Friday, April 1, 2011

Danzig - Deth Red Sabbaoth

It's always great to find a legendary band that has been around forever but just somehow escaped your radar.  As you work through the discography you realise what you've been missing out on, but the utter rapture experienced from the pure mass of new tunes outweighs the regret.  I felt this way about Entombed, not listening to them during the mid-late 90's caused me to miss one of their shows, at which time I was probably sitting in a skate park next to a mall somewhere trying to figure out what was missing in the local 'metal' scene.  I say 'metal' because it was more hardcore than anything else.  More to the point, I always look forward to excavating timeless gems.  Danzig are the stone-skinned rock legends I only discovered of late.  Some of their songs sound very familiar to me though, as if they were hidden from view only to be uncovered when I would really appreciate them.  A few of their albums stood out for me from the start, this being one of them.

What we have here is a long awaited return to form.  A large portion of Danzig fans seemed to loathe the era in which electronic influences were dominant.  The sound was much more akin to NIN than anything Danzig were known to produce before.  This, the latest installment of a monumental discography, has thus far been received with mixed feelings.  I however, place it right up alongside their early releases.  It has all the elements which they are renowned for, but here I find that the nefarious themes and the stories they keep become the focal point, only slightly pulling Glenn back in the mix, and putting less emphasis on aggression.  Not that one would really suspect this, his wailing mandrake cries seem to intensify with every breath.  They seem to have found the winning formula again and consequently the album contains several seriously heavy, doom-ridden songs alongside a few devilish ballads.

All uncertainty concerning the "heaviness" of the album is laid to rest with the powerful opening track, Hammer of the Gods.  It introduces the fearlessly blasphemous attitude which personifies the album, and in fact, the band.  I think it was ultimately the intensity of this attitude that was lacking during the electronic period which left many fans wanting.  Woven among the more secular and muscular tracks are interludes of mystical inspiration such as, Pyre of Souls: Incanticle and its galloping follower Pyre of Souls: Seasons of Pain, or tales of nocturnal meetings between devious creatures as in On a wicked night.  These songs display a more matured sound and blend wonderfully with contrasting catchy songs revealing a continuous but varying groove throughout Deth Red Sabaoth as well as justifying their attempts at experimentation.  Black Candy and Ju Ju Bone - though not my favourite tracks - present a humorous tone and also reflect the well founded sexual prowess retained in the band’s image.

The drums on this album are solid as a rock, pounding and crashing slow-to-mid paced, keeping steady and bracing you for the impact of your head lunging forward involuntarily.  The strings are once again struck as if to give them life under a full moon, so they may howl and shriek haunting nothings into the void.  A perfect example of this is the doomish dirge Night Star Hell.

I’m not a big fan of Heavy Metal so to speak, neither of so-called Hard Rock, but this album is just too deliciously evil to turn down, call it Black Rock.

Best tracks: “Hammer of the Gods”, “The Revengeful”, “Rebel Spirits”, “Night Star Hell”, “Left Hand Rise Above”

More blues than: High on Fire, Entombed, Dala Sun
Less traditional than: Black Sabbath, Count Raven
Bigger balls than: Metallica