Album Review – Type O Negative – World Coming Down

October 16, 2017 — Leave a comment

Type O Negative – World Coming Down (1999)

“A brilliant piece of work. I love it…I think it’s the darkest thing Type O has ever done…it’s blacker than black. None bleaker. The songs were really from the heart…I’m very proud of that volume of work.” – Josh Silver, discussing this album

The Type O Negative keyboardist is right of course, from a lyrical perspective. Yet World Coming Down’s reputation as a nonstop dirge of doom and gloom is a bit overstated.

For sure, it contains a greater share of slow, painful anthems than the band’s other work. But the album’s finest moments are still on the defiantly shiny, melodic side of the spectrum. Most of those songs begging for airplay back at the turn of the millennium simply didn’t get that promotion. And that is a mystery of the universe.

1. Skip It
2. White Slavery
3. Sinus
4. Everyone I Love Is Dead
5. Who Will Save the Sane?
6. Liver
7. World Coming Down
8. Creepy Green Light
9. Everything Dies
10. Lung
11. Pyretta Blaze
12. All Hallows Eve
13. Day Tripper/If I Needed Someone/She’s So Heavy

Take the best-known pair of tracks here: “Everyone I Love Is Dead” and “Everything Dies.” From the titles alone, these are obviously not happy songs. But the music makes the subject matter bearable, as it did for Peter Steele outside the studio. The open-chord groove and the bang-your-fist-on-the-table ad lib (“God DAMMIT!”) are his attempts at coping, at catharsis. His father had just recently died, and a number of other family members and friends followed, a turn of events that characterizes many people’s 30s.

“I’m not going to say that I am obsessed with his death, but I still live in the same house that we all lived in,” Steele reminisced about “Everything Dies” in the book Soul on Fire. “So there’re a lot of ghosts in the house. I lost interest in everything–sex, working out, food. I could not stop seeing his face everywhere.” Apparently Steele was outvoted in putting the song on the finished album–democracy doing it right, as “Everything Dies” is one of my favorite Type O choruses. Steele’s vampiric vocals are distinctive and just a bit vulnerable.

And that is true for many of these songs. The guitar solos generally keep it simple, with high, melodic string bends lending an anthemic quality to the dark heaviness of the riffs. Johnny Kelly’s drumming is also a key piece of this black puzzle–example one being the light-jazz inspired patterns in the quirky “Who Will Save the Sane?”

For those fans who love and demand extended suites of total bleakness, it won’t get any better than the soft-to-loud dynamics of the title track and the soul-baring cocaine confession of “White Slavery.”

As hinted at already, I believe World Coming Down would be even more highly regarded both past and present had different songs been chosen as leadoff singles, plenty of which were available for the taking. It’s inconceivable to me that a song as catchy as “Pyretta Blaze” didn’t at least make the album match previous sales. Not to mention the perfect bass intro and symphonic organ of “Creepy Green Light” and the epic “All Hallows Eve” with its classic-rock style outro, both of which must have been perfect for Type O’s Halloween tour dates at L’Amour’s in Brooklyn and elsewhere.

And finally, my favorite moment on this Type O Negative once again goes to a cover–a medley of covers, rather. It was a brave choice indeed by both the band and the management to cover the Beatles, and even more impressive and heartwarming to hear those old standards done in a new way. One of my favorite Beatles songs, “If I Needed Someone,” gets a both a musical and visual update. The universe of the song is expanded. Two types of women on the singer’s mind, over 30 years apart: from hippie girls with their peace-sign jewelry, crowns of flowers, and dresses…to the gothic metal chicks with their black leather jackets, black boots and chokers.

Don’t be afraid to dive headfirst into World Coming Down. There is so much more here than its reputation would suggest…namely, several of Type O Negative’s greatest works.

Peter Steele (RIP)
Josh Silver
Kenny Hickey
Johnny Kelly

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Read the rest of the series:

Soul On Fire Book Review:
Bloody Kisses:
October Rust:
World Coming Down:
Life Is Killing Me:
Dead Again:
Peter Steele Obituary:

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