Review Summary: Unquestionably TON's best album.
Ahh, Type O Negative. Certainly one of the premier goth metal bands of our time. Lead Singer Peter Steele’s death, however sad it is, does bring sort of an appropriate end to the notoriously depressed and at times troubled singer, and as such, listening to certain songs (or the entire World Coming Down album) from the band’s discography adds an ever deeper and morbid meaning to them. One thing I’m sure most fans can agree on, is that Peter Steele has certainly left his mark in metal history. His death prompted me to dig back to my old Type O cds, and have another listen to the band famously known as "The Drab Four", a nickname they certainly earned through this album, "Bloody Kisses".
When you look at the band’s discography, there’s obviously no stronger album that they’ve created than 1993’s Bloody Kisses, a near masterpiece for the band. This I’m sure is debatable between metal fans, but for this listener, having listened to each Type O album meticulously over time, Bloody Kisses stands tall as the band's best album by far. It also proved to be a real success at the time it was released, as the album went gold on the strength of singles and videos like “Christian Woman” and “Black No. 1”.
Type O Negative has always been known to write depressing, droning heavy metal songs, with a lot of them sprinkled with extremely dry and self-deprecating humor. The band’s debut album, “Slow, Deep, and Hard” from way back in 1991 featured a lot of thrash and punk influences, along with more obvious lyrics designed to offend (Peter sure was an angry guy).
The reason why Bloody Kisses works so well is because the band decided to incorporate pop melodies into their droning, gothic sound, without sacrificing everything that makes Type O Negative what they are. Despite the fact that some of the songs are over 7 minutes long, just about ever track (songs, not the sound bites between songs- more on this later) on this album is instantly and compulsively listenable, and this is all without sacrificing the integrity of the band.
Bloody Kisses is primarily a heavy metal album with gothic overtones, and with a very strong sense of melody spread throughout the album. The songs are very slow-tempoed and the guitars fuzzed out, and they feature deep and scary vocals. The lyrics primarily center around love, sex, death, religion, and setting Peter Steele on fire.
Just about everything about this album is top notch, from a technical standpoint right down to the little touches to the songs (like the rain at the beginning of “Black No. 1”). Peter Steele’s extremely deep, vampire like vocals are perfect and quite brr-inducing. I’m sure certain types of females just swoon at the sound of his voice, and to mainstream listeners it sounds absolutely terrifying. A devilish mix indeed- think Barry White, but if he loved to drink blood, longed for his loved one, and listened to a lot of Black Sabbath. Oh, and did I mention the songs are ridiculously catchy?
The band’s sense of humor is also thankfully intact from Slow, Deep, and Hard, but doesn’t completely overwhelm the record like that album did. The majority of these songs are meant to be tongue in cheek, yet stay simultaneously dark and brooding. “Black No. 1”, which was a hit for the band, features absolutely hilarious lyrics about goth girls (“You can’t go out because your roots are showing/Dye em’ black!/Black No. 1/Loving you was like loving the dead!”).
The album also has a hilariously depressing cover of “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Croft. It’s a legitimately strong effort from the band, and shows their ability to take a soft pop/rock tune and make it sound like a funeral, or the background music of a murder scene.
That’s what’s great about the album- you can laugh both at and with it, take solace in it, swoon with it, appreciate the effort that went into it, and bang your head to it.
The reason why I won’t give this album a perfect score is simple- the interludes. Peppered throughout the album is sound clips/interludes that distract and cheapen the album’s overall power. For example, track 1, “Machine Screw”, is 30 seconds of what sounds like a woman having sex with a machine (I know). “Fay Wray Come Out And Play” has tribal chanting and a screaming woman, an obvious reference to King Kong. I never saw the point to these interludes, and it proves more distracting than anything.
Aside from that misstep, it’s hard for me to have anything bad to say about this album. I’m sure most fans of gothic metal already own or have at least listened to this CD. But if you’re interested in this genre or this particular band, I can’t recommend Bloody Kisses enough.