Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Type O Negative from Worst to Least Worst

On April 14, 2010, the world lost Peter Steele. Of course, I did not know that until a good three months after it happened because I didn't have internet connection at that freaking time. Obviously, Peter Steele's death wasn't shown on the news. A big deal was not made about it because he wasn't that famous. People probably remember him more for posing in Playgirl than his actual songs (and saying that might or might not be an insult depending on your sense of humor).

Peter Steele was 48 (and 48 is the new 27). He died of heart failure after enjoying a long period of sobriety. He'd even managed to find religion in the last years of his life. Considering that "Fuck you, God" is the chorus to one of his songs, I guess it proves that even the most ardent of atheists can convert.

And that's enough of the Behind the Music shtick.

I figured this would be the perfect time for a Type O-style "Worst to First" list because the anniversary of Pete's death is coming up in two months and I'll probably be too grief-stricken to post then. Or maybe I won't be. But you're probably tired of hearing about Whitney Houston and you might want to read about cooler dead people right now. Good thing I didn't wait two months to post this, right?

Type O Negative released a total of seven studio albums (one of them a fake live album), a live DVD called Symphony for the Devil, and one official greatest hits collection called the The Least Worst of Type O Negative. There might be a few other minor releases, but I'm much to lazy to look it all up.

The band was comprised of four members before Peter Steele died and the band broke up: Peter Steele (vox/bass), Kenny Hickey (guitarist/vox), Josh Silver (keyboards/organ/vox), and Johnny Kelly (drums). But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the original drummer Sal Abruscato who played on the band's first three albums.

The flag of Vinnland: Peter Steele's fake country's flag
They also have their own website here.
It's where I got my idea to start my fake country of
Jacobia years ago, but I still don't have a flag design yet!
For the purposes of the list I'm going to exclude the band's fake life album The Origin of the Feces in the ranking, but I will give a brief a explanation about it once I'm through with the actual list. I will also talk about their aptly named greatest hits collection after I talk about the fake live album. So you get two freebies with my list!

In another post I'll talk about and review the two albums released by Peter Steele's pre-Type O Negative band, Carnivore. So if you see any references to a band called Carnivore in this post... that's what I'm referring to.

6. World Coming Down (1999) - Your average Type O Negative album is morbid, humorous, and heavy. Well, this album largely skips the humor and takes the morbid factor up a notch. Written during a difficult time in Peter Steele's life, the lyrics show it a little more than he might have wanted. The first song on the album is an attempt at humor called Skip It and it is designed to make you think there is something wrong with your CD. At the end of the eleven second song guitarist Kenny Hickey shouts "sucker!" because you probably thought your CD really was skipping. Then the real album begins with a song about cocaine abuse called White Slavery. True to Type O style, White Slavery sounds like the soundtrack to a funeral. Hopefully, it's not yours. It is very heavy, slow, and thoroughly depressing. The epic title track follows the same path while including an almost Gregorian chant-style breakdown in the middle of the song. The most accessible songs on here are Everything Dies and Everyone I Love is Dead and they are about dealing with the loss of loved ones. Everything Dies is a bit of a ballad with a strangely soothing effect while Everyone I Love is Dead is an angry depression rocker. Both are good songs in their own ways, but don't listen to them if you are easily prone to suicidal thoughts. There are three "soundscapes" (each about a minute in running time) on the album that represent the ways that the band members would would most likely die: Liver is about death by alcohol abuse, Lung is about death by smoking, and Sinus is about death by cocaine abuse. The album ends on an almost happy note with a cover of three Beatles songs arranged in a medley format.

Don't take this album so seriously or else this album will probably be the soundtrack to your depression.

Skip It (0:11)
White Slavery (8:21)
Sinus (0:53)
Everyone I Love Is Dead (6:11)
Who Will Save the Sane? (6:41)
Liver (1:42)
World Coming Down (11:10)
Creepy Green Light (6:56
Everything Dies (7:43)
Lung (1:36)
Pyretta Blaze (6:57)
All Hallows Eve (8:35)
Day Tripper (medley) [featuring: a. Day Tripper, b. If I Needed Someone, c. Day Tripper (revisited), d. I Want You (She's So Heavy)] (7:02)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Johnny Kelly, Josh Silver

5. October Rust (1996) - An incredibly polished and keyboard-soaked effort, October Rust is probably Type O's most user-friendly album. There's nothing too abrasive about it or anything too dark. Relatively speaking, of course. The album starts with a thirty second joke intro called Bad Ground that is supposed to make you think there is something wrong with your speakers while the second track is a humorous spoken word introduction given by the band. The first actual song on the album is the third track, the gothic ballad Love You to Death. In fact, most of the songs on this album are gothic ballads. That isn't too say that it is not without its heavy moments. Haunted, the song that ends the album, is the typical slow funeral dirge-like song that anyone could expect from Type O Negative. Red Water (Christmas Mourning) (a song written about the death of Peter's father) is another of the slow songs on here. But the problem is that the keyboards really take the edge off the band's songs. Even the really slow ones. The closet thing to a real rocker on here is the ultra-heavy cover of Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl. The album ends on a spoken word joke outro that cuts off too soon. A few other songs on here feel like they cut off too soon and that is one of the album's running gags.

The bottom line is that this is an enjoyable album, but it's far from edgy.

Bad Ground (0:38)
Untitled (0:21)
Love You to Death (7:08)
Be My Druidess (5:25)
Green Man (5:47)
Red Water (Christmas Mourning) (6:48)
My Girlfriend's Girlfriend (3:46)
Die With Me (7:12)
Burnt Flowers Fallen (6:09)
In Praise of Bacchus (7:36)
Cinnamon Girl [Neil Young cover] (4:00)
The Glorious Liberation of the People's Technocratic Republic of Vinnland by the Combined Forces of the United Territories of Europa (1:07)
Wolf Moon (Including Zoanthropic Paranoia) (6:37)
Haunted (10:07)
Untitled (0:08)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Johnny Kelly, Josh Silver

4. Life is Killing Me (2003) - Lighter in tone and content than World Coming Down but not as polished as October Rust, Life is Killing Me is both a more accessible and more rounded record. There are fast songs like I Don't Wanna Be Me, Angry Inch (from the Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch), and I Like Goils. The latter two songs are so damn funny that they never cease to leave me giggling. There are mid-tempo songs like Nettie and the eighties-mocking (We were) Electrocute. Then there are the slow songs like ...A Dish Best Served Coldly and IYDKMIGTHTKY (Gimme That). Each song on here shows what Type O were best at: rocking hard, making you laugh, and sort of getting you depressed but not so depressed that you'd stop listening or buying their records. I think this might have been the second T.O.N. album I ever got and it maintains a favorite of mine.

Thir13teen (1:07)
I Don't Wanna be Me (5:08)
Less than Zero (<0) (5:25)
Todd's Ship Gods (Above All Things) (4:10)
I Like Goils (2:35)
...A Dish Best Served Coldly (7:13)
How Could She? (7:35)
Life is Killing Me (6:35)
Nettie (4:46)
(We Were) Electrocute (6:38)
IYDKMIGTHTKY (Gimme That) (6:20)
Angry Inch (3:39)
Anesthesia (6:41)
Drunk in Paris (1:27)
The Dream is Dead (5:07)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Johnny Kelly, Josh Silver

3. Dead Again (2007) - Unfortunately, this is the last album Type O Negative will ever have. But at least it is a fitting swan song. It's a hell of a lot better than Led Zeppelin's final album or the original Sabbath's final album. This album sounds like a band going back to its roots. It's their heaviest since World Coming Down (and without the overwhelming sense of depression) and their most straight-forward since their debut album. Ten songs without any instrumentals or soundscapes. No filler at all. With only three songs under the five minute mark the majority of the songs seem like worlds unto themselves. These Three Things is the heart of the album and it's a heart that could beat too hard for some. Remember that Peter Steele found religion late in his life and he went back to his Roman Catholic roots. The song deals with the book of revelations, the sin of abortion, and Israel. But if that song is too much for the average listener then there is always Halloween in Heaven and the title track, a campy song about drug addiction. The Profit of Doom has one of the best riffs in T.O.N. history and the dark subject matter about possible extinction by an asteroid named Aphophis is a perfect fit for it. An Ode to Locksmiths returns to religious subject matter, but it would seem that Peter Steele is using his new found Christian outlook to poke fun at Christianity. It's one of the funnest songs on the albums no matter what the subject content, though. September Sun is a tremendous ballad in the vein of October Rust and the second half of the song is especially grand even though I have know idea what Peter Steele is singing. The first half of the song is largely sung in English, but the second is mostly sung in an operatic Russian. At least, Russian is the most logical assumption I can make. She Burned Me Down, although not a ballad, is largely styled the same way as September Sun.

So... the bottom line is that this is great album regardless of religious undertones. 

Dead Again (4:15)
Tripping a Blind Man (7:04)
The Profit of Doom (10:47)
September Sun (9:46)
Halloween in Heaven (4:50)
These Three Things (14:21)
She Burned Me Down (7:54)
Some Stupid Tomorrow (4:20)
An Ode to Locksmiths (5:15)
Hail and Farewell to Britain (8:55) 

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Johnny Kelly, Josh Silver

2. Slow, Deep and Hard (1991) - What do you get when you take four Brooklyn guys inspired by Sabbath and The Beatles, a dark sense of humor, and an abrasive "politically incorrect" persona? You get Type O Negative's first album. It is certainly the most Carnivore-sounding album in T.O.N.'s canon, but Slow, Deep and Hard laid the blueprint for what would later be perfected into the signature Type O sound. The album starts off with the twelve minute epic Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity. It's one of the angriest songs I've ever heard and it's the perfect soundtrack for the angry guy with a broken heart. Prelude to Agony features a Hole in the Sky-type riff, the term "jackhammerape," and the most brutal ending to a song I've ever heard (including what sounds like a jackhammer and a woman screaming). Again, another perfect song for the angry guy with the broken heart. Der Untermensch generated controversy because of its German title (notably used by Nazis) and the fact that it calls out people cheating welfare and drug dealers, referring to them as "waste of life," "socioparasite," and "(sub)human scum." This is the song that most clearly feels like a Carnivore song because of its punk attitude. Because of the song the members of Type O Negative were called Nazis. The band thought it was a bit ironic because keyboardist Josh Silver was Jewish. The album features one soundscape called Glass Walls of Limbo (Dance Mix) and a joke track called The Misinterpretation of Silence and its Disastrous Consequences. The former being a six minute track of chanting and what sounds like chains being thrown on the floor while the latter is just a minute of tape hissing.

So if you like your heavy metal with a side of attitude and if you like it slow, deep and hard then this is the album for you.
The album cover is actually an extreme close-up of sexual penetration.  Despite all of the controversy surrounding the album, I guess no one really cared that some random guy's schlong is staring them in the face. Josh Silver said he ripped  it from a porno mag, but he has no idea to whom the schlong belongs. Which means somewhere in the world some guy is looking at this album cover wondering, "Is this my penis?" 
Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity (12:39)
Der Untermensch (8:54)
Xero Tolerance (includes samples from J.S. Bach) (7:45)
Prelude to Agony (12:14)
Glass Walls of Limbo (Dance Mix) (6:41)
The Misinterpretation of Silence and its Disastrous Consequences (1:04)
Gravitational Constant: G = 6.67 x 10^-8 cm^-3 gm^-1 sec^-2 (9:14)
Hey Pete (Pete's Ego Trip Version) [bonus track] (5:19)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Sal Abruscato, Josh Silver

1. Bloody Kisses (1993) - Released just after the band's fake live album The Origin of the Feces, Bloody Kisses is the band's true second album and the one with which they perfected their "Drab Four" sound. The album begins with another joke intro called Machine Screw and it sounds like a woman having an orgasm with metallic sounds going on in the background. There are three soundscape tracks called Fay Wray Come Out and Play, Dark Side of the Womb, and 3.0.I.F. On an alternate version of this album the three soundscape tracks have been removed because they are considered unnecessary filler by the members of the band. But with or without the filler this album is killer. Christian Woman created controversy when it was released because it blurred the lines between sex and religion. The song is essentially about a woman having sex with Jesus and/or God, but it could be considered as more of a criticism on over-religious people.  Of course, the inside sleeve depicting Peter Steele placing a cross in a peculiar location near a scantily clad woman's body could prove me wrong. Black No.1, a song poking fun at and paying paying tribute to the gothic subculture, is one of those songs that must be learned by bassists everywhere because of its signature riff. Kill All the White People and We Hate Everyone (both stylistically different than the rest of the material on this album and more in the vein of Slow, Deep and Hard) are the band's way of responding to accusations of racism and sexism. On the alternate version of this album those two songs have been deleted because of how different they are from the rest of the album. Perhaps the most peculiar track on this album is the ultra-slow and heavy version of the Seals and Crofts song Summer Breeze.

Anyway, this is Type O Negative's least worst album. I hope it doesn't disappoint you too much.
And the cover beats the crap out of a close-up of a penis any day of the week. 
Machine Screw (0:40)
Christian Woman (8:58)
Black No.1 (Little Miss Scare-All) (11:15)
Fay Wray Come Out and Play (1:04)
Kill all the White People (3:23)
Summer Breeze (4:47)
Set Me on Fire (3:29)
Dark Side of the Womb (0:26)
We Hate Everyone (6:50)
Bloody Kisses (A Death in the Family) (10:52)
3.0.I.F. (2:06)
Too Late: Frozen (7:49)
Blood & Fire (5:30)
Can't Lose You (6:05)
Suspended in Dusk [alternative track] (8:36)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Sal Abruscato, Josh Silver

***Bonus Materials***

The Origin of the Feces (1992) - This is the band's fake live album and it is partly based on all the resistance they met in Europe. Before the first song even starts the audience is chanting "You suck!" and Peter answers this with "You paid fifteen American dollars to get in here. We're getting paid for this. So who's the real asshole here?" There are songs being interrupted by the band members (possibly deliberately) screwing up and forgetting song parts. There is also a bomb threat where all of the members of the audience have to leave the building. And at the end of the set, Peter screams, "This is going to be our last song!" and the audience cheers like they'll be glad to see Type O Negative leave. Once the last song is played in its entirety all that can be heard are crickets because no one is clapping. Not even a few scattered rounds of applause. It's like the audience left before the last song was even finished. 

The majority of the songs on here appeared in a different version on Slow, Deep and Hard under a different name. The only new songs on here are a brief song entitled Are You Afraid, a cover of Hey Joe with reworked lyrics to make it about an ax-murderer named Peter, and a slow cover of Black Sabbath's Paranoid that is not a faked live recording but an actual studio recording. 
The original album artwork was a close-up of a guy's anus (believed to be Peter Steele's). Hence the title of the album. I'm sure you don't want to see that so I'm not posting it here. Instead I'm only posting the alternate cover.
I Know You're Fucking Someone Else (15:02)
Are You Afraid (2:13)
Gravity (7:13)
Pain (4:41)
Kill You Tonight (2:17)
Hey Pete (5:10)
Kill You Tonight (reprise) (7:08)
Paranoid [bonus track] (7:20)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Sal Abruscato, Josh Silver, Johnny Kelly

The Least Worst Of (2000) - Greatest hits collections don't really thrill me. In fact, they typically bum me out because all the material on the album has already been released. Any time a band releases one these days they normally have a few new songs thrown in or a shitty cover song. Well, I don't like getting a bunch of stuff I already have just to get a few things I don't. But this is one of the greatest hits releases that I really like because it's not really a greatest hits release at all. It feels more like The Origin of the Feces than anything else. The majority of the songs on here are alternate versions and previously unreleased original songs. The only thing that isn't original to this release and that most Type O fans already have is Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity as it can be found on Slow, Deep and Hard. The album starts off with a version of The Misinterpretation of Silence and its Disastrous Consequences (the joke being that the band's best work is silence) and then heads into an unreleased edit of Everyone I Love is Dead. There is a "studio" version of Hey Pete that was later re-released as a bonus track on Slow, Deep and Hard but it was original to this collection. There are alternate versions of Black No.1, Christian Woman, Love You to Death, and Cinnamon Girl. There are four new songs on this album, too. It's Never Enough (remember the song I mentioned that had "Fuck You, God" in the chorus?), Stay Out of My Dreams, 12 Black Rainbows, and Black Sabbath (From the Satanic Perspective). Black Sabbath (From the Satanic Perspective) is a cover of Black Sabbath with the lyrics changed to see things from Satan's perspective. Stay Out of My Dreams is a song about finding true love in someone that Peter learns to be his long lost twin sister. It's a joke, of course. Although I've heard a rumor that the song is really about Tara Vanflower, but I have no idea if that's true. It's Never Enough is a song that would've gone perfectly on World Coming Down and it was recorded in the process of making that album. The song is about watching his mother on her deathbed, I believe. 12 Black Rainbows was also taken from the recording sessions of World Coming Down and it would have been a perfect fit for that album, too. I've always been curious why they never made the cut.

Anyway, this is a perfect introduction to Type O Negative and a mandatory inclusion in the Type O Negative canon because it really does highlight what the band was all about without giving you the same exact things over again.

The Misinterpretation of Silence and its Disastrous Consequences (Wombs and Tombs Mix) [previously unreleased remix] (0:39)
Everyone I Love is Dead [previously unreleased edit] (4:39)
Black No.1 [previously unreleased edit] (4:34)
It's Never Enough [previously unreleased] (8:15)
Love You to Death [edit] (4:47)
Black Sabbath (From the Satanic Perspective) [previously unreleased] (7:44)
Christian Woman [edit] (4:25)
12 Black Rainbows [previously unreleased] (5:10)
My Girlfriend's Girlfriend (Cheese Organ Mix) [previously unreleased alternate mix] (3:43)
Hey Pete (Pete's Ego Trip Version) [previously unreleased "studio" version] (5:19)
Everything Dies [edit] (4:33)
Cinnamon Girl (Depressed Mode Mix) [alternate version] (3:50)
Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity (12:29)
Stay Out of My Dreams [previously unreleased] (8:15)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Sal Abruscato, Josh Silver, Johnny Kelly

Stay Negative

1 comment:

  1. Excellent reviews. I'm not too familiar with these guys but the reviews have hooked me. The album cover for Slow, Deep and Hard reminds me of a funny story and as much as I hate to admit it, it is not the first extreme penis close up I've seen. A few years ago when fax machines were relatively new and exotic, I was having trouble with mine. I thought I had fixed the problem and I needed someone to send me a fax so I could be sure. I called my friend, Bill who worked at a supply company and told him to send me a fax so I could check out my machine. A few minutes later, I received a fax and it was very dark. I didn't think twice about it and put it aside and called Bill to let him know everything worked. He said, "what did you think of the fax?" I said, "it was almost just a black page, but that's not a problem, my fax works." He told me to look at it closer and I studied it like I was looking at one of those optical illusion paintings and then I started to realize what I was seeing. Bill had sat across their big copy machine (hopefully no customers were there)and made a copy of his dick and faxed it to me. He did say he was never going to do it again because the copy machine glass got very hot and he thought he almost damage himself.