Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Danzig: Deth Red Sabaoth (2010) Review

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 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 (well, he did great on 4 producing himself; not since then) [CORRECTION: Rubin also produced 4]. 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. It's damn close to being perfect, and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent. Glad to see a return to form. Hopefully my local shop will have this one. I've been a huge Danzig fan for a long time too. In fact, Danzig is one of the bands that got me into metal in the first place.