This time around I decided to review an album I hold dear as I discovered it at the right time and connected with Pete(r) Steele and his vocals/lyrics instantly. So I apologize for the long emotional diarrhoea that is to follow.
Type O Negative are a band that I first heard back in 1995. I already knew the band because of my older siblings but did not know what they sounded like. Back in 1995 they played Black No 1 live on the set of a French show called Nulle Part Ailleurs and not much of a fuck was given by 10 year old me. October Rust came out in 1996 and my sister played it to death and I have to admit I thought it was OK (I was moving from a Heavy/Thrash Metal to a Death/Black Metal direction back then and thought it was too soft).
And that was it for me. I had written down Type O Negative as a Gothic Poprock band and it would take me a couple years to finally realize my mistake.
Fast forward to 2001 and the Carnivore re-releases. I fell in love with the first Carnivore album, which was Pete Steeles’ second band and the one prior to Type O Negative (abbreviated TON from now on). It was a nice slab of 80s midpaced Speed Metal, not too far removed from very early Overkill or Manowar. The second Carnivore album, although nowhere near as good due to a musical change to a less interesting hardcore/crossover direction, made me question my childhood judgement. My sister, no longer listening to music left me her October Rust and World Coming Down CDs, which I still did not listen to. Being able to surf online in those early internet days I came across statements like “The first TON album was supposed to be the third Carnivore album” and so my interest was reignited.
Now of course, I could not find the damn record so I forgot about it again. A couple years later (again) I find myself at home on a Saturday night, 4 a.m. and some German channel is broadcasting a festival. The band that was on was of course TON and their rendition of the unedited Black No 1 was both fun and catchy and had me hooked. Sadly it was the last song but the band was about to release Dead Again, which I downloaded. Dead Again showed me that the band still knew how to sound menacing and speed things up while adding some Black Sabbath and some Beatles to their sound. I was positively surprised and decided to get their other Stuff.
Which brings us to the actual album, Slow Deep and Hard.
I had recently split up with my GF and went to Germany to meet with friends living there. Before catching the train back to Luxembourg I had some time to kill in a store and ended up buying Slow, Deep and Hard along with the original Bloody Kisses CD. At this point I had already heard a couple more TON songs and knew I would like those albums (though I had no clue just how much). Needless to say, Slow, Deep and Hard (now abbreviated SDAH) became the soundtrack of that time for various reasons. The most important, and also the most obvious one for those who know the album, were the lyrics. SDAH can be considered a concept album about a break up. Out of the 7 songs, at least 5 fit the theme. You have the ridiculously titled Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity, with the now infamous chorus I Know You’re Fucking Someone Else (which has become the unofficial new title of the song).Pete is self-loathing his way through the lyrics while dirges of doomy riffs, eerie keyboards and Hardcore outbursts build up this nearly 13 minutes song until it explodes and Pete is yelling at his ex-GF and calling her every name there is while detailing what occurred during their doomed relationship. “The prophets preach to forgive and forget, I am sorry but I am unable”, well put Pete.
Der Untermensch is the only song that feels out of place lyrically and has more to do with a typical Carnivore song, however if you do not listen to the lyrics it does not break the flow. It is one of those songs I like to show to easily-offended people just to piss them off because the lyrics are beyond racist. However, if you do not get that they are meant as a joke then you might be one of those who rant about Spongebob being a gay rolemodel for the next generation. Might as well join the Westboro Baptist Church then.
Up next is Xero Tolerance, a song about stalking your ex-GF until you find her making out with her new beau and decide to take your axe out of the trunk of your car and become an “equal opportunity destroyer”. Now don’t be stuck up, who doesn’t fantasize about killing people that annoy or hurt you? Get off your high horse and be human and show some sense of humor, will ya?! All in good fun, besides, she had it coming, didn’t she? Harhar This song is also one of the darker ones on the album, along with Prelude to Agony. Very doomy with Sabbath-like riffs, keyboards, chanting, Industrial noise and a nice acoustic outro.
Prelude to Agony is about raping the girl. Like all the songs on this album it is split into different sections, my favourite being aptly titled “Jackhammer rape”, ‘nuff said! Similar to Xero Tolerance, very dark and broody, but also fast towards the second half of the song. Might have the fastest part on the whole album. The rape being described in the lyrics is so tongue-in-cheek that at the end of the day, you ask yourself if he is referring to the speed of the penetration (jackhammer rape) or actually using a jackhammer on her. Very childish, yet depicted in a very poetic and intelligent way.
The next 2 songs are probably skip material for most people, I do enjoy the instrumental Glass Walls Of Limbo. I believe they used it as an intro before going onstage (at least they used it on the fake live album The Origin Of The Feces). It mainly consists of chanting and some weird noises that remind me of Vikings rowing. The Misinterpretation of Silence and its Disastrous Consequences is 1 minute of silence, plain and simple.
The last song is titled Gravitational Constant: G = 6.67 x 10-8 cm-3 gm-1 sec-2 and, lyrically, results in a suicide or the contemplation with suicide. The song is more lightweight, the main riff always reminds me of grunge bands for some reason, I don’t know why. Lyrically probably the most philosophical song on the album. No more cartoon violence, Pete actually talks about suicide in a very mature way. What adds to the experience is the fact that Pete tried to kill himself before this album, due to the GF. His arguments are not the cheap romantic goth ones but very intelligent points made by a person that made the choice to end its life. One of the last lines is the haunting “The scars on my wrists may seem like a crime. Just wish me better luck next time”. Thank goodness he didn’t add more scars to those mentioned.
The album cover is a picture of a penis penetrating a vagina and the title fits it like a velvet glove, pardon the pun.
Wow, I just spent 4 hours writing this review and am not even getting paid for it, talk about love for the music! Bottom line, if you get easily offended you will not get past the lyrics, TON are masters of sarcasm and black humor and they enjoyed pissing off people. No matter how morbid or tasteless the matter, it is better to joke and have people talk about it than to ignore the subject.
So here we are, a TON that sounds like no other TON, very unique, beautiful in its depiction of rejection, suffering and hatred. Possibly proof of the healing powers of music. Anyways, thanks Pete, your suffering helped others to make it through.
Dedicated to the memory of Pete Steele, none more negative.