"Slow, Deep and Hard" is the debut full-length studio album by US doom/hardcore/goth metal act Type O Negative. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in June 1991. After crossover thrash metal act Carnivore disbanded in 1987, lead vocalist/bassist Peter Steele teamed up with keyboard player/producer Josh Silver, guitarist Kenny Hickey, and drummer Sal Abruscato to form Type O Negative. Type O Negative was formed in 1989 under the New Minority monicker, then changed their name to Repulsion, then to Sub Zero, and finally to Type O Negative.
Type O Negative is mostly known for their doomy, goth oriented, and melancholic sounding music, but the material on "Slow, Deep and Hard" is quite different from the material on their later releases. The black sarcasm which is also a trademark of the band´s sound was there from the get go though. "Slow, Deep and Hard" is in fact drenched in it.
Stylistically the music on "Slow, Deep and Hard" is a combination of crushingly heavy doom metal riffs, feedback noises, industrial effects and repetition, atmospheric keyboards, hardcore punk sections, and a slight nod towards goth rock. The vocals by Peter Steele are raw and delivered with fierce conviction and caustic aggression. It´s very seldom he sings using his low register clean voice, which is otherwise a trademark on later releases by the band. There are also loads of riot gang vocals and other types of backing/harmony vocals on the album.
The lyrics are also worth a mention as they are dealing with themes like cheating women, extreme hatred, retribution/revenge, suicide, depression, and immigrants, which are all serious topics, but put through the sarcastic (and often quite humourous) Type O Negative machine, the listener is left either laughing, repulsed, or something else entirely. It´s the kind of lyrics that´ll probably leave most listeners with a feeling of unease and insecurity on whether or not the band really means what they are saying. The diatribe against immigrants in "Der Untermensch", which earned Type O Negative a ban in Germany, is lyricwise probably the most controversial track on the album, but the violent description of putting a pickaxe through the faces of the protagonist´s cheating girlfriend and her lover in "Xero Tolerance", or the jackhammer rape in "Prelude to Agony", are probably also going to raise a few brows.
The 7 track, 58:38 minutes long album is thematically a concept release if you ignore/exclude "Der Untermensch", which has little to do with the other tracks when it comes to lyrical content. The overall story is that the protagonist (which is allegedly build on Peter Steele and his experiences and emotions) suspects that his girlfriend is cheating on him and the subsequent depression and agony he is going through as a consequence of that as described in the opening track "Unsuccessfully Coping With the Natural Beauty of Infidelity". He then finds out for sure in "Xero Tolerance", where he follows his girlfriend and experiences her having sex with another man. Hence his fantasies of killing her begins, and they are continued in "Prelude to Agony", which is a track that combines despair over love and extreme torture scenes. The industrial noises of "Glass Walls of Limbo (dance mix)" probably symbolises a full scale breakdown of the protagonist and then there´s one minute of silence in "The Misinterpretation of Silence and Its Disastrous Consequences" before the protagonist contemplates suicide in the closing track "Gravitational Constant: G = 6.67 x 10?8 cm?³ gm?¹ sec?²".
The tracks are generally very long (two of them exceeding 10 minutes in length) and they are not vers/chorus build. At least not in a traditional sense although there are clear memorable chorus parts. The almost blatant disregard for conventional song structures works really well for the band though, and I dare say that most tracks feature semi-progressive structures with many surprising twists and turns.
The sound production is also rather unconventional with the distorted bass being pretty dominant, while the guitar often functions more as backing to the bass than the other way round. Both feature a rather distinct buzzing sound. The sound is quite cold and fits well with the atmosphere of the music and the lyrical themes. So all in all "Slow, Deep and Hard" is a very interesting debut release by Type O Negative. It´s unique sounding both in terms of the metal scene in general and in terms of the band´s own discography. Although it´s obviously a very immature release in some ways (as an example some of the transitions between sections aren´t exactly composed in the most sophisticated way), it´s still a high quality release and with the added original sound and style a 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.