Type O Negative

REVIEW: Type O Negative – Bloody Kisses (1993 – original and re-release)

TYPE O NEGATIVE – Bloody Kisses (1993 Roadrunner, original and digipack re-release)

“If you like Black Sabbath,” said the security guy at the mall, “then you have to hear Type O Negative.  They are one of my favourite bands right now.  Do you have it?”

We checked the racks, and we did — Bloody Kisses, the recent re-release in a smart looking cardboard digipack.

There were two security guys at the mall.  There was Trevor Atkinson, the laziest guard in the world, who I knew from highschool.  The other guy had more the look of the cop-wanna-be, the way you picture the cliche of mall security guards in your head.  He was the Type O fan.

The year was 1995, still early in the winter, and fresh working at the Record Store (for about six months).  I had been collecting Black Sabbath for years, and in 1995 I was still mad for them, trying to acquire the rare stuff on CD like Born Again and Seventh Star.  Knowing my infatuation with Black Sabbath, the cop-looking guard recommended Bloody Kisses.  I was also about five months since my first big breakup, and I was still bitter and angry.  It clicked.

I mean, read this dedication in the inner booklet.

I wouldn’t recommend Type O Negative to any old Sabbath fan like he did.  In fact a few months later, I saw Type O Negative with a bunch of Sabbath fans, and they couldn’t have given a shit.  But I got why he did.  The gothic imagery, the heavy guitars, the keyboard accents.  Certainly, the comically deep vocals of Peter Steele were nothing like any of the higher-pitched crooners that Sabbath have ever had in their ranks.  But Type O did sooth my angry, heartbroken soul when I hit “play” on my brand new copy of Bloody Kisses.  I didn’t know, but I had bought a recent reissue featuring a new song called “Suspended In Dusk”, while losing a lot of the instrumental bits and novelty songs on the first edition.  The reissue, with only nine tracks instead of 14, is an overall better listening experience.  (There is also a deluxe edition with all the material from both, plus remixes, and their cover of “Black Sabbath” from Nativity in Black.)

Both versions open with the same song – “Christian Woman” – although the original makes you wait through 40 seconds of metal machine music and moaning called “Machine Screw”.  Cutting to the chase is better.  Soft, subtle keyboards welcome you in.  The nine minute track is laid out in three parts in the booklet.  A: “Body of Christ (Corpus Christi)”, B: “To Love God”, and C: “J.C. Looks Like Me”.  Each is a distinct section with its own riff and hooks, with “To Love God” being a soft interlude between two harder parts.  If anything is Sabbathy here (besides the title), it’s the varied arrangement, the keys, and the Appice-like drums of Sal Abruscato.  Guitarist Johnny Hickey sings the higher vocals in contrast to Steele’s ridiculously low baritone.  This is a truly great song, though the naughty lyrics aren’t poetry.  It’s solid all the way through, which you can’t say for every long song on this album.   The track was pointlessly edited down to four and a half minutes for single release, losing all its grandeur.

The reissue and original differ drastically in running order here, but the more concise reissue blends seamless into “Bloody Kisses”, a very slow dirge that goes on for 10:56.  A bit of a slog, with highlights here and there, but get to the point, right?  In the booklet it is subtitled “A Death in the Family” and that’s exactly what it sounds like.  In the quiet parts of the song are sounds which create the image of a gothic castle during a storm, so you have to give Type O credit for caring about their craft.  “Too Late: Frozen” is another long one, distinguished by it’s goofy “too late for a-pol-o-gies-ah!” chant.  It has a lo-fi punk vibe and is quite enjoyable for all its disperate ingredients.  Of course one of those parts is a big dark dirge-y gothic breakdown.  It’s really two songs in one, with “Frozen” bookended by “Too Late”.

Type O goes for straighter riffing on “Blood & Fire”.  This is about as conventional as songs get on Bloody Kisses.  Some of the lyrics resonated with my sad-sack-of-shit broken-hearted persona that I found myself projecting.

I always thought we’d be together,
And that our love could not be better,
Well, with no warning you were gone,
I still don’t know what went wrong.

It sounds as if a natural side break was inserted after “Blood & Fire”, because there is a respite before the bizarre sitar-inflected “Can’t Lose You”.  It’s a very long buildup, but this sets up their version of Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” on the reissue.  (We’ll get to what they do on the original running order in a bit.)  “Can’t Lose You” sounds like a gothic parody of the Beatles’ “India period”, but “Summer Breeze” is more like Ozzy’s cover of “Purple Haze”!  Guitars distorted to the max, Pete croons about the jasmine in his mind.  On both versions of the CD, “Summer Breeze” is paired with “Set Me On Fire” as a sort of high-octane organ-centric outro.  Dig that backwards flute.  (Flautist: uncredited.)

A sudden break here leads to a dark cave where Peter Steele can be found breathing heavily and taking a deep drink from a bottle.  “Damn me father,” he says, “for I must sin.”  It’s the reissue bonus track “Suspended in Dusk”, a frankly dull song about a vampiric creature.  The slower-than-slow approach, paired with the spoken word vocal style does not hasten the blood.  Some clear chordal homages to Black Sabbath catch the ear.  That said, the lyrics are cool.  “Four centuries of this damned immortality.  Yet I did not ask to be made.  Why?”  Too long, too long, goes on forever.  Shame.

Closing the reissue is the other big single, “Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)”, a tribute to the goth girls of the 90s.  This is a great tune, and it’s hard to believe this hit is an 11 minute tune.  Granted, it was shaved down under five for its single release, which is a shame since you miss great hooks.

“I went looking for trouble,” begins Pete.  “And boy…I found her.”

It’s all Hallow’s Eve, and she’s got a date at midnight with Nosferatu.  Peter taps into everything sexy and cool about Halloween on “Black No. 1”, named for the hair dye colour.  “You wanna go out ’cause it’s raining and blowing, she can’t go out ’cause her roots are showing.  Dye ’em black.”

Terrific ending to the reissued album.  Hit ’em hard with a single on the way out. Epic, fun, hook-laden and conclusive.  So why did they re-arrange the tracklist and cut so many from the original?  “Sacrebleu!”

The band were fully involved with the reissue, which also featured an alternative cover photo.  One has to assume they saw the potential of a better listening experience in the revised tracklist, and they were correct.  If Bloody Kisses has a primary flaw, it’s that too many songs take a while to get to the point (if they get there at all).  With all the original additional material, the album is too uneven in tone and quality.

“Machine Screw” doesn’t take long to get out of the way, but the jokey opener isn’t necessary.  The original tracklist then gets the two biggest tunes out of the way right at the start, albeit a combined 20 minute start, “Christian Woman” and “Black No. 1”.  It then segues into “Fay Wray Come Out and Play” a minute of what sounds like a woman being sacrificed by some kind of jungle tribe.  It’s a sonic filler that doesn’t enhance enjoyment of the album, just contributes to a jokey novelty quality.  As does the next track, a punk thrasher called “Kill all the White People”.  The lyrics are pretty simple — “Kill all the white people, then we be free!”  Is that why they wanted to sacrifice Fay Wray?  I’m getting confused here.  In an abrupt change of pace, “Summer Breeze”/ “Set Me On Fire” follows.  It’s a very different setup from “Can’t Lose You” on the reissue.

Back to “Set Me On Fire”, (which ends abruptly on both versions).  On the original set, the next track is the birthing noises of “Dark Side of the Womb” followed by “We Hate Everyone”.  This is a cool tune, but perhaps the lyrics were considered too jokey for the reissue.  Who does Type O Negative hate, for example?  “Right wing commies, leftist Nazis”, and most importantly “We don’t care what you think!”  The punky tempo and melody are at odds with the majority of the album, but this is one track worth having the original version for.  The song straightens out into a mid-tempo rocker by the middle, before reverting back to its punk origins.  It’s the one they shouldn’t have cut.

The final piece of exclusive music on the original album is “3.0.I.F.” which bridges “Bloody Kisses” with “Too Late: Frozen”.  It’s a bizarre sonic collage of chanting, engine noises, whispering, and the word “negative” repeated before the crash of a highway accident.  While it does serve as an interesting intro to “Too Late”, you don’t miss much by not having it in there.  The original running order goes out on the ballad “Can’t Lose You” which is cool.  And just to avoid any sort of flow or outro, it ends abruptly as the sitar peaks.  When the same thing happens on the reissued version, it sounds more like a setup into “Summer Breeze” than a sudden end.

Get both, or get the deluxe with the bonus CD, or don’t get it at all.  It’s almost like they never wanted you to buy it in the first place.  On the back of the original CD, instead of a tracklist, is just a warning:  “DON’T MISTAKE LACK OF TALENT FOR GENIUS”.

Original:  3.5/5 stars
Reissue:  3.75/5 stars

1. “Machine Screw” 0:39
2. “Christian Woman” 8:57
3. “Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)” 11:14
4. “Fay Wray Come Out and Play” 1:02
5. “Kill All the White People” 3:23
6. “Summer Breeze” 4:49
7. “Set Me on Fire” 3:29
8. “Dark Side of the Womb” 0:27
9. “We Hate Everyone” 6:50
10. “Bloody Kisses (A Death in the Family)” 10:55
11. “3.0.I.F.” 2:05
12. “Too Late: Frozen” 7:50
13. “Blood & Fire” 5:32
14. “Can’t Lose You” 6:05

#875: Love Will Find A Way

GETTING MORE TALE #875: Love Will Find A Way

First breakups are so confusing.  You’ve heard all the songs, seen all the movies.  All that remained was to experience it yourself.  Of course it’s nothing like a song!  It can hurt though, lord don’t I know it?

I treated my first breakup like I was a DJ at an event.  I planned songs.  How did that work out?  Terrible, but I did it.

When I got home and listened to some tunes, I put on “Love Song” by Tesla.  I thought, “This will be the thing to listen to.  That chorus will make me feel better.”

If only!  “Love will find a way!  Love is gonna find a way!”  Encouraging, yes…but not what I needed to make myself feel better.  Although I had not given up, I knew it was over.  I knew that love wasn’t going to find a way.  I had to think outside the box.

As it turns out, the ballads didn’t impact me as much as the heavy stuff.  Angry stuff.

“Christian Woman” by Type O Negative.  Metallica’s version of “Blitzkrieg”.  Soundgarden’s “Jesus Christ Pose”.  “Cyclops” by Bruce Dickinson.  Queensryche’s “I Am I”.  This was really hitting me!  Some of the ballads did too, such as “Someone Else?” by Queensryche, or Bruce Dickinson’s “Change of Heart”.  But those were not typical, traditional ballads like Tesla were putting out.  Each was powerful in a unique way.

That’s it:  power.  I was looking for songs with power in them.  Real power.  The breakup had sucked dry all my energy, and I needed power.  Those bands recharged me up like a battery.  Thrashing around my bedroom, I worked out all that anger.  I felt stronger after rocking out to a song like “I Am I”.  And rock out I did, in my “air band” best!  I gave myself a serious sweat when I rocked out to those songs.

Breakups might suck but they are a fertile ground for discovering (and rediscovering) music.  What we were you listening to after your first breakup?

 

REVIEW: Ozzy Osbourne – The Ozzman Cometh (1997 Japanese import)

OZZY OSBOURNE – The Ozzman Cometh (1997 Sony Japan 2 CD set)

By 1997, Ozzy had reclaimed his crown as the prince of darkness.  The successful Ozzfest, including a partial Black Sabbath reunion (Mike Bordin instead of Bill Ward) had introduced Ozzy to a wave of nu-metal youngesters.  Why not cap the year off with a greatest hits album?  It wasn’t Ozzy’s first (1989’s Best of Ozz preceding it) but it was his first for most of the world.  Incredibly, given the Ozzy camp’s ability to muck up important releases from time to time, it was a particularly good package.

The Ozzman Cometh has had a number of issues over the years, but we won’t get into the ones that came after Sharon meddled around with re-recorded tracks.  Initially there was a limited edition 2 CD set and a standard single disc.  The lucky fans in Japan got an expanded 2 CD set with two bonus tracks.  That’s the one you see pictured here.  It comes in a non-standard extra thick jewel case due to the extra Japanese booklet inside.

The big deal of this new compilation was the inclusion of recently discovered early Black Sabbath tapes — “Ozzy’s 1970 basement tapes”.  Wikipedia tells us that these are actually BBC recordings:  “The John Peel Sessions” of 26 April 1970.  These have yet to be included on any Sabbath deluxe, so you have to be sure to get The Ozzman Cometh to complete your Sabbath collections.  “Black Sabbath” and “War Pigs” commence the set right out of the gate.  These tapes are raw but clean, and Geezer Butler has remarkable presence.  It’s a very sharp picture of what young Black Sabbath sounded like.  The lyrics are still a work in progress for those who love such differences, but Ozzy sounds even more like a man possessed.  “War Pigs” is still in its “Walpurgis” form, the “Satanic” version, and this is the clearest you will likely hear it.

Onto the hits:  Ozzy’s grudge against The Ultimate Sin was apparently already in play.  On the US CD, only one track from the Jake E. Lee era was included and it’s “Bark at the Moon”.  In Japan, “Shot in the Dark” is substituted in replacing Zakk Wylde’s “Miracle Man”, bringing the Lee content to two.  However the Randy Rhoads era is the star of the disc, with his version of “Paranoid” lifted from the Tribute album.  Included are, for the most part, the expected usual Rhoads songs:  “Crazy Train”, “Goodbye to Romance”, and “Mr. Crowley”, but no “I Don’t Know”.  Instead it’s the more interesting “Over the Mountain”.

As for Zakk Wylde’s legacy, it’s hobbled by the missing “Miracle Man”, since “Crazy Babies” doesn’t adequately capture his madness.  “No More Tears” is present as a single edit, and “Mama, I’m Coming Home” is necessary for any hits CD catering to people who just want some Ozzy songs they like.  It’s unfortunate that “I Don’t Want to Change the World” from Live & Loud takes up space.  The Zakk era ends with two good songs:  “I Just Want You”, the excellent dark ballad from Ozzmosis, and “new” song “Back on Earth”.  You had to have a new song, and according to the liner notes this was an unreleased one from the Ozzmosis era featuring Geezer Butler on bass.  Fortunately it doesn’t sound like an inferior song, just one too many ballads for the album.  (It’s written by Taylor Rhodes and Richie Supa.)

The second CD contains more treasure.  “Fairies Wear Boots” and “Behind the Wall of Sleep” are bonus Sabbath songs from the same Peel session.  Like the first two, they are crisp and probably essential to any serious fan of the original lineup.

Japan got two extra songs from movie soundtracks, enabling you to get them on an Ozzy CD.  The first is the excellent “Walk on Water”, Ozzy’s only studio recording with Zakk Wylde’s replacement Joe Holmes.  If you wanted to know what an Ozzy album with Holmes would have sounded like, here’s a good indication.  It would have been not too dissimilar from Ozzmosis but with some really different guitar playing.  Sure sounds like Mike Bordin on drums!  The other soundtrack song is “Pictures of Matchstick Men” featuring Type O Negative as the backing band.  It’s pretty forgettable.

The Ozzy interview from 1988 is 17 minutes of nothing special.  Here’s an interesting fact for you.  When stores were solicited for this album in 1997, I can distinctly remember the papers saying the interview would be a new one conducted by Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I no longer have that piece of paper, and memory is what it is these days, but that’s what it said.  For whatever reason the 1988 one was used instead.  Go ahead and let me know how often you play it.  You can tell it was taped in the UK, at a rehearsal or soundcheck, because you can hear Zakk wailing away in the background.

The Japanese CD also comes with a neat sticker sheet with all of Ozzy’s album artwork on it.  I think the US CD has some screen savers.  I’d rather have the stickers.

Ozzy and company did the greatest hits thing right and have never actually done it this well since.  May as well track down a 2 CD Ozzman Cometh and get those Black Sabbath tracks you’re missing.

4.5/5 stars

WTF SEARCH TERMS: 2 Wild LeBrains edition

Happy hump day.  For this edition of WTF, I’ve collected 10 of the weirdest sexual phrases that, somehow, some way, Googled these people to me.  Missed the last edition?  Click here!

BLOODY KISSES

WTF Search Terms IV:  2 Wild LeBrains edition

  1. buttombass
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See ya next time for more WTFs!