Record Review - 3 November 04 2004

New York quartet Type O Negative — featuring hulking, infamously well- hung Playgirl model/vocalist/bassist Peter Steele — has been skulking and sulking about the goth-metal scene since the early ’90s. Using ghoulish humor and grinding, sub-thrash guitar tempos to evoke images of creatures of the night — both emotional and physical vampires — Type O has grown in melody as well as melancholy with each album. Life Is Killing Me, Type O’s sixth full-length, is no different; the only caveat being Type O’s growth of tonal range is not equaled by tonal rage.

Type O Negative’s first album in four years features all the group’s hallmarks: lyrics both mournful and puerile, delivered in Steele’s grave, guttural voice. His vocals lay atop sluggish, melodramatic dirges, often surprisingly peppered with Beatlesque influence (especially on “Less Than Zero”). There’s the usual subtle misogyny, coupled with some rather overt tongue-in-bloody-cheek homophobia in “I Like Goils” — humorous considering that the album’s cover song (a Type O prerequisite) is a speed metal “Angry Inch” from the transgender musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The band opens up full throttle on “I Don’t Wanna Be Me,” “Nettie” and the title track. Negative offers some uncommonly subtle New Romantic references on “(We Were) Electrocute.” Strangely, Life seems to falter because it seems neither morose or obtuse enough. It is a satisfying if middle-of-the-road regrouping of Type O’s strengths.-- Tony Ware