Getting Into: Type O Negative
|Written by:||Baz Anderson|
Every once in a blue moon one of these articles comes along. These "Getting Into" articles present a fair, full description of a band's discography of studio albums with a clear rating out of five, as a means of aiding people who want to get into such a band but have no idea where to start. Usually reviews have different authors and are written at different points in time - so this is a clear guide of how to get into the band in question.
Type O Negative
Doom / Gothic metal
Perhaps one of the most distinctive bands of the last two decades; emerging in the early nineties when grunge was in full swing, the band bulldozed its way through drug use and personal tragedies to bring us six dire albums coated with themes of death, depression, and a hint of romance. Forming in Brooklyn, New York, the band were soon signed by a growing Roadrunner Records and left to their own devices. Throughout, as their first album hinted, Type O Negative have delivered slow, deep and hard metal with a very depressing but at times humorous theme. Certainly not everybody's cup of tea, but with Pete's distinctive, ultra low-pitched, booming voice at the helm - they were going to make you listen.
|Slow, Deep And Hard (1991)|
The band's debut album set the rough tone of things to come. Slow, crushing riffs with long songs, this is the rawest Type O Negative album and the album that has the most amount of harsh hardcore or thrash elements mixed in there. Don't let that fool you though, "Xero Tolerance" is probably the harshest song on the album, but on the whole Slow, Deep And Hard is still a gothic-laced doom fest of dreary, but also angry and real songs from the naïve band at the time. Not the most representative album, and one probably best left for later. It is worth a mention that The Origin Of The Feces is simply the band's debut album re-recorded in a basement with a fake audience put over the top as a result of money given to them to make a live album being spent on alcohol instead.
|Bloody Kisses (1993)|
This was the album that changed everything for the band. Not only was the production of album much better than the debut, but in songwriting and musical terms too. Bloody Kisses is always thought of as the definitive Type O Negative album, as it is the band's most commercially successful album. It was the first album Roadrunner Records ever released that went on to be certified Platinum in the United States. And yes, arguably this is the band's best album. "Christian Woman" and "Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)" are still thought of as two of the band's classics, they are both long songs and put the band a mile away from the quality of the first album. This was Type O Negative at their best, darkly romantic, very gothic and deeply haunting. "Kill All The White People" and "We Hate Everyone" were both written with a mocking, joking tone in mind, and musically are the last nod towards the first album's slight hardcore edge. The album is deep and dark, archetypal Type O Negative and without any doubt a true classic of nineties metal.
|October Rust (1996)|
Three years later the pressure was on for the band to produce a worthy follower to their previous album. This manifested itself with October Rust being an overall more accessible album, with songs not quite reaching the length as they had been on the previous album, and the obvious commercial punt of "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend". "Love You To Death" is once again Type O Negative at their very best, offering a strong emotional journey for the listener, and songs like "Be My Druidess" and "In Praise Of Bacchus" might not be quite as deep or emotionally stirring, but are still absolute top quality songs. It is fair to say that October Rust is another fantastic album, and worthy follow-up to the previous album. It might even be worth delving into this album first, as it is a much more welcoming album and easier to digest upon initial hearing, while not compromising any of the band's classic sound.
|World Coming Down (1999)|
There is nothing remotely amusing about this album. Pete suffered numerous deaths in his family prior to this album, and subsequently started using different substances to numb the pain. World Coming Down is just that. This is the album of a broken man, with songs almost exclusively focusing on death, addiction and depression. "Everyone I Love Is Dead" and "Everything Dies" are heart wrenching, musical manifestations of pure hurt and depression. Even the interludes "Sinus", "Liver" and "Lung" are haunting reminders of our mortality and inevitable impending death. This is one of the most depressing albums in history, and thus is not an album easily and casually listened to. The quality of music on this album is still great, but the unrelenting barrage of depression prevents this from being an album you can even consider listening to lightly.
|Life Is Killing Me (2003)|
Four years on and the band had made the conscious decision to pick up the pace a little and bring back the humour. This album is by a long way the band's most accessible and commercial album, perhaps uncharacteristically glib at times with the opening popular hit "I Don't Wanna Be Me". The song lengths are also the shortest on-the-whole of any Type O Negative album, but nevertheless this doesn't mean the band lost their way. There are some great, dark, gothic songs on here, most notably the moody "Anasthesia" and "The Dream Is Dead". Life Is Killing Me does bring back the humour with the more up-tempo "I Like Goils", written after Pete drew unwanted male attention after his Playgirl appearance, and also a cover of "Angry Inch" detailing a botched sex-change operation. This album is therefore the most light-hearted Type O Negative album there is, and so probably also the most accessible - but not representative of the bleak sounds we had come to love from the earlier albums.
|Dead Again (2007)|
And so as events would pan out, this would be the last album. After a spell in prison and a stretch of drug rehabilitation, it was then fitting that Peter and company would create this last album almost as a mosaic of styles of their past catalogue. Long songs are back, perhaps not to the same morbid degree as before, but "September Sun" especially is an incredibly memorable and haunting piece. Title track "Dead Again" and follow-up "Tripping A Blind Man" once again give a nod to the old Type O Negative with thrash elements present. Dead Again is an extremely long album and does waver in consistency from time to time, but is once again quite accessible in comparison to the older material. This wouldn't be the best place to start, but wouldn't be the worst either. This album showcases the different elements Type O Negative have brought to the table over the years, but does not quite have the original and eerie atmosphere of the band's best days.
Among the joke intro tracks, Peter himself believing at one time he was Jesus Christ, the drink, the drugs, the depression and prison, the weird cover songs, the Nazi accusations, fake live albums, the Playgirl magazine, the Jerry Springer appearances, the fake death rumours and ultimately the real death of Peter Steele - Type O Negative were never a dull band. Peter made the band what it was with his humour and depression, but most importantly his unique voice. He will never be replaced, and so it is with these six albums that the memory of Peter Steele will live on.
Written by Barry Anderson
||Posted on 30.11.2010 by Member of Staff since 2006.|
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