Type O Negative – Dead Again Review

Type O Negative’s 7th original studio album, Dead Again, is exactly what one would expect from the masters of wryly goth-flavored metal. Present and accounted for are the trademark dirges punctuated with passages of thrash that border on straight punk. Keyboards so varied as to call to mind someone messing around in Guitar Center, experimenting with simulated sounds ranging from grand piano to pan flute, are far from being in short supply. The almost-too-simple guitar lines that take a backseat to the overall sound are still embraced. Stock drumming that demonstrates a disinterest in experimenting or branching out is just as strong as ever. And most importantly, that dry as a desert-bleached bone humor and wit upon which Type O Negative made their name can be found in spades.

The Drab Four’s influences have always been worn on their sleeves, and this album is no exception. On the intro to “These Three Things,” they pay homage to Sabbath with a takeoff of War Pigs’ downtrodden opening that diverges from its source material just enough to avoid lawsuits; the same song also incorporates a requisite tip of the hat to The Beatles via use of the familiar outro from “Hey Jude.” “Tripping a Blind Man” is reminiscent of Rush’s “Anthem” in spots, making use of expansive and complementarily contrasting melodic themes that span octaves rather that sticking with the more comfortable, tried-and-true 4th or 5th intervals.

Dead Again is not as accessible as prior efforts due to length of song and all but the complete elimination of any pop elements (the first single, “These Three Things, is an attention-challenging, mainstream-shunning 14:21). That’s not to say the album is shoddily constructed, but it’s not going to win any new fans- this is for the die-hard Type O fans who can appreciate their morbid sensibilities whether or not they’re couched in a traditionally structured, easily palatable song. There are no surprises, though ethereal guest vocals by Tara VanFlower on “Halloween in Heaven” allow for a heretofore unexamined contrast with the band’s typically hyper-masculine sound.

Type O Negative have not challenged themselves musically here, but neither have they moved backwards. With the exception of the newly sober Steele declining to stretch his voice too much, resulting in precious few moments of lyrical glory and too many passages wrought with easy, mid-range tones, they’re maintaining the status quo. Dead Again feels more like an offering to quell the fans’ collective thirst for new material than a legitimate attempt to build on previous material and grow as artists. What it lacks in spirit, it makes up for in familiarity- though for fans expecting to be moved and inspired, that’s cold comfort.

Website: Type O Negative