Album Review – Type O Negative – Life Is Killing Me

October 30, 2017 — Leave a comment

Type O Negative – Life Is Killing Me (2003)

As I continued to explore the Type O Negative discography and deepen my fandom and appreciation for this band, I had a number of moments that filled my listening heart with joy and recognition, even if I was hearing the song for the first time. A moment that said “ah, now this is something only Type O Negative could do!”

One of those moments came early on in this superb album, during “Less Than Zero” right as the sitar kicked in. The song encapsulates everything I love about this band’s sound: beautifully integrated instrumentation, solitary riff breaks, and eye-closing, reflective melodies.

Largely composed during the first of many rehab stints for Peter Steele, Life Is Killing Me is most similar in overall tone to the psychedelic pop, group-vocal driven music from Steele’s childhood–most obviously on “(We Were) Electrocute.” Even the slower, more traditional doom tracks like “…A Dish Best Served Coldly” and “Anesthesia” have clean, somber vocal melodies. The bass guitar is mixed a bit more prominently too.

1. Thir13teen
2. I Don’t Wanna Be Me
3. Less Than Zero (<0)
4. Todd’s Ship Gods (Above All Things)
5. I Like Goils
6. …A Dish Best Served Coldly
7. How Could She?
8. Life Is Killing Me
9. Nettie
10. (We Were) Electrocute
11. IYDKMIGTHTKY (Gimme That)
12. Angry Inch
13. Anesthesia
14. Drunk In Paris
15. The Dream Is Dead

In my view, this album’s production has the most seamless flow-through of all the songs from beginning to end out of all the Type O Negative records. Rarely has 75 minutes flown by with such a wide variety of engaging sounds. The pacing is practically breezy for large chunks of the album, with the first four proper songs on the quick side. The title track’s rhythm-shifting, swinging riff also is as fine a headbanging moment as you’ll find in all of metal.

You get the industrial-dance flavor from “Todd’s Ship Gods,” about Peter Steele’s late father. Its companion piece about his mother is “Nettie,” which has a truly inhuman bass voice. No studio magic required. I also love the uplifting, 80s-style new wave synth instrumentation on “The Dream Is Dead” (well, it wasn’t yet, anyway). It isn’t the only one of its type either: Josh Silver goes full-prog with his keyboard on “How Could She?”

You get the hardcore-inspired stylings from “I Like Goils” and “Angry Inch.” The former is a tongue-in-cheek (“but I won’t say which cheeks,” Steele quipped) rebuttal of certain aggressive gay men who came onto Peter after his expose in Playgirl magazine.

“They would ask me to autograph copies of my centerfold, which I’m happy to do, but I mean, come on…some of those pages were stuck together!” he told an interviewer.

I find the song especially hilarious because, attending an all-boys high school, I never heard the end of “Don’t drop the soap!” from my enlightened co-ed brethren. Had I known about this album, and this song, during that time, I think we all would have had some laughs over it. Being politically correct was never Peter’s strong point…or mine, for that matter!

Type O hit the road that summer, 2003, for 75 tour dates, as I was preparing to enter high school. Had I known about Life Is Killing Me back then, it could have been one of the great personal soundtracks of those years…that’s how much of a sweet spot it hit.

Most of the songs here are engaging and comfortable, in a very good way. Great for both the songwriter and the “regular,” non-metal musician in your life, for fans of heavy metal, gothic metal and mainstream rock alike. Life Is Killing Me is chock full of ear candy and is the most pleasant, fun surprise of the Type O Negative catalog.

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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