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Hailed by everyone from Black Sabbath's Bill Ward and Pantera's Philip Anselmo to members of younger bands such as Code Orange, Dying Wish and Unto Others, Type O Negative remain one of heavy music's most inspired, and inspiring, creative forces. The drab four — led by the great Peter Steele — packed big riffs, bigger hooks and a Brooklyn-bred sense of black humor into their seven iconic studio albums, from 1991's Slow, Deep and Hard to their 2007 swan song, Dead Again.
Tragically, Steele's death in 2010 put a permanent end to the band, but their records live forever. We here at Revolver HQ have listened to them over and over again over the years, and below we've ranked Type O's albums, from worst to — as Steele would say — least worst.
Conceptually, this might be the most Type O Negative release ever: The band's second LP is essentially a re-recording of their first album as a fake live record, with staged crowd noises and even a bomb threat, and a close-up of Peter Steele's sphincter for the cover art. It's an amazing stunt — complete with a darkly humorous reimagining of Billy Roberts' "Hey Joe" (made famous by Jimi Hendrix) as the murder fantasy "Hey Pete" — but clearly Type O's least essential offering.
As heard on the single "I Don't Wanna Be Me," as well as cuts like "(We Were) Electrocute" and the cover of Hedwig and the Angry Inch's "Angry Inch," Type O went poppier, punkier and jokier on Album No. 6. The result is a fun listen, but it doesn't quite feel like the Drab Four.
Johnny Kelly probably said it best: "Overall, it was lacking," he told Revolver. "That record is the most disjointed of the whole catalog." Even so, Life Is Killing Me has its moments. "I Don't Wanna Be Me" is now the band's most streamed song on Spotify, and the six-minute masterpiece "Anesthesia" quickly became a fan favorite and live staple.
Type O were in particular disarray during the making of their swan song, Dead Again. Steele was an alcoholic shut-in who would only leave his home for band rehearsal, and those sessions quickly turned acrimonious. The album easily could have been a mess; instead, it marked something of a return to form, coming after the poppier, punkier swerve of Life Is Killing Me.
Lead single "The Profit of Doom" sets the tone — trimmed to a lean four-and-a-half minutes as a single, it's nearly 11 on the album, boasting all the dynamics, drama and, yes, doom of signature Type O. A fitting farewell.
Type O Negative probably couldn't have released their debut, Slow, Deep and Hard, today. Across songs like "Unsuccessfully Coping With the Natural Beauty of Infidelity," "Prelude to Agony" and "Der Untermensch," the album continued the politically incorrect humor of Steele's previous band, cave-man thrash crew Carnivore, and it got Type O branded as misogynists, bigots and straight-up Nazis by reactionaries who totally missed the joke.
For those with a taste for un-P.C. humor, however, it's brilliantly hilarious, and the raw, NYHC-spiked music — though a far cry from the earworm goth metal the group would become known for — is damn good, too.
Simply put: October Rust is Type O's sexiest album. "Love You to Death." "Be My Druidess." "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend." The cover of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl." Lush, sultry and goth as fuck, the record was "designed to score [Steele] women," as Type O guitarist Kenny Hickey told Revolver in 2010, and it succeeded in spades with its songs of sex and paganism, its preponderance of ballads over doom metal, its shift away from the band's NYHC roots. October Rust is where Type O became the Type O that a certain type of fan thinks of. To say that it's a bit cheesy is beside the point.
Bleak and crushing, World Coming Down is Type O's heaviest, most depressing album. Lyrically, it draws on the band members' real-life tough times — from cocaine addiction ("White Slavery") to the death of loved ones ("Everyone I Love Is Dead," "Everything Dies") to mental illness ("Who Will Save the Sane?"). Musically, it brings the group's doomiest Sabbathian influences to the fore.
Despite World Coming Down's relentless darkness, Kelly and guitarist Kenny Hickey both love it, citing it as their favorite and second favorite albums, respectively. "It's so heavy and real," the latter said. "But it's hard for me to listen to because all of it was so prophetic in the end. The whole album comes true." A work of great art.
Could any other album come in at No. 1 here? We think not. Bloody Kisses is Type O Negative's magnum opus bar none and their definitive work, the perfect synthesis of their wide-ranging influences — heavy metal, NYHC, New Wave, goth rock and classic rock — as well as their odd coupling of candle-lit romanticism and hard-edged sarcasm.
"Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)" was the breakout smash hit, of course, a tune so fun and infectious it became an anthem for the very self-conscious goths it was skewering. The title track is 11 minutes of shuddering, morose doom written — you'd never guess it — for Steele's late, beloved cat. "Kill All White People" and "We Hate Everyone" nod to Type O's hardcore roots. The album's less-popular single, "Christian Woman," might be the best song on the damn thing.
"Don't mistake lack of talent for genius," reads the slogan on the back on Bloody Kisses. But c'mon, this is fucking genius.