TYPE O NEGATIVE — Life Is Killing Me

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TYPE O NEGATIVE - Life Is Killing Me cover
4.08 | 31 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2003


1. Thir13teen (1:07)
2. I Don't Wanna Be Me (5:08)
3. Less Than Zero (<0) (5:25)
4. Todd's Ship Gods (Above All Things) (4:10)
5. I Like Goils (2:35)
6. ...a Dish Best Served Coldly (7:13)
7. How Could She? (7:35)
8. Life Is Killing Me (6:35)
9. Nettie (4:46)
10. (We Were) Electrocute (6:38)
11. IYDKMIGTHTKY (Gimme That) (6:20)
12. Angry Inch (3:39)
13. Anesthesia (6:41)
14. Drunk in Paris (1:27)
15. The Dream Is Dead (5:07)

Total Time: 74:32

Bonus disc
1. Out of the Fire (Kane's Theme) (3:24)
2. Christian Woman (Butt-Kissing, Sell-Out version) (4:27)
3. Suspended in Dusk (8:39)
4. Blood & Fire (Out of the Ashes mix) (4:36)
5. Black Sabbath (7:47)
6. Cinnamon Girl (Extended Depression mix) (3:53)
7. Haunted (Per version) (11:47)

Total Time: 44:34


- Peter Steele / lead vocals, bass guitar; additional guitar and keyboards
- Josh Silver / keyboards and backing vocals
- Kenny Hickey / guitars and backing vocals
- Johnny Kelly / drums

About this release

Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: June 17, 2003

Was originally to be titled "The Dream Is Dead", but changed the title due to rumors of a possible breakup.

Produced by Peter Steele and Josh Silver.
Recorded at Systems Two, Brooklyn, New York.

Released with a bonus CD in Europe.

"IYDKMIGTHTKY" stands for "If
You Don't Kill Me I'm Going To Have To Kill You".

Thanks to Stooge for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"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.
Despite the often depressive vocals and style brought to bear by the goth metal masters on this album, Life Is Killing Me actually finds Type O Negative in a rather playful mood - evidenced by Thir13teen, a doom metal cover of some music from The Munsters TV show, and the cover of a song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The wild mood swings between Sisters of Mercy-influenced goth metal, Sabbath-inspired doom metal, and unrestrained anger make the album a disorienting and wild ride, and to the band's credit they manage to make more or less all the different styles they turn their hands to here work.
At the end of 2003 this album topped my Album of the Year lists, which was really hard to believe given that when my friend borrowed me this album the first time, I had serious difficulties making it through it all. 75 minutes and 15 songs of heavy, cold music. That's quite a task for a newcomer of this kind of sound. Despite the difficult beginnings, at the end of the year and still today this album stands as one of the very few albums of this length that don't have a single filler moment. But brilliant highlights a plenty.

While Type O Negative is usually seen as a band practicing very dark and dry humour and caricaturally depressing themes, this album offers some very sincerely emotional songs, with a song each dedicated to Peter Steele's father and mother. Todd's Ship Gods reveals something about his upbringing with lines such as "I won't cry / Above all things boy, be a man" and "if you're gonna weep, keep it from sunshine, so no one sees" while Nettie should be quoted here in its entirety, such a beautiful homage it is to his mother. There is of course plenty of humour thrown in as well, such as in the slightly homophobic celebration of women I Like Goils, the story of a botched sex-change operation Angry Inch and How Could She? which depicts a sad one sided love affair with all the iconic women on TV of yesteryears.

Lyrics aside, music and production is where this album really shines. Lavished in great riffing throughout, the thing I particularly want to bring out is the use of Josh Silver's keyboards. Usually if I needed to assign a rating to keyboards in metal, I'd give it three as in good, but not essential. But here a vital part of the album's atmosphere is achieved with creative use of keyboards, sometimes blending with treated guitars so that one can't really tell where one ends and the other starts. Be it the pizzicato strings of the may I say stunning chorus of Less Than Zero, the echoing piano melodies of Anesthesia, the voices in the title track or, well, anything in Nettie, there's always the best possible choice of tone and feel for each part. One other particularly delighting thing in the production of the album is the panning of drums so that when listened to with headphones, one feels like sitting on the drum stool himself. As a drummer of sorts I really enjoy this type of mixing.

If I had my way I'd declare this one of the undisputed classics of any rock music, but it's quite seldom I hear anyone mention the album. Extremely recommended for anyone interested in atmospheric and dark metal music with a bit of tongue in cheek.

(Author's notes, April 15th 2010: I've been listening to this album for seven years and then a day after I review it I learn that all TON albums between Bloody Kisses and Dead Again (not including them) feature a drum machine. Caught me by surprise to say the least, but didn't make me appreciate this album any less. More if anything.

Then three days later Peter Steele passed away... May the big man rest in peace. Do they make caskets that size?)

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