see why anyone would give credence to this overrated pretentious, yet macho, excuse for a human being. It's hard to say when and why things change. Even at my most uncharitable I had to concede that Glenn Danzig always provided a pretty convincing case for his craft when he spoke about it. So it became harder for me to deny that he's ambitious. That doesn't equate to good music, but a lot of the times it does.

So let me get the TL;DR version out of the way: this album doesn't suck, don't throw it out with the trash. When Deth Red Sabaoth came out a lot people just couldn't get their heads around the sound production. I checked out some of these critiques while writing this and I must say that the criticism is unfounded. I would even argue that the production gives this collection of songs more of a unique tint.

I don't see the point in writing a track-by-track reviews so I won't. That is not to say that the tracks all sound alike, they do not, but like most good albums it's not necessarily the parts that makes them good. It's the overall feeling, mood or 'ambiance', if you will, that indicates the worth of most creative endeavors.

The material is good enough to satisfy any expectations I have of a Danzig album. The rock influences are more prominent than Danzig's metal leanings and this is coupled with a dose of bluesy sounds. Furthermore I'd say that this album fits more into the category I reserve for albums that are good but lack obvious sound bites and singles. Withstanding any judgment of the following: Mother (Danzig I) is a single while Deth Red Moon and Godless (Danzig III) are not.

To stretch that analogy a little further: I think that the songs on Darkthrone's Transilvanian Hunger, Nile's Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka and Kreator's Terrible Certainty are best heard along with rest of the songs. At times I listen to a song like Transilvanian Hunger by itself, and sure, I like it. But it's just not the same.

Given all this, I'd say that Deth Red Sabaoth has a distinct feeling to it. I would like to think that I'd feel the same if some unknown band had recorded it, but the aura of Danzig surely looms heavily over this effort. My only objection is that stretches of the album rely too much on mid-paced riffing; a pet peeve of mine. Danzig isn't Kreator but other incarnations of the band have managed not to get stuck in that rut. I doubt that this lineup is unable to go faster than they do.

In comparing Deth Red Sabaoth with the rest of the catalog I'll just try to state what I feel is the obvious. Danzig mostly play a kind of music that would benefit from the dogged single-mindedness a lot of people attribute to Motörhead (rightfully) and Slayer (wrongfully). Danzig's style can't fit neatly into the category of continuous innovators like Cynic or even someone like Tom G. Warrior for that matter. Claiming that bands actually adhere to the single-minded approach is a fickle thing, but it is a useful figure of speech nonetheless.

Good Danzig albums are good precisely because they innovate within the confines Danzig and the band previously laid out for themselves. I.e. the band was "single-minded". Within those boundaries they managed to paint with a surprising array of colors. Deth Red Sabaoth doesn't stray too far away from that well-tested Danzig formula.

And that's a good thing.

Hammer of the Gods indeed - 86%

Gloon, July 29th, 2011

Danzig has been off my radar for many years now. While never being a huge fanboy I did enjoy his earlier works but was put off for good by the polarizing ‘Blackacidevil’ and never really felt the urge to come back. 14 years on (and according to public opinion) 3 more shitty albums later, I return to the pastures of Evil Elvis to see whether there is redemption for the man that once scaled the heights of infamy only to fall into obscurity and YouTube one punch knock out embarrassment.

The first thing one notices from the outset of Deth Red Sabaoth is that thankfully the industrial experiment is over. No more stodgy half arsed Nine Inch Nails and B grade Ministry riffs its just plain old drums, bass and guitar. The second and most important thing is that Glenn has rediscovered his croon and the original elements of what made Danzig so memorable are back in the mix.

Its been mentioned that Glenn opted for a more analog approach this time round and the results in my opinion are killer. The big bass-heavy sound is huge and the majority of the songs are carried by simplistic yet monster riffs which are featured front and centre in the mix along with Danzig’s revitalized vocals.

When everything is stripped back to the bare bones like this you better hope that your material is up to scratch and thankfully the album delivers on the songs too. From the heaving opener ‘Hammer of the Gods’ we’re given exactly what we’ve been craving for since the early 90s: big hooks, big build up and catchy stick in yer head choruses.

After three in a row of rocking out the tempo drops and we’re greeted with the thumping dirge of ‘Black Candy’ and the soothing acoustic build up of lead single ‘On a Wicked Night’. Its in these slower moments that we can appreciate Glenn’s unique style and soulful voice as he carries both the songs effortlessly. Theres even a little nod to the past with ‘Deth Red Moon’ reminiscent in sound and style to a less frantic Misfits. In fact from start to finish this is solid, more than solid in fact damn fucking satisfying and enjoyable to tell the truth.

Overall I am sold on it. Without getting into arguments on where this stands in the grand scheme of things in Danzig’s career and whether this is all too little too late, I’m on board for giving this a definite horns up. Whether its nostalgia of simpler times, the recent death of Ronnie James Dio or just the bombardment of over produced technical crap that gets pushed my way, this album has rekindled my love of Heavy music lately. So whether this becomes a landmark album or classic or fades in the back of my collection in 3 months time doesn’t matter, at this very moment this album is front and centre in the stereo as guiltier pleasure as there ever has been, and for the time being I’m lovin every spin.

Originally published at http://www.metalobsession.net/

Every Living Thing You Knew Will Never Be The Same - 90%

Twisted_Psychology, July 13th, 2011

Originally published at http://www.suite101.com

Unless you count the B-sides collection known as The Long Tracks of Danzig that came out in 2007, Deth Red Sabaoth is the first studio album that the band has released since 2004's Circle Of Snakes.

As expected, there have been a number of member changes over the last few years and this album is the first to feature Type O Negative/Seventh Void drummer Johnny Kelly alongside Prong/Ministry guitarist Tommy Victor and dear old Glenn Danzig. Oddly enough, touring bassist Steve Zing is nowhere to be found on here and Danzig himself takes care of the rhythms instead.

When considering how much the band was bragging about how this album's songs were recorded using 70s equipment, the incredibly old school sound on here shouldn't be too surprising. This album fits in incredibly well with the band's first four efforts and often feels more like a third disc to The Lost Tracks compilation rather than an album that was recorded in this century!

It successfully combines the bluesy sound that appeared on Lucifuge with the heaviness from How the Gods Kill and the downtrodden gloom of 4p. In this sense, it serves as a natural evolution while acting as if the last four albums never happened, the latter move more than likely appreciated by the band's more cynical fans...

And despite the rather shaky lineup, the production helps this sound like one of the band's biggest group efforts in quite some time. Having been drowned out on the last few thanks to some imbalanced instrumental productions, Danzig's vocals are placed on the front lines and successfully conjure the howling croons that several listeners thought had withered long ago.

Victor also seems to have changed his guitar playing approach and takes on a muddier approach that is a far cry from the loud crunch on Circle Of Snakes, often sounding a lot like former axeman John Christ as a result. The rhythm section also gets a few moments to shine and particularly manages to stand out on the incredibly bluesy "Black Candy."

The songs themselves manage to cover a lot of ground though there is very little on here that faster than a mid-tempo grind. "Hammer of the Gods" starts the album off on a particularly heavy note and "The Revengeful" follows it up with some driving grooves and pitch harmonic fixations. From there the album mostly goes between pounding blues numbers and more melancholic tunes with "Black Candy," "On A Wicked Night," and "Deth Red Moon" in particular standing out for their memorable melodies and solid vocals.

Also interesting are the two parts that make up "Pyre Of Souls;" the soft/heavy contrasts may be a little gimmicky but there are still some good quality passages to be found. The structure of the two parts reminds one of the "Suicide Note" pieces that Pantera put out over ten years before.

But with the revival of an old sound comes the tendency to use some derivative riffs and melodies, and this album isn't too much of an exception. Along the album's production and general vibes, there are several segments on here that may remind listeners of songs from past albums. "Left Hand Rise Above" sounds very similar to "Going Down to Die" and "Deth Red Moon" has a vibe very similar to that of "Dominion" and "I Don't Mind the Pain."

In addition, "Night Star Hel" features an introduction that sounds a lot like "Girl" and a closing section that is similar to the faster part on "Godless." Fortunately it doesn't really approach the realms of plagiarism and feels like an homage to the band's past more than anything.
Next to the Classics

Circle Of Snakes may have a great album on its own terms, but Deth Red Sabaoth somehow manages to go above it and stands strong next to some of the classics that made Glenn Danzig's self-titled group a household name.

Going with a more basic approach was the best thing that the band could've done at this point and could only get better with a more solidified lineup at hand. Whatever the case, here's hoping that it doesn't take them another six years to release a follow-up!

Highlights:
"Hammer of the Gods," "The Revengeful," "Black Candy," "On A Wicked Night," and "Deth Red Moon"

Evil Elvis Is Back - 80%

FullMetalAttorney, November 18th, 2010

I have been a Danzig fan for a long time, since I got the self-titled debut back in high school. I have the whole catalog, barring the second live album. His last three studio albums, while not terrible, have been extremely disappointing, and the one before that was industrial metal, not the Danzig I grew to love. But it's been six years. With the old school The Lost Tracks of Danzig tauntingly reminding us of the good old days, and a lineup including Prong's Tommy Victor on guitars and Type O Negative's Johnny Kelly on drums, there are a lot of reasons to have high hopes for Deth Red Sabaoth.

Doing some reading on the album, I found this: "I wanted to have an organic sound, bigger and thicker, so I went out and bought some 1970s Kustom tuck ’n’ roll bass amps to play some of the guitar parts through. You’ll hear real reverb, real tremolo on this album, which sounds completely different than the stuff that's done with computer chips". That vibe comes through loud and clear, and there's none of the industrial stuff to distract.

It starts out great. Opener "Hammer of the Gods" lets you know the album is definitely old-school, pre-Danzig 4 kind of stuff. The recording sounds almost like it could have been made in the 80's, and so does all of the guitar work. At the same time, you can hear the bass perfectly, and it's heavier than anything they could have recorded back then (check "Night Star Hel").

Any track on here could come from his early work. "The Revengeful" could be straight off Lucifuge, and has a lot of good pinch harmonics with a great groove. "Black Candy" and "Left Hand Rise Above" are How the Gods Kill ominous monologue tracks. There are plenty of extended guitar solos that could almost make you think John Christ is back (see "Rebel Spirits" or "Ju Ju Bone"). On top of that, he's gotten his old-school rock and roll sensibility back, as "On a Wicked Night" and "Deth Red Moon" attest.

OK, maybe it's not quite perfect. At 54, Danzig has lost a little bit of the snarl and swagger of his voice. Maybe it's not age, but because he doesn't have the legendary Rick Rubin pushing him to do better (his voice has never been all that great since 4p). But other than that, the worst I can say is that maybe he shouldn't have tried to do a 10+ minute song, as "Pyre of Souls" doesn't play like an epic, but it plays as long as one.

The Verdict: Evil Elvis is back. This is the Danzig we've been missing for the last decade and a half, and I, for one, am ecstatic. Danzig has said this may be the last album for the band, and if so I'm glad they're leaving on a high note.

adapted from http://fullmetalattorney.blogspot.com/

The Howlin' Master of Blues Metal Returns - 95%

The_Scrab, June 26th, 2010

The thing I like most about Glenn Danzig is that he could give a shit whether anyone likes this, or any other installment of his back catalog. Regardless of the content of this and other reviews, the loudmouthed opinions of every know-nothing trendy metal mallcore kid, and his not so steady decline in album sales and popularity, the bottom line is that metal's shortest tough guy will continue to do whatever the fuck he feels like. I respect this kind of dedication to one's own massive ego, and though the quality of albums post Danzig III: How the God's Kill will forever be a subject of heated debate, at least there's a certain amount of honesty and integrity that comes with every Danzig release. That said, everyone nauseated by the industrial experiments of the Zig's latter day releases should lament no more; this album fucking rocks harder than anything since albums one and two.

The most apparent reason for this is the mindless soloing courtesy of Prong main man Tommy Victor. Now, I don't mean mindless in the Malmsteenish sense of trying to cram as many notes into every nanosecond of music, but Victor's chaotic, yet somewhat melodically inclined shredding hearkens back to what I heard on the second Prong album (remember when they were a thrash trio?). The result is something similar to what John Christ contributed to albums one through four, but much less restrained and perhaps slightly more technically proficient. The riffing duties, shared between Glenn and Tommy, are also worthy of note for their energetic bounce and occasionally stonerish vibe. In particular, opening track "Hammer of the Gods" possesses the most bludgeoningly heavy riff I have ever heard coming from a Danzig album, and serves to propel the song along at mach ten before dropping off into a short, grindingly slow doom section, and then picking up again for a monster of a solo. The riffs continue in a consistent, though generally less energetic fashion throughout the whole album, and serve to complement Glenn Danzig's wolfish howls perfectly.

Speaking of which, what Danzig review would be complete without a paragraph going into massive details about how pitch perfect his vocals are? On this album, Danzig's voice sounds much better than it has in a good fifteen years, and while it's obvious he's not quite at the level he resided in during his classic period, it's extremely gratifying hearing him wailing and howling like a wolf again. There are certain points where his voice sounds a little odd, but overall it's a powerful and professional, and characteristically indecipherable, vocal performance from a man climbing bravely into his fifties. His lyrics are generally pretty "evil" (and highly goofy), per usual, but I'm not sure I expect anything else from a Danzig album at this point, and they further cement the album in similar territory to the direction explored on Danzig 1 and 2.

The bass on this album is not particularly distinct, but I get the impression that it was supposed to, in traditional 70s rock fashion, blend in with the music without making too much of a fuss. It's more noticeable if you play the album through a stereo with plenty of bottom end, but it's not really an issue either way, because I'm not sure I can really point out any Danzig song with much of a bassline anyway. The drumming sounds a little odd, also very 1970s, but it's well played enough and does it's best to try and recapture the unpredictable nature (not to mention the outstanding fills) of Chuck Biscuts's performance on the classic material. The most noticeable feature of the drumming is the inclusion of brief, fast double bass patterns in several songs, including Black Candy, which features Glenn on drums. The rhythm for the song is pretty simple, but it's impressive to hear how the quick, clean foot work at the end of the song, especially from a guy not particularly well known for his drumming ability.

I actually really enjoy the production style on this album, as it reminds me of the dry production on the debut album. It seems like Danzig really tried to emulate a Rick Rubin style approach on this album, recording on analogue equipment and with very little unnecessary production interference. It's mixed fairly well, the bass could be a little higher in the mix, but the guitars are loud and the vocals are prominent and everything is clean and comprehensible (except for the lyrics). I especially like how clear the drum sound is similar to the early albums (you can hear every single drum hit on pyre of souls so clearly you'd think Johnny Kelley was drumming in the same room as you) , and how the guitars are allowed room to to fuzz and feedback and not be clipped and processed to hell with pro-tools. The idea of going full analogue with the production on this one was a good one, in my humble opinion.

If you've cried and despaired over the direction Danzig took after album 3, then it might certainly be a fine idea to give this album a spin. Danzig does a good job of crafting an album of memorable tunes that hearken back to his glory days without sounding nostalgic, and it's an adrenaline shot into the heart of a metal scene processed to shit by digital production techniques. Worth a listen, and a purchase on physical medium, if only for the laughs induced by the picture of stony faced Glenn with some naked chick strapped to some crucifix behind him on the inside cover.

Back to the Future, part Danzig - 59%

Misainzig, June 22nd, 2010

Damnit! I was really looking forward to this one! Danzig has been one of my favorite metal acts ever since I got into the genre. When I first heard Glenn’s voice, I found it astounding, and quickly went out and bought the debut. I suppose you could say that album was the first “evil” metal album I ever heard. Glenn’s way of mixing his demonic swoon with blues with hard rock really had an effect on young Mis-ain-zig.

The most common perception of Danzig is that only the first 4 albums are great. Okay, sure. I would almost go as far as including Circle of Snakes on the fantastic side of the discography. It was truly a different style, but it almost managed to capture a bit of the old charm.

Enter Deth Red Sabaoth.

This album sounds like it should be Danzig 5. It actually manages to have a lot of the charm of the first 4 albums! Hammer of the Gods starts off the in classic Godless or Long Way Back From Hell style. It’s a bit of a faster paced song for the most part, until about halfway through, then THUD. A huge fucking doom break like you’ve never heard from this band. I think the part that really sells this as one of the greatest Danzig songs is the chorus. You can hear that he has put a lot of effort into every chorus, as far as performance goes (lyrics are a completely different bag of bones, however…) The closer Left Hand Rise Above sounds like a nod to the cold and bleak stylings of Pain in the World, or Let it Be Captured. While his vocals on CoS sounded strained and a bit rough, here they’re nearly as striking as the early albums. The album overall is easily Glenn’s finest vocal performance since 4p.

What are the big problems with this album though? One glaring omission is the presence of bass. Where the fuck did Glenn put it? He certainly didn’t put it in the mix. The drums are simply standard. They don’t have the creative fills of Biscuits long past, but at times Kelly throws in some interesting double bass. It’s a bit of an odd mixture with the bluesy overlapping of riffs. The riffs themselves have a fantastic Danzig-of-old tone, with obviously more modern recording techniques. It’s still nowhere near as rough as the guitar tone on CoS. Unfortunately, the guitars are just too bland. Some of Tommy Victor’s riffs demand praise in that they capture the past, yet there are probably only 2-3 riffs per song. The Revengeful and Black Candy both have these ugly simple riffs with a pinch harmonic thrown in. Unfortunately, these really aren’t used in the same style John Christ would have. It’s like they’re just there because he did it. A few of his solos (and most of his leads) really attempt to channel the power of Christ, while others are just mindless shredding for the sake of shredding. Every damn song follows the same formula as the stunning opener. There are 6 songs on here within 20 seconds (give or take) of the 4 minute mark, and nearly all of these songs have the same structure: cool intro riff, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, one of 7 different solos on the album, chorus, chorus… then some mix it up at the end with a solo/chorus. I suppose I’m using the phrase “mix it up” pretty loosely here though…

The part about this album that sucks the most is the lyrics though. Almost every chorus, no matter how good they are sung, still sucks because each chorus is usually just Glenn crooning each song title. Ju Ju Bone, one of these tracks, has a rather silly title anyways. When you add Glenn singing the big dumb "Ju Ju Bone" chorus, the overall taste is inadvertantly humorous. Unfortunately, none are done as well as Twist of Cain or any other early tracks that do this. The Pyre of Souls duo songs are simply overblown messes. The first song doesn’t really need to be there, as it’s just fairly useless riff with Glenn moaning for 3 minutes. You’re rewarded with no song progression at all. The vocals start to stack up in layers at the end, but it’s overall a waste of time. Seasons of Pain has some of the better solos on the album, but the song shouldn’t even be half as long as it is. Too much repetition and too few ideas plague this dreadful 10 minute anti-epic.

This album really does have the spirit and style of the early albums with the classic lineup in mind, but there just aren’t enough ideas to solidify it as a good album. If you love the classic sound, you’ll definitely find something to enjoy about this though. After all, it is never really bad anywhere. Just a bit dull. There are a few decent songs, along with new top 10 Danzig song Hammer of the Gods.

Highlights: Hammer of the Gods, On a Wicked Night, Deth Red Moon, Left Hand Rise Above