Glenn Danzig is not a guy I would exactly call shy. A person who has spent 35 years in the public eye via the music business can be considered enigmatic, no matter how low profile he wants to be. Since the punk and metal icon is a self-confessed workaholic I was stunned when I realized it has been six years since the release of DANZIG 8: CIRCLE OF SNAKES. He constantly works on projects as varied as his Verotik Comics, films, his recent lyric/art book and his own BLACK ARIAS series of which a third is scheduled for later this year. With the release of the new DETH RED SABAOTH and a mini-tour to promote it, DANZIG the band is back to the front burner. Although Danzig himself produced the record and played many of the instruments on it, he has also assembled his best lineup to since the DANZIG IV album. In guitarist Tommy Victor (PRONG/MINISTRY), and drummer Johnny Kelly (TYPE-O-NEGATIVE/SEVENTH VOID) he has put together a talented backbone. Either Danzig or Victor played bass on every track. Some fans may not understand that irregardless of how he switches up his style from album to album, Danzig is always striving for a feel or a mood in everything he does. He is always going for the same lo-fi, punk rock and dirty blues sounds he grew up on. He has certainly achieved that to full effect here, but with all of the flavors and performances that make a modern record as well.
Upon the first listen all I can say is what a throwback! This is a record that easily fits with his first four DANZIG albums produced by the classic era of the band. Kicking things off with the rocker "Hammer of The Gods" finds the band back in top form with this up-tempo killer track. Having heard this live last week I'd recommend he keep it in the set since it matches up nicely with older songs like "Twist of Cain" and "Long Way Back from Hell". Next up is "The Revengeful" with a great vocal melody, deep lyrics and cool riffs. One thing that this new record has over its predecessor is the abundant amount of leads by Tommy Victor. Nearly every track has a least one ripping solo which is great to hear since Tommy doesn't get to cut loose and solo as much in his other bands. He is truly a guitar player's guitar player. Another real gem on DRS is the amazing lyrics. Danzig always brings the goth and the gloom to his songs, but he really has out done himself here. One example is on "Rebel Spirits" where he tips his hat to himself with a classic line like "A thousand eyes, a thousand dreams. I walk among them endlessly". Or on the bluesy anthem "Black Candy" when he croons "tastes like your going to expire" you really feel what is in his blackened heart. The single "On a Wicked Night" can be considered groundbreaking in a way for the band. The almost folk jangle of the verses is juxtaposed with a rocking and emotive chorus. With a few exceptions in all of metal no one wails on just a handful of notes like Danzig does. Another song with lyrical gravitas, Glenn's allusion to lady death coming for him and his utter contempt and lack of surprise at this just drip from the speakers. The middle tracks of the record are just a touch too soft for me in "Deth Red Moon" and "Ju Ju Bone" with the latter reminding me of a 90's DEPECHE MODE song. After that the record closes out powerfully with heavy "Night Star Hel", the two part "Pyre of Souls" and the epic closer "Left Hand Rise Above". Welcome back DANZIG! Your fiends have been waiting for this for a long time.