It was not too terribly long ago that I received word that Glenn Danzig was, after a six-year absence, releasing a new album. You can call it Danzig Nine but to some degree that is a misnomer – the numbered Danzig albums ceased after Danzig 7: I Luciferi because those were, in fact, a Magickal cycle – Danzig’s own self-admitted version of something slightly akin to Crowley’s 777*. Thus the very next album after that cycle being Danzig: Circle of Snakes and notably numberless in its title.
I was not crazy about Circle of Snakes. It has several really great songs on it (1000 Devils Reign, Skull Forrest and Black Angel, White Angel are up there with the best of his canon) and then the first Danzig song that I’m pretty sure I hate (HellMask). But Glenn has earned a place of eternal regard in my heart – I found the first Danzig album in high school about the time I started playing guitar again and it was that album that really helped me figure out what to do with the instrument. Of course partially because of this and partially because of nuances since obscured during the later albums’ production (probably owing considerably to Rick Fucking Rubin’s absence) I have a thing for those first three albums. After III: How the Gods Kill I like what Danzig published but not as wholeheartedly again until the aforementioned I Luciferi (which I absolutely hated for about the first year I had the thing). It was my good friend Dennis who made me understand that the key to understanding and appreciating Danzig’s later work and his career as a whole is to focus first on the vocal melodies and later on the guitars and such. This wasn’t so much a necessity when John Christ, Eerie Von* and Chuck Biscuits were on board, but definitely a must as the new guard moved in and became a little less nuanced and a little more, ah, metal, for lack of a better way to say it. i.e. – the pinch harmonics were there in the old days, but Christ was a more subtle player, whereas on the albums since the guitarists, still doing mostly marvelous jobs playing the riffs Glenn writes, do so a bit more… stringently. This is what I couldn’t get over at first and I Luciferi‘s absolutely breathtaking songwriting eventually helped me unlock and appreciate. And now we have Deth Red Sabaoth as well.
Deth Red Sabaoth is the album that should have come after Luciferi but could not have without Circle of Snakes preceding it. I know that sounds… confused but it is the case. Circle of Snakes, with it’s boxy, roomy guitar sound (not an altogether bad thing) is, in my opinion, a bit of a one-off. It stands alone in the same way that Danzig’s orchestral Black Aria series does, while Sabaoth seems more like the next piece in a new Magickal working that began with Danzig 6:66 Satan’s Child as a banishing, flared up its intent on I Luciferi, and now materializes in the world of man (hence the first acoustic guitar track, On A Wicked Night, since Christ–era) with Sabaoth. I for one am amazed at the song-writing on this new album, and wonder feverishly what will come next.
* Which he discussed when my beautiful and talented wife interviewed him after Circle of Snakes was released. Read that interview here:
** Eerie Von fucking RULES. Amazing at the helm of a camera, amazing solo albums, link to him here:
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