I didn’t get my hopes up for this album, Deth Red Sabaoth, which is the 9th full length from pioneer Glenn Danzig and Co. I heard a few tracks online before I got the release and again, I didn’t get my hopes up. After a few listens, however, I was hooked. This is easily the best release from the Danzig discography since 4p.
Deth Red Sabaoth opens up with a blast from the past with the guitar driven and upbeat ‘Hammer of the Gods’ reminding me of ‘Am I Demon’ or ‘Godless’. Stomping and decadent, ‘The Revengful’ makes for perfect strip club sinning…if, that is, the strippers are drinking each others blood and branding pentagrams into each others asses. Although most media morons find such a humorous description of Danzig’s music to be fitting, I find that this album carries a tone of seriousness that overrides whatever ridicule it may endure. Glenn’s voice hasn’t sounded this good in 15 years, the songs are more memorable than ever and the vision has not been lost over time.
My biggest bitch about this album has to be the inconsistent mix quality. Deth Red Sabaoth is, for all intents and purposes, a rock band doing what they do best. However, leaving the 60 cycle hum of the guitars in the mix or alternating between the drums and vocals overpowering the recording gives the impression that the album was rushed through production. Having not released an standard full lenght in 6 years, I can only assume what I hear is intentional. The obvious fact that mix engineer GD didn’t obsess over details adds a certain quality to the recording, especially when you hear the emotion in the vocals on tracks like ‘Left Hand Rise Above’. Sometimes the take worth keeping is the imperfect one…The stomping rhythm of ‘Rebel Spirits’ is another example of an inconsistent mix, in this case, with overpowering drums, however, the song structure and marching progression of the track allow for such.
Deth Red Sabaoth is a very well rounded album, drawing the best of what fans hope to hear from Danzig. While the performances aren’t what they were on ‘How the Gods Kill’, the songs themselves are top notch. The two part ‘Pyre of Souls’ showcases GD vocal and arrangement skills while ‘Death Red Moon’ is about as grim, catchy and mysterious as you have heard from Danzig. I can’t say I heard a single guitar solo from Prong main-man Tommy Victor that added up to anything worth hearing and Johnny Kelly’s drumming skills will forever pale in comparison to Chuck Biscuits. ‘Black Candy’ is the first track that credits GD as the drummer and although there is some double kick patterns buried in the mix, the bluesy and minimal percussion performance left something to be desired.
I had reservations about even reviewing this release for Forbidden Magazine. It isn’t really extreme metal…or is it? The lyrics may not scream Satan and the guitars are not exactly ‘chainsaw’ but I figured, fuck it. Glenn Danzig has been making dark, fucked up and misunderstood music since ’77. If anyone has been a living example of Satanism in the sense of doing and getting what you want without bowing to anyone, it has been Danzig. In perfect closure to this album, the last lyric tell us “…the most important thing to be, is to be strong and free…Left Hand Rise Above!”