|Danzig III: How the Gods Kill|
Cover art by H. R. Giger
|Studio album by|
|Released||July 14, 1992|
|Recorded||November 1991-April 1992|
Hollywood Sound Recorders
|Genre||Heavy metal, blues rock, hard rock|
|Label||Def American Recordings|
|Producer||Glenn Danzig, Rick Rubin|
|College Music Journal||(favorable) |
|Hit Parader||(favorable) |
|Request Magazine||(favorable) |
|Trouser Press||(favorable) |
Danzig III: How the Gods Kill is the third album by Glenn Danzig's band Danzig, and the highest to chart at the time of its release in 1992 on Def American Recordings. It was reissued in 1998 by Def American's successor, American Recordings.
John Christ noted how a lot of time was spent perfecting the guitar sounds for the album. For the quieter moments on the songs "Anything", "Sistinas" and "How the Gods Kill", Christ used a Strat guitar previously played by Jeff Beck.
The title song "How the Gods Kill" concerns a search for knowledge and an understanding of oneself. According to John Christ, "That was a real tricky song to write and record. It has so many level jumps and changes in the sound of the guitar. I had to go from a very soft section to a very loud section to an in-between section. If you listen closely, you can hear a hissing noise in the vocals in the intro because we were using a real noisy vocal preamp. We tried everything to get rid of it, but Glenn's performance was so good that we decided to leave it - the mood was just right."
The song "Sistinas" was written during a drum track recording session, as John Christ recalled: "We were in the studio recording drum tracks, and while we were on a break Glenn picked up my guitar and started getting an idea for a song. Then I came up with a little chorus part, and in about an hour or two we had the basic structure of the song. He wanted it to have a Roy Orbison type of vibe with some timpani and keyboards. We used an old Fender amp with a vibrato on it, and we cranked up the vibrato to get those really big chords - it was perfect for that song."
"Heart of the Devil" was the first song on the album to be performed live by the band, during the European Lucifuge tour in 1991. Later in the same year, it was confirmed that the tracks "Bodies" and "Do You Wear the Mark" had been written for the album. Blues legend Willie Dixon had agreed to guest on the track "Heart of the Devil", but died before the recording session was scheduled. The avant-garde metal band Lux Occulta recorded a cover version of "Heart of the Devil" for their 1998 EP Maior Arcana: The Words That Turn Flesh into Light.
The tracks "How the Gods Kill" and "Dirty Black Summer" became popular and remain a permanent fixture in the band's set list.
The album's cover is a 1976 painting called Meister und Margeritha (The Master and Margarita) by famous Swiss artist H. R. Giger, named after Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita. For the album cover, Giger modified the original painting slightly, covering "the Master's" erect penis with a dagger bearing his interpretation of the Danzig skull symbol. Giger's version of the Danzig skull was later used on T-shirts and as the cover art for the "Dirty Black Summer" single.
Like Danzig's other three albums with the original lineup, this album was issued a Parental Advisory sticker, later complete with a "strong language" warning, despite the total absence of profanity. In some markets, the earliest pressings were issued in a CD longbox.
Allmusic wrote, "Danzig's third album continues to expand the band's musical range" and called it "arguably the definitive Danzig album".Rolling Stone wrote, "Danzig the group has evolved, in the course of three albums, into a resourceful, tightly meshed unit...Danzig embodies the best in contemporary hard rock while displaying an originality that transcends genres...Rock is alarmingly short of visionaries these days; Danzig is the genuine article".Hit Parader, while saying that the album is too unrelenting to cause Danzig to break into the mainstream, wrote, "They deserve whatever recognition they get simply for having the guts to play metal the way it was meant to be played."Trouser Press called it "a roaring slab of leathery rock that isn't overly troubled by his lyrical obsessions", highlighting "Do You Wear the Mark" and "Heart of the Devil" as examples of Danzig's interest in dark topics. The review also describes Danzig's "confidence (or hubris, same difference here)" in "Sistinas", which is performed "as a ridiculous croony gothic ballad". The review concludes, "Economical and efficient, an organic blend of vocals and instrumental intensity, How the Gods Kill is great bleak fun." Bob Mack of Spin called the band "too goofy to be taken seriously as regular rockers but not goofy enough for the cartoon metal crowd" and wrote that the lyrics to "Heart of the Devil", instead of sending a shiver down his spine, caused him to roll his eyes. He did compliment "Left Hand Black" and called "Sistinas" the "best Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark song since OMD's 1984 LP Junk Culture". Daina Darzin of Request Magazine praised the album for its "solidly crafted melodies" and "lush, malevolent power", along with Danzig's "wonderfully expressive, opulent voice" and the "spectral mystique" added by John Christ's guitar work. Writing about the lyrics she stated that Danzig "has the courage to go for fatalistic grandeur and gets away with it, for the most part", citing lyrics to "Heart of the Devil" as an exception.Pitchfork described it as the "album that lived up to the mighty image he'd built, where the classic lineup of his solo band in its prime found an emotional maturity unmatched by any record he made before or after. It's Danzig at his most sinister, yet also his most human", adding that the band "achieve a bigger, denser sound than they'd previously had. Danzig's subtle croon only intensifies the effect of the blaze--stoked by desperate longing, he sounds that much more demonic...How the Gods Kill marks the moment when Danzig transcended his punk origins and staked out a deeper place in the modern music canon, patching together the influences of Dixon, Orbison, and Howlin' Wolf into something grand. It's a record about confronting your inner strength, testing if it's enough to endure heartbreak and uncontrollable lust; it's about feeling that God is failing you, and wanting the power of a god all the same". In a career retrospective, Cam Lindsay of Exclaim! rated it Glenn Danzig's second best album.
Music videos were released for the songs "How the Gods Kill", "Dirty Black Summer", "Bodies" and "Sistinas". Glenn Danzig directed all videos, aside from "Dirty Black Summer", which was directed by Anton Corbijn. A live performance of the song "Left Hand Black" has also been released. The "How the Gods Kill" music video appeared on Beavis and Butt-Head, in the episode "Scientific Stuff". All music videos from the album are featured on Danzig's Archive de la Morte DVD.
A documentary was filmed during the making of How the Gods Kill, though it currently remains unreleased.
All tracks written by Glenn Danzig.
|4.||"How the Gods Kill"||5:57|
|5.||"Dirty Black Summer"||5:14|
|6.||"Left Hand Black"||4:30|
|7.||"Heart of the Devil"||4:40|
|9.||"Do You Wear the Mark"||4:47|
|10.||"When the Dying Calls"||3:31|
Album - Billboard (North America)
|1992||The Billboard 200||24|