"Dead Again" (SPV Steamhammer; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Dead Again" may be to Type O Negative what "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was to the Beatles. That may not be the all-embracing shining compliment it sounds like. With "Dead Again," Type O Negative takes some real chances with their sound, experimenting with different tempos, unique songwriting styles, different types of vocals and (gasp!) even some real melody. It's the most variety the band has shown in their many years of existence and it will be the topic of heated discussion on both sides of the fence. 

There are those longtime fans who will find "Dead Again," (the band's first studio CD in four years) too different and too daring. Although there's little doubt as you listen to this CD that you're listening to a Type O Negative record, it's just different enough from the band's previous CDs to make you wonder. Along with the usual pounding heaviness of the typical Type O Negative sound, there are also punk-flavored tracks ("Dead Again"), some near speed metal ditties ("Halloween in Heaven," with its Iron Maiden gallop), and a number of tunes that feature vocals unlike anything we've heard from the band before.

And then there are those fans who are going to relish the band's growth and courage in pursuing a sound that -- while not drastically changed from their typical sound -- is still noticeably different. I listened to "Dead Again" the first time through in amazement and am pleased that the band decided to take some risks and not to play it safely.

Hopefully, it won't be four more years before we hear more from Type O Negative. I'm already anxious to see where they'll go next!

Type O Negative: Johnny Kelly - drums, vocals; Josh Silver - keyboards, vocals; Kenny Hickey - guitars, vocals; Peter Steele -  vocals, bass.

For more information, check out http://www.typeonegative.net

"Life Is Killing Me" (Roadrunner; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Type O Negative returns with another, perhaps even more solid, dose of the "velvety heaviness" they do so uniquely.

"Life Is Killing Me" starts out with the fast-paced, almost punk rock-ish, "I Don't Wanna Be Me" (okay, it's actually the second track, after some bizarre sound effects thingy) and goes from there, delivering track after track of epic, haunting, heaviness. Take track #4, "Anesthesia," with its icy cold piano notes striking through the fuzzy guitars and Pete Steele's doomsaying tone of voice. Track #6, "Todd's Ship Gods (Above All Things)" starts with the cold sounds of a bayside morning, complete with foghorn.

The production, as always seems to be the case with Type O, is simply stunning, razor sharp, clear and balanced throughout, with each song successfully designed to deliver its maximum impact.

One of the highlights of any Type O Negative CD is a cover of another band's song. The cover on "Life Is Killing Me" might be a little more difficult to find as it's not a Beatles tune, etc. Instead, it's a cover of "Angry Inch" from John Cameron Mitchell's film "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." Maybe not as satisfying as some of the Type O's earlier covers, but a unique choice, nonetheless.

There aren't many bands whose sound you can identify immediately upon hearing just the first few notes. Pink Floyd comes to mind, most of Metallica. Type O Negative is definitely one of those bands. Their sound is easily that unique - and continuously effective.

Except in the case of "I Like Goils," perhaps - a hilarious song about Peter Steele's sexual preference that's as different as anything the band's recorded.

Type O Negative: Peter Steele - vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards; Kenny Hickey - guitar, vocals; Josh Silver - keyboards, vocals; Johnny Kelly - drums, vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.typeonegative.net

"World Coming Down" (Roadrunner; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

With great debt to classic Black Sabbath and Beatle-esque melodies Type O Negative have managed to craft huge slices of gothic madness or what others have affectionately called "velvety heaviness." Deliberately anti-commercial (long songs, dark humor cloaked in seriousness), Type O Negative have merged sly lyrics (about death and dying no less) and the macabre once again into sticky songs that face inner fears, personal demons, and the spirit of adventure. 

The Black Sabbath influences seem deliberate as two songs recall the work of these original heavy metal masters. The beginning of "White Slavery" echoes the opening strains of "Iron Man" while the vocals of the title track copy the vocals of "Iron Man." The starting riff of "Pyretta Blaze" is a complete tip-of-the-hat to "Into The Void." Type O Negative completely avoid the "sounds- like" tag by simply meeting one of their major influences head-on by covering a medley of Beatles tunes including "Day Tripper."

"White Slavery" has great vocals and the twisted lyrics of "Creepy Green Light," with its bass line reminiscent of U2, manages to evoke a horror movie scenario of dark shadows and an affinity for the macabre.  "Pyretta Blaze" is another example of how Peter Steele raises his melodic vocal skills a notch during the choruses of his songs.  "Everyone I Love Is Dead." "All Hallows Eve," "Everything Dies," and the title track rounds out this solid outing. 

There is one particular low point, however. "Who Will Save The Sane?" is tepid; after the really neat faux jazz intro the song simply never picks up steam. I can't seem to like this song no matter how hard I try.

A series of short 'instrumental' pieces splinter the disc with annoying results, yet it also highlights the band's humorous and serious sides at the same time. The instrumental pieces ensure that the "World Coming Down" has thirteen tracks on it (I certainly see the humor in that).  These filler tracks have a theme of bodily parts (sinus, lung, liver) which given their importance in the human anatomy certainly means the band knows that the fragile elements are lives really matter. 

Essentially, what you get with "World Coming Down" is an eight song CD with varying levels of satisfaction. Quite frankly I didn't know whether to laugh or cry - but it is a worthwhile endeavor to sort through the humorous and serious sides of this effort. It's still worth picking up due to the deep, dark gothic timbre of Peter Steele's voice that shines around every nook and cranny. Besides, if you buy the album Steele won't have to work as a New York City street sweeper. C'mon, everybody, do your part! 

For more information visit http://www.typeonegative.net and get your required daily dose of glumness.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 18 Sep 2023 21:51:19 -0400.