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Danzig - Deth Red Sabaoth

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Monday, July 12, 2010 @ 4:16 PM


(Evillive/The End)

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Apparently absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Though Glenn Danzig and co. tour ever more sparingly, and hadn't issued a new album in six years, Danzig's new ninth album cracked the Billboard Top 40 upon its release at the end of June, the band's highest charting album since Danzig 4 - in 1994!

Truth be told, Danzig's put out a lot of pretty sketchy material since Danzig 4, when the "band" essentially imploded leaving Glenn Danzig to carry on with a revolving cast of sidemen. The sonic experimenting - notably on 1996's industrial disaster Blackacidevil - and mushy, super crude production that have been the hallmark Danzig's subsequent albums left a lot to be desired, even for dedicated fans.

Deth Red Sabaoth, by contrast, harks back to Danzig's "golden era," and is much more likeable and immediate than anything the "band" have done in a long time. Working with on-again, off-again cohorts guitarist Tommy Victor of Prong and Type O Negative drummer Johnny Kelly, Danzig seems to have rediscovered the swagger and spunk of simple, straight up rock songs. Instead of draping the album overblown gothic theatrics - or, to the other extreme, stripping things down to its bare bones - Danzig aim for the gut here.

"Hammer of the Gods," "The Revengeful" and "Rebel Spirits" lead things with an effectively punchy combination of Victor's catchy hooks and Kelly's thumping backbeats. The bluesy crunch of "Ju Ju Bone" offers more of the same and the more epic "Night Star Hel" ends with a thundering flourish that provides the album's heaviest moments. Of course, nothing has changed in Danzig's signature Elvis/Roy Orbison on steroids warble and, like it or lump it, he belts it out unapologetic gusto here.

The more dramatic "On A Wicked Night" is the best of the batch on Sabaoth. Recalling "Thirteen," which Danzig originally wrote for Johnny Cash who turned it into a classic, "Wicked Night" blends quiet elegance with just enough muscle and creepiness to raise it above pop schlock and make it something masterful - and shows what a deft songwriting touch Danzig can have. On the flipside, however, is the indulgent, plodding, two-part "Pyre of Souls" opus that offers 10 minutes of guitar shriek and Danzig's repetitious caterwauling. "Left Hand Rise Above," which follows it to close the album out, isn't much better - but at least it's six minutes shorter. So while the first three-quarters of the album is rock solid, Sabaoth does end with a thud.

Chances are if you never liked Danzig, for whatever reason - and there are plenty - Deth Red Sabaoth isn't going to do much to convert you. But for old school fans who've tuned Danzig out in recent years - arguably with good reason - the album is an encouraging return to form of something approaching the Lucifuge/How The Gods Kill era and is certainly worthy enough to warrant your attention.

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