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From The Vaults #24 | Type O Negative – ‘Slow, Deep and Hard’

I suppose I should begin this retrospective with a cliché line like “Out of the ashes of Carnivore…” or something like that.

It’s a fitting beginning to an album that is as much of an end to a old chapter as it is a beginning to a new one.

‘Retaliation’ was an ugly, ugly album and ‘Slow, Deep and Hard’ is one step beyond in all the wrong directions.

Whilst Carnivore were heavily indebted to the traditional Sabbath doom break, this album utilises that concept to its extreme. The intro to ‘Cornucopia’ – compared to Carnivore’s eponymous track – is a good example.

Drawn out and totally tortuous riffs abound, often pushed out for a minute or so longer than necessary… it’s not supposed to be fucking fun!

This musical masochism is mimicked by the ultra-personal nature of the lyrics. ‘Retaliation’ began with the lines “I’m suffering from depression, the anger turned within”: and this record embodies that idea.

It’s not all an endurance test for the senses. The torture is interspersed with singalong moments like in the chorus of “Unsuccessfully…”; it’s almost like you’re being rewarded for enduring the sloooowwwww doom riffs.

Yet it’s a very difficult album to categorise.

The ugliness of the subject matter is matched by the sound of the album; isn’t that a fucking horrible guitar sound? The Hickey/Steele tandem was once described by the band as being like a “wall of diarrhea” and I think that’s pretty apt. You also get some pretty squawly guitar solos on here that are somewhere between Mantas (Jeff Dunn not proto-Death), Slayer and NYHC; not exactly pretty but totally fitting.

Sticking with the Carnivore comparisons, you could pretty much laugh off some of the worst excesses of Peter’s previous band given that they were often delivered in a tongue in cheek style. But Slow Deep and Hard is a lot grimmer. That’s not to say there isn’t a humorous side to proceedings; the call and response section of “I know you’re fucking someone else”…. “He knows you’re fucking someone else” never fails to bring a smile to my face, as do some of the more rocking sections of ‘Xero Tolerance’.

But that’s interspersed with the absolute ugliness of ‘Der Untermensch’ which pours scorn upon welfare recipients and the rest of the album’s revenge fantasy concept which had the band labelled as racist and misogynist which is something of a black and white way of looking at things if you ask me (ha!).

In the early 90s, many a metal band desperately tried to scramble away from the rapidly decaying thrash genre and this, in my eyes at least, was one of the more successful attempts at moving away from anything resembling thrash unto something new.

Pay attention and you’ll notice that there aren’t any thrash riffs here; they are all more along the lines of Black Sabbath meets hardcore that served the sludge subgenre well.

It’s important to note that this was a big yet relatively unsung influence upon that scene and yet you never really hear it mentioned as a “sludge” album. I’d like to note that I don’t think this has anything in common with Neurosis and the “atmospheric” bunch but certainly a big influence on Crowbar, Eyehategod and their ilk.

All in all, it’s an entirely different beast from what they ultimately became best known for and could be recommended as the “Type O Negative record for people who don’t like Type O Negative” as well as to those in search of the mutated offspring of thrash, hardcore and doom.

I can’t say that this is something I listen to back-to-front very often – but it’s a very worthwhile although not exactly “enjoyable” listen when I do.

Tom Andrew ::: 05/01/16

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  1. I have enjoyed this album since it was given to me on cassette in the early 90s by a mate that thought it was utter dogshit. Ive been insulting and amusing people by playing it to them since.

  2. Sure as fuck would have UN crisis meeting if a record like this was released today! It’s a beast of a record written in the first person, which is a rarity in itself.

  3. pentagrimes Says:

    Their best record.

  4. pentagrimes Says:

    Oh one more admittedly pedantic thing: it’s slightly fanciful TON were an influence on Eyehategod and Crowbar. EHG had been on the go since 87 and had well defined their own sound by the time “In the Name of the Suffering” came out (a year after “Slow Deep and Hard”) and Crowbar I’m pretty sure had released their first lp before this as well. Carnivore may have been an influence but there’s a fairly big gap sonically between that band and this album, so I can’t really see how they’d have had any effect on what the New Orleans bands were doing.

    Still though, amazing record, probably one of my favourite albums ever, at least in part because of how uncomfortable it is. Much as I like what followed, this feels almost like a different, uglier band. And I prefer this incarnation.

  5. The only Type O Negative album I’ve listened to but I found it a lot of fun. So gleefully over-the-top.

    And for some reason whenever I hear that guitar tone it makes me think of the StarCraft soundtrack.

  6. Tom Andrew Says:

    Pentagrimes, good point on the EHG I think you’re right about that and they were probably only influenced by Carnivore, but Slow, Deep and Hard was definitely a big influence on Crowbar: Kirk talks about it here at about 6:30 in.


  7. DesTheKingOfTawny Says:

    I know you’re fucking someone else!
    I know you’re fucking someone else!

    wimmen eh???

  8. Great shout. I love all of Type Os’ stuff anyway but this was the last album of theirs I actually got into as a young lad and it was and still is very different to the rest. Personally, October Rust is my favourite, closely followed by Bloody Kisses and World Coming Down. But this is like a different band in fairness and an album I still listen to fairly often. Love the tongue in cheek element to what would have otherwise been an extremely bleak experience. Unique band and unique album.

  9. pentagrimes Says:

    Mind if I come out of retirement momentarily to do the next one?

  10. Frankly sir it’s a positive invitation.

  11. pentagrimes Says:

    huzzah. watch your mailbox over the next week or two.

  12. paulmcloughlin5 Says:

    not an enjoyable listen,but at times it does us all good to suffer.thats the sound that Type O wanted on this album and thats what we got.GREAT STUFF!!

  13. Sex lust and suffering. No band made these real like Type O.

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