Originally written by Jon Eardley
Approaching the 20 year mark within the music business – this release being studio album number seven in that lengthy period of time – it seems the machine that Peter Steele and company have been pouring every last ounce of blood into has plenty of fuel left in the tank. Not very many veteran bands can stand up and say the same these days, regardless of how much of an impact an album or two of theirs may have had on extreme music as a whole. Resiliency, determination and persistence are only a few words that help describe what it takes for a group of musicians to reach that longevity, and the fact that Type O Negative is still here, trudging along through much of the self-indulged turmoil they’ve taken on in their personal lives, is a true testament to a band that simply has what it takes to churn out quality music at every turn, regardless of the trials life throws the way.
After releasing what was arguably their most lyrically disheartening and musically melancholic music to date in Life is Killing Me, Dead Again sees Type O Negative flip the coin over and take a slightly different approach, writing and recording their most optimistic and positive sounding album that screams of hope and anticipation of better days to come in this unpredictable life we all lead. Musically, it’s modern day Type O Negative, and that’s evident right from the get go. The keyboards still play a prominent role like always, the synthesized guitar tone is just as crunchy and hefty as expected, and most importantly Steele continues to unleash all of his life’s experiences through his words and voice – certainly one of the most unique in all of music. From his low end Lurch meets Herman Munster drone, to his aggressively emotional melodies and anger driven howls, to his chant-like humorous and tongue twisting lyrics…it’s all there and has never sounded better.
Where the band’s previous three albums maintained more of a slower pace throughout much of their songs, Dead Again sees the group reverting back to its early days by sprucing up the pace on several tracks, giving off more of a speedy punk vibe at times. The energetic opening title track, the Dimebag inspired “Halloween in Heaven”, and the loosely Carnivore motivated “Some Stupid Tomorrow” and “Tripping a Blind Man” are prime examples of the obvious attempt at writing more urgent numbers this time around. “September Sun” is a ballad-like number, which is rare but not completely surprising, and it has some of the most emotionally gripping hooks ever written by the group. Not to worry, however, because there is still plenty of doom n’ gloom to go around in the form of two of my favorite numbers from the album – “The Profits of Doom” and “These Three Things”. With the former coming in at 10:48 and the latter reaching the 14:21 plateau, all of the elements the band is known for seethe through the cracks of these songs and are, at least in my opinion, two of the best pieces of music I’ve heard the band record. Moments of staggering and rumbling chunk evolve into some catchier, rockier moments, only to see the band get a bit more experimental in the middle sections.
With that said there are moments of filler here and there (“She Burned Me Down”, “An Ode to Locksmiths”, and closer “Hail and Farewell to Britain”), which has pretty much been the case throughout the band’s career. With a strong ability to write some very impressive songs on most of their records, the band has yet to write an album that reeks of front to back quality since 1993’s Bloody Kisses. Though not nearly the same sounding band these days, the fact still remains that as good as some of the songs are that the band writes, a fully and completely infectious album has eluded them throughout the latter half of their existence. However, if I were a gambling man I would bet that the best is yet to come, and I would recommend that fans of the band bet on that as well.
At the end of the day Type O Negative is a band that is peerless in the world of extreme music, as they sound exactly like themselves and no one band sounds exactly like them. That’s a very rare trait, but an impressive one at that. No, the band has not changed their sound or evolved it in any way, shape or form; when you press play you will know it is Type O Negative, and that’s enough for me. Top-notch production, first-class songwriting, and competent musicianship all play an integral part in making this one of 2007’s early shining moments. Fans of the band don’t need me to tell you to pick this one up; I’m pretty certain you will be anyway. If you’ve never heard anything from the band before, you simply can’t go wrong with anything from the aforementioned Bloody Kisses and on. A truly and remarkably consistent band, and one I’m happy to consider one of my favorites out there right now.