Type O Negative Life is Killing Me

I've always suspected that buried not-too deep beneath TON's doomsday goth metal facade was a party hearty pop-metal band dying to get out. And this album, their sixth including the mock live record The Origin of the Feces, proves it. Sure the album's graphics, vocalist Pete Steele's menacing growl and distorted bass convey a scary metal band, but listen to the music, the melodies and arrangements. Half these tracks could be re-recorded by Weezer and you'd never know they were ever TON songs. And believe it or not, that's not a bad thing. After the angry, depressing and frankly, boring 1999 release World Coming Down, the Brooklyn quartet needed a disc like this to remind the world that what made Bloody Kisses so memorable was the band's sense of humour and its glaring new wave tendencies. Like that early release, Life is Killing Me pays tongue-in-cheek homage to the world and the women that have screwed Steele over so badly. But musically, the disc is pure pop-rock bliss. From the party-til-you-puke drive of "I Don't Wanna Be Me" and "Angry Inch" (a cover of a song from a Broadway musical and film of all things) to the Rush-like "Todd's Ship Gods" and the Eastern-influenced alterna-grunge chug of "Less Than Zero,” the band reveals itself to be much more interested in creating interesting songs than most of the nu-metal bands they've influenced in their 13-year history. And even all the eerie white noise wall of distortion on the more dark and brooding synth-soaked numbers like "...A Dish Best Served Coldly" and "(We Were) Electrocute" can't mask the inherent melodiousness of the songs. Sisters of Mercy would have killed for a couple of these. Life is Killing Me is a disc that is sure to divide fans. Some will be turned off thinking it's a complete sell-out, others will appreciate it for its creativity and undeniable infectiousness. I'm definitely in the latter category. (Roadrunner)