Def Wed Shabbah!
Glenn Danzig might have been keeping himself busy with Black Aria II but we’ve not had a Danzig album since 2004′s disappointing Circle Of Snakes & if we’re honest, we’ve not had a classic one since How The Gods Kill. Anyway, horror punk’s elder statesman is back aged 55 with long time collaborator Tommy Victor (Prong, Ministry) & Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative) handling guitar & drum duties respectively. Big Glenn himself takes care of the bass, production & he even has a crack at drumming on one track. Unfortunately he has fired his loyal spell checker who served him well since 1988. I guess he never fully got that fuck up back in 96 with Blackaciddevil.
Kicking off with Hammer of the Gods, it’s evident that Danzig is well & truly over his horrible industrial phase. Instead, he’s back to basics with scuzzed up guitars, searing solos, more pinch harmonics that strictly necessary & that 50′s rock & roll groove that he does so well. The opener is a meaty slab of classic era stuff with a brilliant doom break at around the 2 minute mark. Whilst I doubt the factual accuracy of the lyrics, Black Candy is a one of the best tracks they’ve recorded in 2 decades. On Ju Ju Bone, Glenn channels the most rapey of Elvis impersonators attempting, and failing, to outsleaze Bryan Ferry in an sleazing contest. The album peaks with On A Wicked Night which starts off with Danzig at his crooniest before blasting into some of Victor’s most John Christ-like guitar work.
Deth Red Moon kicks off with an almost identical intro to Mother but never quite reaches the heights of greatness of it. The major weak point of the album is the 2 part, 10 minute epic Pyre of Souls which has a boring intro before stepping into a song that shows about as much development as a thalidomide baby’s arms. Thankfully Glenn cleanses our aural palette with closer, Left Hand Rise Above which again harks back to his earlier material as a slow burner with some crushing doom riffs. Anyone that thinks Danzig’s voice is failing needs to listen to this track & remember that they are speaking out of their horrid, distended anuses.
Victor’s guitar work is good for the most part though there are a few moments where it sounds like Malmsteen has joined your dad’s Status Quo covers band as his shred-for-the-sake-of-shred solos overwhelm everything else & seem out of place. The bass is almost entirely absent in the mix. Glenn has gone for a completely analogue approach to producing the album & to that end, recorded everything on vintage amps & mikes. The end result is a warm sound that some will find unbearably messy in this age of ProTools & Auto-Tune yet it fits perfectly with his trademark 50s sound.
Deth Red Sabaoth isn’t going to pick him up any new fans though at this point in his career, Danzig has made it pretty clear that he’s not making album for anyone other than himself. He has long maintained that he gives not one solitary shit about what anyone else thinks but for what it’s worth, I reckon Glenn has finally put out an passable follow-up to III.