January 23, 2013

A Revisitation: Type O Negative

In my limited music exposure I have come across a few bands that released albums that were ahead of their time as well as bands that found me lagging behind. I have just experienced a brand new situation. Prior to this past week, I do not think I had encountered anything like this. I have been listening to a band I have been a fan of for years but have not listened to for awhile and I have discovered an entirely new respect for them. Perhaps I have finally caught up to where they were so many years ago. The band? Type O Negative.

I do not remember exactly when I first heard them, but I am guessing it was 1994 or 1995. One of my coworkers lent me her copy of their 1993 album Bloody Kisses. I immediately fell in love with their big, dark sound. There is no wonder why songs like "Black No. 1" and "Christian Woman" we're such hits for them. I even got to see them love during their heyday. They put on some amazing shows. Their sound translated so well live and you could see the emotions play out in their music, not to mention their comic sensibilities.

I made sure to get all of their subsequent releases, loving each one. However, as I listen to them now, it is like total rediscovery. I find it hard to put a finger on just what is different. I suppose it could be my age, it is no longer the 1990s and I am not quite the same person I was then. Things affect me differently now, sometimes in strange and unexpected ways.

With regards to Type O Negative, I find their music has greatly elevated itself in my mind. It is more than just heavy and dark music to be found. There is a lot going on lyrically. Peter Steele seems to have poured his entire being into these songs. The songs are filled with love, pain, loss, they are songs of mourning, of joy, of peace.

No, not every song is gold, but so much of it is. It is not just lyrically either. Type O Negative is hardly the only band to ever mine the depths of dark music and employ emotional lyrics, but I cannot say I have ever heard a band quite like this.

This is hardly an unbiased piece, and it is hardly well written. The thing of it is, I have had this band's music bouncing around in my head. There are lines that stick in my head, riffs the get caught in my brain. I had to do something to share it with anyone willing to read this.

To keep it going a little further, I thought it would be appropriate to share a song from each of their studio albums.

Their first album was 1991's Slow, Deep, and Hard. It is far from my favorite album of theirs, but it does have some good songs and showcases Peter Steele's transition from his prior band, Carnivore, to his newly developing gothic metal sound. My favorite song off this release is the lengthy "Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity."

In 1992, they released the fake live album, The Origin of the Feces. It contained mostly reworked versions of earlier songs, so I am skipping this and moving onto their 1993 breakthrough, Bloody Kisses. It would be easy to choose "Black No.1" or "Christian Woman," so I am going with something different: "Blood and Fire"

Their 1996 release, October Rust, may be my favorite of all their albums. It is melodic, dark, haunting, and features some fantastic writing. it is really quite difficult to just pick one song. Let's go with "Love You to Death"

In 1999, World Coming Down  was released and featured a somewhat stripped down sound after October Rust. it is an album that came at a difficult time for Peter Steele who was suffering loss and as a result the lyrics are highly personal and were not easy for him to perform live. Here is "Everything Dies"

2003 saw the release of Life is Killing Me. Another great slab of dark metal from the Drab Four. Here is "I Don't Wanna be Me"

2007 would see the release of their final album, Dead Again. Here is "She Burned Me Down"

The death of Peter Steele in 2010 left a hole in the music scene. He and his bandmates delivered some of the darkest, most beautiful music I have ever heard. I wish I realized what I was listening to sooner, but better late than never. I know not everyone will hear their music like I do, but I suggest you give it a try. I hope some of these tracks have caught your ear enough to look it their catalog further.

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