Review Summary: "Deth Red Sabaoth" offers a great deal in terms of haunting themes, seductive hooks, not to mention darkly ominous atmosphere permeating from every track.
After a couple of subpar releases, the first Danzig's album in 6 years, "Deth Red Sabaoth" marks the return to form for this infamous evil Elvis wanna-be. The artist completely resigns from industrial experimentations as well as sludge influences that populated his previous several discs in favor of heavy old-school Southern rock similar to his first three almost classic releases. What is more, he employs analog recording techniques that result in an organic, if imperfect sound of hard rock releases from the 1970s. Therefore, "Deth Red Sabaoth" is what many fans of the artist were rooting for: an album that recalls Danzig in his prime, a period at the beginning of 1990s when he was still relevant.
Good intentions are one thing and the execution is another. This album wouldn't work at all if it weren't for a significant improvement in the songwriting department. Even if the song structures remain conventional at their core, Glenn Danzig and his crew manage to sound refreshing on most cuts. While Danzig's quality wailing vocal delivery shouldn't come as surprising, guitarist Tommy Victor's (Prong, Ministry) diverse rock-solid riffing strikes as fairly unexpected. His work ranges from groovy hard rock of "The Revengeful" and playful blues of "Ju Ju Bone" to dark, apocalyptic tunes of "Black Candy" that resemble those that Tony Iommi once wrote for Black Sabbath. The allusions to pure, unadultered heavy metal with equally dirty and squeaky riffs are also prominent on such tracks as the totally bombastic "Night Star Hell" as well as fairly mellow "Left Hand Rise Above." Moreover, the whole band can get admittedly catchy at times. Bluesy ballad, "Deth Red Moon" is the quintesential example that immediately brings to mind their smash hit, "Mother."
"Deth Red Sabaoth" is not totally without its faults though. Coming back to the traditional method of tracking obviously had an impact on the act's spontaneous, energetic playing as well as on an overall vibrant, yet still gloomy atmosphere of the album. However, Glenn Danzig's raw production is severely lacking in selectiveness: the instruments often blend with one another seamlessly. Victor's soloing is really low in the mix, which definitely lessens the wow-factor quite a bit. The drums also seem rather thin and uninspired especially on the heavier tracks. Danzig should have learned a lesson or two from the likes of Dozer whose old-school hard rock sound was a pinnacle of perfection on their last album, "Beyond Colossal." Another option was hiring a renowned producer who would eradicate some overlong segments of the songs and make this record sound up-to-date with the high level of musicianship displayed by the band. Who knows? Perhaps if Rick Rubin was a producer, this would be the metal album of the year.
Overall, "Deth Red Sabaoth" offers a great deal in terms of haunting themes, seductive hooks, not to mention darkly ominous atmosphere permeating from every track. This record might not attract any new fans to the blend of gloomy hard rock Danzig is famous for, but its goal wasn't entirely that. Without a doubt, the band is now closer than ever to reinvigorating their classic status after a long streak of hit-or-miss releases and thus regain the respect of the old fanbase. Let's hope the trend originated by this album will continue.