Deth Red Sabaoth (Evilive/The End)
Statistically, Glenn Danzig's career since the Misfits has been an even split. The swampy, campy blues rock of his first three classic solo albums is balanced by the industrial-strength nonsense he churned out for more than a decade after that. If you count the preposterous two-part "classical" composition Black Aria, in fact, the scale shifts noticeably against Danzig. So there didn't seem to be much risk in ignoring Deth Red Sabaoth, his first album since 2004. The diminutive singer's deadly serious approach to an inherently silly project—an uneasy commingling of horror cinema, sexy vampire women, and Roy Orbison that dates back to his days in the Misfits in the late '70s and early '80s—is part of what made the first three Danzig albums great, but ridiculous grandeur is a hard sale to a mass audience, and to critics. That limit weighs down the new album, too. This is some of Danzig's best music—haunting occult hard rock delivered with primal urgency, all black heart and swivelling hips—but it never quite rises out of the fever dream of a 12-year-old boy's imagination. Credit ex-Prong guitarist Tommy Victor, who ably mimics original Danzig member John Christ, for the disc's best performance. But Danzig deserves his due here, for writing songs that swing and sway with menace ("Hammer of the Gods," "Rebel Spirits," the superb "Black Candy" and "On a Wicked Night") and for investing them with evil abandon.