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This is one of the most interesting, funniest albums I have heard. Type O Negative has always had a strange and twisted sense of humor. Nowhere is this more obvious than on this album. They have given us some strange liner notes at times, but this album really is the go-to point if you want to tell someone how weird this band is.
Let's start with the cover. This is allegedly a picture of vocalist Peter Steele's anus. Thankfully, people were angry and the cover was censored eventually. We do not need to really see Peter Steele's anus, thank you very much.
Now, the craziest part about this album is that it is supposed to be a live album. I say supposed to be because the band's label Roadrunner had it written in the contract that Type O Negative was to record a live album. However, the band allegedly took the money they were supposed to spend on producing the live album on cheap vodka instead. Realizing they needed to fulfill their contractual obligations, the band simply re-recorded their debut album Slow Deep and Hard, added a couple of songs and retitled some of the other songs and then added fake crowd noise.
But they did not stop there. It would be too easy to simply add in crowd noise. No, Type O Negative added in chants of "You Suck!" and improvised a fight between Steele and the fans with Steele yelling "You suck too" at one point in the album and then making fun of the crowd because he's getting paid to play and the crowd had to pay to get in. At about the midway point, the band claimed it had to stop playing because there was a bomb threat in the concert hall. After a few seconds of silence, they began playing again.
Beyond the insanity of the fake crowd, the music is very impressive and it does sound as if they are playing live. The first seven tracks are the fake concert and then the band adds in a very interesting cover of the Black Sabbath classic "Paranoid" for the final track. The musicianship is tight and is held together well despite the often changing tempos.
Type O Negative will never be mistaken for an incredibly musically talented act. But that is okay, because the band plays just well enough to sound fine playing the style of music they play. They have always been able to write long, multi-part epic songs and this has been their best musical quality. Here, for example, we have the fifteen minute opener "I Know You're Fucking Someone Else", which lays the groundwork for the rest of the album. The band's style is a form of gothic metal incorporating various influences such as Black Sabbath and The Beatles. They take those influences and slow them down and twist them to form a sound that is unlike any other band.
As for the instrumentation itself, the band has always relied quite a bit on the keyboards and vocals to drive the melodies home, in particular in the softer parts of the songs, of which there are many. This is true of this album as well. There is the occasional guitar solo and the riffs are plentiful, but they do not typically constitute the main melody of the song. The bass and guitar parts mostly lumber their way through the slower songs in a doom-laden dirge but are there to provide main support in the faster songs. The riffs drive the song forward, but it's the additional flourishes that shine through.
The major focus is on the vocals. Peter Steele has an extremely deep voice and it adds a haunting quality to the songs. Occasionally, Kenny Hickey or Josh Silver provide backing vocals to further emphasize the deepness of Steele's voice.
The songs themselves are mostly typical of Type O Negative: gloomy, dirge-like exercises in self-deprecation and depression. The songs deal with the betrayal of a cheating girlfriend and fantasies about killing her, and then actually going through with it. There are some other subjects too, but for the most part it details a relationship gone very wrong. The lyrics are often somewhat humorous despite the dark nature of the subject matter. This has become a well-known trait of the band that was in its infancy at the time of the release of this album.
Two songs are covers. The track "Hey Peter" is a rearranging of the Jimi Hendrix song "Hey Joe" about a jealous lover ready to kill his cheating girlfriend. Here Peter Steele replaces the gun with an axe. The last track is a morosely slow adaptation of the Black Sabbath classic "Paranoid". Somehow the band stretches it out more than twice as long as the original.
The production on the album is crisp and clean. It's the first real sign that this was not actually a live album. Most live recordings are not as clear as this album. That's fine though as it allows the music to be heard very well.
Overall, this is a very fun listen. The humor involved keeps things light and interesting, despite the very dark subject matter. Type O Negative never did record a real live album.
Okay, maybe not the whole family... your grandpa will only enjoy the part during I Know You're Fucking Someone Else when Peter stops the song and breaks out into "I'm In the Mood for Love," a song from the 30's by someone who's dead now. But surely the rest of the family will love it...
Many of us know the story; Type O gets paid to record a live album, accidentally blows the money to fund said live recording on booze, uses demos of rerecorded versions and puts in crowd noise and fake confrontations with the fans. But, let's strip it down and look at the songs themselves.
The sound has taken on more of a clear tone, which is hard to recognize beneath the mixing that was intentionally meant to make the album sound more live... Peter's voice has become less like a yelling, intimidating drunkard, and more like a bitterly sarcastic, but good-natured drunkard. This gives the songs a more light feeling, which makes them all the more disturbing. The keyboards are hard to recognize because, aside from the really standout parts, Josh doesn't play a huge role on these first songs. The bass is beginning to come through more heavily in the mix, and on Paranoid you can hear the beginnings of the sound they really mastered on 'Bloody Kisses.' The guitar is just where it's always been, hovering just over Peter's bass, and really shining through when it takes on a lead or acoustic part.
Highlights of the album include the dramatically altered version of Xero Tolerance, found here under the name 'Kill You Tonight.' The second verse has been made into a jumble of horrid british accents and surfer "oh-oh-oh's." 'Hey Pete' is a brilliantly funny reworking of Hey Joe by Hendrix, with some great vocals by Kenny.
My biggest complaint is that they cut out the entire end point of Gravitational Constant and since this rebuilding, they have never played the song in it's entirety, as heard on SD&H. But they can be forgiven. They also drastically shortened Prelude to Agony (here called 'Pain'), but luckily that didn't really stick.
All in all, it's a good buy, if not to hear the beginnings of their seriously goofy sense of musical humor, then to simply enjoy some reworkings, and pretend it really is a live show.
There is some debate over how "live" this album actually is. Some claim it was recorded in the studio. The liner notes say it was recorded October 31st 1991 at Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. However it was recorded, Pete Steele and the rest of Type O Negative were having a bad day, and couldn't be happier.
Early in their career, the band were largely misunderstood, alienating the undeserved right wing following Steele's previous band Carnivore had picked up. They simply weren't hardcore enough for the skinheads. At the same time, the Gothic crowd who later championed the band, were scared off by the double kick drum flourishes, and thrash outs in many of the songs, but at the same time were drawn in by the melancholic, introspective lyrics, the theatrical vocals, and the doom laden keyboards and dirge–like arrangements.
Right from the start, the band are taunted with chants of "You suck, you suck!" but continue to play anyway. The jeers continue through the first song, originally titled "Unsuccessfully Coping With The Natural Beauty Of Infidelity", but more popularly known as "I Know You're F**king Someone Else". And the song winds it's way through pipe organ Gothicism, acoustic sections, hardcore sing–a–longs, a Scottish accent, and thrash metal kick outs. It sounds a mess, but is an incredibly listenable epic.
The between song abuse between Steele and the audience is a treat, as are the moments when it all goes wrong. Third track "Gravity" breaks down completely, and in something reminiscent of Bad News or Spinal Tap, the band has to stop for an apparent bomb threat. "I guess this ain't your lucky day, huh? Let's just get this over with," mutters Steele as the band returns to the stage and blasts through a raucous version of "Pain". There's a silly but fun take on "Hey Joe", with Steele's mournful moan and the trademark lumbering juggernaut guitar and bass sound adding some seriously sinister overtones Jimi Hendrix would never have dreamed of. The show ends with a rollicking romp through a reprise of "Kill You Tonight", a cheerful ode to murdering an unfaithful lover, complete with cheesy New Romantic "whoa whoa" backing vocals, and a silly accent, sounding like a cross between Crocodile Dundee and EastEnders. There's an ill–advised cover of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" tacked on the end. It doesn't fit Type O Negative's style, so the less said the better.
This whole album is surprisingly good fun from a band who are meant to be miserable bastards. It also benefits from losing the infamous original artwork — a close–up picture of an asshole stretched so far as to make your eyes water!
Starting this fake live album with an opening chant of "You Suck!!" from the "crowd" kind of sums up Type O's attitude about themselves in two words. Going from fast punkish parts to doom to gothy to almost popish the band really stretches out sometimes. You can hear it all on this "live" album as well as a healthy dose of humor.
The better cuts from the album are "I Know You're Fucking Someone Else" (going from fast punk to a doom crawl) and "Pain" (a faster punk type song). I'm not a big fan of "Kill You Tonight" being in two parts but whatever. "Are You Afraid" and "Gravity" are both strong songs with a few little surprises. "Hey Pete" is a great cover. Type O do it extremely well, it's quite surprising how the band can do such great covers and be able to turn every song into something that sounds like a Type O original. "Paranoid" is another good cover that's REALLY slowed down when compared to the original. It's hardly recognizable actually.
Overall a pretty good effort by Type O. The songs are a bit schizophrenic, going from fast punk to gothy or doomy passages in an instant. The fake crowd is hilarious and the stuff Peter Steele says back to them is great. A definite must if you're a Type O fan and even if you aren't it wouldn't hurt to give it a listen.
Type O Negative have always been a band that has no problem laughing at themselves, and they really show it on Origin of the Feces. The fake live album, which is quite convincing, actually, starts off with a lengthy dirge on infidelity, "I Know You're Fucking Someone Else" which is pure brilliance.
The rest of the album is more of the same kind of stuff. Very catchy, but also extremely heavy in parts, going from blistering speed to sludgy, doomy passages. Type O are a very wonderful band, actually. So many styles show themselves in their music -- metal, goth, punk, industrial, pop, blues, you name it. I've always thought that this was their best album, too, and I don't think I'm about to change my mind. The songwriting and musicianship is top notch -- and the covers?
Well, there are two cover songs. The first is a cover of "Hey Joe", a traditional blues song made famous by Jimi Hendrix which Mr. Peter Steele decided to rearrange into "Hey Pete". Pure genius. Instead of a gun, Pete chases his unfaithful lady friend down with an axe! Very well done, and good for a laugh, too. The next cover is "Paranoid" of Black Sabbath fame. This, like many Type O covers is completely slowed down -- so much, in fact that the just-over-two-minutes song more than doubles in length! Also very well done, but not as good as "Hey Pete".
If you have never heard this band, this is a good place to start. You get the humour, you get the great original songs, and you get a couple of great covers.