"Life Is Killing Me" is the 5th full-length studio album by US, New York based doom/goth metal act Type O Negative. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in June 2003. It was their last album released through Roadrunner Records as their long running relationship came to an end. Their next album "Dead Again (2007)" was released through SPV/Steamhammer Records.
While the music on "Life Is Killing Me" is unmistakably the sound of Type O Negative it´s still quite a different sounding release to it´s predecessor "World Coming Down (1999)". "World Coming Down (1999)" is probably the most bleak and heavy album in Type O Negative´s discography, and while "Life Is Killing Me" certainly isn´t a happy album, the trademark sarcastic humour from the early releases is more present on "Life Is Killing Me" than it has been on the last couple of releases. I also sense a tiny light at the end of the tunnel on some tracks.
The most notable difference though is the return of more hardcore sounding tracks. "I Don't Wanna Be Me", "I Like Goils", and especially "Angry Inch" are all, at least to some degree, in hardcore territory. "I Like Goils" actually created quite a stir, with lead vocalist Peter Steele being accused of homophobia. While it´s easy to interpret the lyrics like that, and there certainly is a very strong homophobic element to be found there (I guess lyric lines like "To make it clear that you can't bone me, My tattooed ass reads exit only" and "Now I don't know whose ass you've licked, No shit-tongued boy will ever taste my dick" really can´t be misunderstood), the story behind the track is actually a bit entertaining. Apparently Peter Steele´s decision to pose nude for the August 1995 edition of Playgirl Magazine backfired, as he began to receive more and more sexual offers from men, and rumour has it that some of them were very persistent. So to set the record straight, Peter Steele came up with the lyrics for "I Like Goils".
The music on "Life Is Killing Me" is not only aggressive hardcore though, and we´re predominantly treated to the doomy/gothic Black Sabbath influenced metal with psychadelic Beatlesque leanings, that Type O Negative are mostly known and loved for. Very well constructed vocal melodies (sung with a burning passion by Peter Steele) and choirs, heavy distorted bass and guitars, and atmospheric keyboards. It´s not all material on the album that are equally interesting and "Life Is Killing Me" is to my ears the first Type O Negative to feature filler material. Nothing is of bad quality or anything like that, but there are a couple of unremarkable tracks on the album, that I still to this day, can´t remember how sound, when I pick up the album for a listening session. On any of their previous releases I know exactly how each track sound just by reading the songtitle. At 74:32 minutes the album is also a bit too long for it´s own good, when not all material are equally entertaining. On the other hand there are also very strong tracks on the album like the above mentioned hardcore tinged tracks, "Nettie" (beautiful track that one), "Life Is Killing Me", and the quite odd and different sounding "How Could She?".
Upon conclusion "Life Is Killing Me" isn´t an album that developed the band´s sound much. It´s as if at this point, their unique sound was fully established and they had little desire to explore new ground ("How Could She?" is probably the only track on the album that surprised me), and it more or less sounds like they just picked what they felt were the best elements from their previous releases and combined them here. When you´ve developed a sound as unique as the sound of Type O Negative, it´s not "do or die" though and "Life Is Killing Me" is still a high quality release deserving a 4 star (80%) rating.