Type O Negative | ‘Dead Again’
Former litter warden for Brooklyn’s Parks’ Authority, Pete Steele clearly hates waste in all its forms.
Like it’s predecessors, ‘Dead Again’ uses virtually the full eighty minute capacity provided by the CD format, and judging by the ten tracks on offer, ne’r a riff or an idea has been thrown overboard in the process.
It’s a striking album; and quite strange initially. Every facet is eminently Type O Negative, yet somehow just not the expected.
There’s nothing quite new here, in that every song is trademark casket crew, but the difference lies in the particular trademarks employed this time ‘round; and those that have been left out.
The most obvious change first off is that the song count has been dropped to a more reasonable ten – although not that it’s influenced the album length any.
The traditional intro has been omitted, as have the occasional interludes that have graced (filled?) most of the band’s albums to date.
The ‘hit’ song is missing, too. There’s no real equivalent to ‘My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend’, ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Me’ or ‘I Like Goils’.
‘Halloween In Heaven’ comes closest, but even then only the first half of the song has any hit potential.
They’ve also refrained from including a cover version again. Presumably at this stage the copyright holders know better than to give them permission.
This is only part true, though, as The Beatles are referenced quite liberally at various points throughout the album, most blatantly in the ‘Imagine’-esque piano in ‘September Sun’ and in the la-lala-la-la from ‘Hey Jude’.
There’s also more than the occasional nod to Black Sabbath. The Type O trademarks that have been included are a mixture of the tried and true, but also the long forgotten.
The Steele/Silver production has hardly changed an iota, except that the bass is perhaps an even greater driving force than before, particularly in ‘Tripping A Blind Man’, ‘Prophet Of Doom’ and ‘An Ode To The Locksmiths’.
The same old song writing formula also persists in the long, convoluted tracks with a million seemingly unrelated changes in time, style and atmosphere (don’t be surprised if in the booklet the aforementioned ‘Tripping…’ is divided into parts a, b, c, d, e, f and possibly even g – one for each minute of the song), interspersed by shorter uptempo numbers.
The emotional rollercoaster ride that has always characterised Type O is there, too, with the mellow countered by the bombastic, the brooding vs the angry, and the reflective contrasting the flippant.
Of course the lyrics are again a sublime exercise in black humour, such as the chorus from the title track, “I can’t believe I died last night, I’m fucking dead again”, set against a background of cheery “oh-oh-ohs”.
As mentioned, though, there are also elements of the long forgotten, namely occasional references to ‘Slow, Deep And Hard’, and even Carnivore.
The reunion gigs have seemingly had an influence on Steele’s song writing, as his hardcore roots are more evident on ‘Dead Again’ than at any time since the Type O debut, best illustrated in ‘Prophet Of Doom’ and ‘Some Stupid Tomorrow’.
Perhaps ironically, though, these are not necessarily the moments that make this the best Type O Negative album in donkey’s years.
Rather it’s in the phases when Steele and co. focus on their melodic and melancholic strengths that ‘Dead Again’ really shines.
The aforementioned ‘September Sun’, the sublime ‘She Burned Me Down’ and the monumental fourteen minute ‘These Three Things’ hark back to Type O’s glory days, fitting comfortably somewhere between ‘Bloody Kisses’ and ‘October Rust’, the latter song even borrowing from the ‘Bloody Kisses’ title track towards the end.
The closer ‘Hail And Farewell To Britain’ also fits in with these three, as the more focused, epic and captivating songs on the album, and finishes things on a real high.
The cover rounds off the package and is again symptomatic of the typical Type O Negative penchant for irony, depicting as it does the visage of Grigori Rasputin, the man the Russian nobility just couldn’t kill.
Finally dispatched by a combination of stabbing, poisoning, shooting, beating and ultimately drowning, who better to grace the cover of ‘Dead Again’.
Perhaps this is reading too much into the cover, though.
Maybe Rasputin’s presence just demonstrates Steele’s admiration for a Siberian peasant who managed to ride his way through all the Russian aristocracy had to offer, and who ultimately played no small part in the demise of the Russian tsars.
Or maybe he just hopes that like Rasputin his own penis will be put on display in a museum one day?
Food for thought. But more importantly, food for the ears.
4.2 / 5 – DBM ::: 02/03/07