Monday, June 21, 2010

Music Review: Deth Red Sabaoth by Danzig

Deth Red Sabaoth is Danzig’s first original album in six years, but it’s not like Glenn Danzig hasn’t kept himself busy in the interim. Since the release of Circle of Snakes, he’s put out the instrumental Black Aria II album, as well as a double-disc of outtakes called The Lost Tracks of Danzig. So it’s not like he’s been sitting on the sidelines.

I think the time away from traditional songwriting has done him some good, though. Since the band’s original line-up dissolved back in 1995, Danzig fans have had a rocky road. These albums aren’t as woeful as long-time fans would have you believe (I, Luciferi is a much better album than the band’s debut effort, in my opinion) but they are incredibly inconsistent.

Deth Red Sabaoth has been bandied about as a “return to form” for Danzig, which isn’t exactly true. Sure, these are the cleanest, strongest vocals he’s recorded since Lucifuge – and the blues influences certainly recall the band’s American Recordings days – but there’s a level of arrangement on Deth Red Sabaoth that I’ve never seen on Danzig’s previous recordings. While Rubin set the template for the band with limited, dry arrangements, Glenn and guitarist Tommy Victor layer dueling guitars on the new album in a way that would make Soundgarden weep. This is a lush recording and couldn't be further removed from Rubin's AC/DC sound fetish.

And while the performances here stand out, Glenn seems to be showing a renewed interest in song writing. The two-part Pyre of Souls might be one of the best things he’s ever written and is almost orchestral in its arrangement, while Ju Ju Bone manages to be both badass and hilarious.

It might help that Glenn’s exploring some of his favorite subject matter: rebellion, femme fatales, life, death and freedom. One of Circle of Snakes' various shortcomings were the lyrics, which seemed to be pulled at random from the AD&D Fiend Folio. Those kinds or lyrics are at a minimum on Deth Red Sabaoth, which shows Danzig at his most creepy and sarcastic (such as the song The Revengeful.)
If I’ve got any real complaint with the album it’s that it didn’t go far enough in some of its concepts. On a Wicked Night might have been better served had it stayed the course as an atmospheric acoustic track rather than exploding into the usual power-rock ballad ending. And Black Candy is a cool little song, even if Glenn’s already covered this ground with Black Dream, Her Black Wings, She Rides, Lady Lucifera, etc.

If you like Danzig, you’ve really got no reason not to give this album a spin. There’s no guarantee it’s going to win you over, but if it doesn’t it won’t be from a lack of trying.


  1. its not bad spelling, its the original spelling of death and sabaot, ignorant idiots

  2. I think you meant to post that comment on the "Danzig continues heavy metal tradition of bad spelling" post, genius.

  3. good review but i just can't agree that i luciferi is better than the self titled. that is crazy talk... also danzig's vocals on 3 and 4 will never be matched again, so you'd really have to say this is his strongest since 4p... but i do agree on DRS being awesome, and i love the texture and layering of guitars and piano in this album. good review but you rub me as a new danzig fan :P

  4. "Crazy talk" is the reason blogs were invented.

    Seriously, though, I think the first Danzig LP is one-half amazing, one-half disposable. If the songs on side two disappeared today I'd never miss them, and don't think many fans have much use for Possession, End of Time, The Hunter, etc.

    And I've been a fan of Glenn's since before the first Danzig album was ever released. I think. That was a lot of years ago and he late 1980s are a big blur of heavy metal, NES games and post-Crisis DC Comics.


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