Type O Negative has often been called gothic metal, a term that Im vehemently opposed to. Metal is metal and gothic is gothic, thats the bottom line. If I had to coin a phrase that best suited this New York quintet it would have to be something along the line of erotic noir - but lets face it Type O Negative has never been known to be pinned to the wall with definitions or labels. Most people questioned the groups ability to top the success of Bloody Kisses but they proved time and time again that they have more than a few wild cards up their sleeve. For those that have never explored the music of Type O Negative, Im not all together sure that this would be a suiting introduction to their overall style but seasoned fans will more than likely be pleased with this release. On some levels its darker and harder than past efforts and on others its sleeker and more refined. Like I said, trying to define Type O Negatives sound, presence and releases is about as easy as nailing Jell-O to the wall.
Peter Steele - Vocals/Bass
Josh Silver - Keyboards
Kenny Hickey - Guitar
Johnny Kelly Drums
The Music I
To get the full experience from this CD you have to listen to it in its entirety, skipping even one or two of the songs will leave you with a void of sorts. In my honest opinion, this is a lot harder than their other releases. Theres a lot more guitar work to enjoy but the vocals of Steele are just as exceptional as they were in past efforts. To try and compare this to Bloody Kisses, October Rust or the work they did on the second installment of The Blair Witch Project is futile its still Type O Negative but its harder edged and much tighter. One could argue that they intentionally made this darker, louder and stronger to scare off the critics that panned other CDs I have to disagree this was made for the fans the ultimate critics. Without fans there would be no Type O Negative and thats something that they, unlike other bands [cough Metallica cough], never forget. Now, for me, this wasnt as dark and alluring as Bloody Kisses - to me it lacked that underworld something in the shadows kind of creepiness. Maybe its because its new and I havent had the chance to let it completely soak in yet
but Thir13teen has been growing on me the past few days. A very fitting track for the group to kick off their release with, its just as dark, creepy and surreal as I expected.
∴ Thirteen ∴ I Don't Wanna Be Me ∴ Less Than Zero ∴
∴ Todd's Ship Gods ∴ I Like Goils ∴ A Dish Better Served Cold ∴
∴ How Could She? ∴ Life Is Killing Me ∴ Nettie ∴
∴ Electrocute ∴ Gimme That ∴ Angry Inch ∴
∴ Anesthesia ∴ Drunk In Paris ∴ The Dream Is Dead ∴
The Music II
Without a doubt one of the tracks that really blew me away was the slick I Dont Wanna Be Me. Steeles vocals are as strong and ever-present as his past recording but its the music that takes center stage. The crisp and clear guitar work keeps equal time with the vocals and lyrics something that is a real treat for hard-core fans of the group. Mid song there is a stellar guitar piece that had my jaw on the floor the first time I heard it. This isnt the standard fodder for Type O Negative its a lot stronger than most of their stuff but does give you the chance to see another side of their talent. The title track, Life Is Killing Me, takes me back to their early dark pieces. The guitar is heavy and sluggish at first but after the introduction you get to the real meat of the song and let me just say its mighty tasty. If you are fan of the theatric side of the group then this is a must hear track. In some ways it reminds me of Christian Woman with the slow breaks and in other ways it sounds a lot like other elements from Bloody Kisses in so many ways. As much as I love the overall sound of this song, its the lyrics that will completely blow you away. When you sit down to read the lyrics you might not get the true point of the song until you go over it a few times but once you get it youll see theres no racism or bigotry to it something that was argued about when creating the clean version of the CD.
Like a Jew in ancient Spain
And for Christ's name did pay with pain
Modern day inquisition
What is the link between these crafts?
Doctors and thieves, they both wear masks
Overpaid meat magicians
Angry Inch is well a very interesting track about a botched sex change operation and the resulting stump hence the title angry inch. Now, before you think that this is a comedy skit or something that is added for filler it isnt. The comedic tone of the lyrics is there but damn the music is killer. Fast guitar work, a fevered beat and some of those token sexual growls from Steele. Even if you read over the lyrics and dont think that this is something that youll be into, you do owe it to yourself to listen to it at least once. I mean, you paid for the CD so you might as well get your moneys worth from it. A Dish Served Better Cold might not sit well with fans of the old Type O Negative but once you get past the first minute or so of the song youll hear some of the tried and true sparks of their older music. This is a song that youll either fall completely in love with or listen to once and want to forever erase it from the CD. For me it was an instant favorite, it has all the grit and grime of the older style Type O Negative music but with a hell of a lot more attitude and if I dare say so without getting slapped a touch of grunge. If you want to see songwriting this is one of the best theyve come up with in a long time.
Rotting bodies of enemies
Cannot smell sweet enough to me
What is the price of a friend
Who would carry out revenge?
Taking a very sharp turn, I Like Goils takes best of the old Type O Negative sound and smashes it into bits but there are remnants here and there throughout the track but you have to really listen hard to hear them. The song is basically a retort to a nasty little rumor that made its way around the scene a few years ago about Petes sexual orientation. The song might be a bit too harsh for some people but if you understand Steeles unique brand of humor youll see its not as bad as some of the other tracks hes penned in the past. The song is a lot faster and energetic than others on this release and while its not one of my all time favorite tracks its definitely worth a listen. Proving that you can never know what to expect from these guys, Nettie rolls off the disc like an acrid and brooding nightmare set to music. Its no real secret that the band is into the darker side of music and this cements it. Not since Bloody Kisses have I heard the prefect blend of storytelling, vocals and music. Its pretty hard to try and explain all the different levels that the song goes through as its playing you just have to hear it to appreciate the magnitude of it. Some might argue that the lyrics arent as complex as some of their other dark numbers but I have to argue that point its more than just a song, its emotion, pain, love and fear all wrapped up into a song. This is one of the songs that impressed me the most off of Life Is Killing Me and I consider it to be one of their best tracks since their rogue work with the Blair Witch II project.
Thank you for saving me from myself
Your compassion became its own hell
Unequivocally beautiful inside and out
If I hard to pick a favorite track it would be a tough chore because there are so many great tracks on this release. Less Than Zero is nothing what I expected after reading over the lyrics. Given the content of the song I was hoping for a nice down and dirty old school track and thats not to say that the song sucks as it is, its just sounds nothing like what I expected. The guitar work mid song is tasty but there isnt enough of it to beef up the song. Sadly, the content filter of the site prohibits me from quoting major parts of the song so youll just have to check it out on your own to get the details. One word of warning if you are sensitive, dont ate anything when you are listening to this the first time. Now, if you are looking for poetic content, Anesthesia is the one that you should start with first. This is one of the songs that I could listen to over and over again without getting the least bit tired of it. The flux between the dark and light sides of the music [guitar and synthesizers] is what really makes this song excel and stand out from the rest. Steeles vocals are as exceptional as ever and Silvers keyboard work helps to bring another level to the music.
Gimme That IYDKMIGTHTKY is one of the more bizarre tracks that takes a little dissecting to get to the root content. The music certainly isnt lacking but it really makes you question how intense Steele is in his relationships. Of course, this is just a song but its pretty freakin bizarre even for my taste. But after all, thats one of the best things about the group you never really know what they are going to throw at you. Another real shocker was The Dream Is Dead. This one really took me by storm because the music is totally different from what you would expect based on the lyrically content. Its hard to peg this track down to a specific era of the groups development so I wont even try. Haunting, creepy and erotically enticing are just a few terms that come to mind when I head this song and as much as I love it to pieces, I cant help but wonder why they went with such a light tone in the music department. The lyrics painted a pretty dark and grim scene but the music is almost perky.
Champagne glass of blood and wine
On chocolate hearts I dine
Things To Know
There are two versions [so far] of this CD, the original release [which has a pending parental advisory warning] and the clean version that just as the name states is clean or free of any questionable material. Much like the DVD release of The Osbournes: The First Season, it seems to be the new trend to release multiple versions of a CD or DVD hoping to try and please everyone. If you are going to try to find this, skip Wal-Mart if you are looking for the intact version because they are only carrying the clean version that is if they havent yanked it for questionable content their latest form of censorship. Before ordering this online, make sure you are getting the version that you want and if it isnt clearly labeled, make sure you ask before you order.
The Bottom Line
Ive been a fan of Type O Negative for a long time and for me Bloody Kisses is one of their best releases. When I heard that they were putting out a new disc I had to wonder if it would be a step back for them musically. As a whole Life Is Killing Me is standard Type O material with all the darkness and biting humor that youve come to expect from them. Is it as good as Bloody Kisses? Personally, its not better but thats just my take on it. It isnt a step back for them, maybe a step to the left or right, but definitely not a step back. If you liked their other releases theres a good chance that this will be a hit with you but if youve never listened to any of their other CDs, this might not sit very well with you. If you are into Danzig, Glenns solo projects, industrial or dark gothic bands this is worth checking out but chances are if you are into that area of music youll already be well aware of Type O Negative.
As always, thanks for the read!
^V^ Freak ^V^
© 2003 Freak369
Black No. 1, Summer Breeze, Love You To Death, Christian Woman, My Girlfriend's Girlfriend, Everything Dies, Cinnamon Girl
October Rust, Bloody Kisses, Life Is Killing Me, World Coming Down, Slow, Deep And Hard, The Least Worst of Type O Negative, Life Is Killing Me Import Version
Type O Negative: After Dark
Symphony For The Devil
Blood. Sex. Fire. Lust & Immortality
The Best of Type O: Peter Steele Naked
End Note: There are two listings for this CD at the site. This section [http://www.epinions.com/musc_mu-474961] is for the standard release and the other [http://www.epinions.com/musc_mu-486377] is for the clean [edited] version.