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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