The hurricane level of popularity found with Bloody Kisses had slowed down enough for Brooklyn's own Type O Negative to record its eagerly anticipated follow up October Rust. For those who had been following the band since the beginning, you could not argue that they had morphed into something a little more interesting after SD&H with Bloody Kisses and now they were going to set us on our ear again with October Rust. The album brought us a solid recording but it was to date the most musical and definitely the most "atmospheric" of their catalog. Before delving into the tunes that made up this masterpiece we have to address the funny introduction the listener gets. The album begins with "Bad Ground" which is not a song at all but instead a soundscape from Josh that sounds like a misconnected speaker wire. If you're not paying attention there is actually a chance that you will check your speakers to see what's the problem. It's followed by the band who introduce us to the upcoming music and then its onto the music. The themes of this recording were not as heavy and dismal as that which we found on "Bloody Kisses" but instead were more related to that of Dark Romance and mythological adventuring. It also brings new drummer Johnny Kelly to the fold replacing Sal Abruscato who joined Life Of Agony after the last TON record. Kelly's playing fits right in with the music Steele, Silver & Hickey are doing and none of the progression in music being offered up on the album is lost with his becoming a part of the roster. In fact I think he is a compliment to the band. "Love You To Death" will call to mind a mixture of Cocteau Twins meets The Beatles influences done up with some gloomy Gothic feel and yet it works very well despite all of the odd different mixes. Its as early as this tune that we find the band is going to give us a very different listening experience. This particular tune sounds great in the live sense and initially made me feel that "Black #1" had a sequel.
"Be My Druidess" shows Pete seeking the perfect mate for his Gothic desires while the "Green Man" celebrates rebirth and renaissance and speaks to us all about the spirits of the forest. "Red Water (Christmas Mourning)" is a very dark take on your holiday tune but it works and there is a sleek and dramatic segue way of "Carol Of The Bells" blended into it. Pete's dramatic register reaches some high points but there is also some heavy use of a serious bass tone in his vocal that chills the bones. By the time we get to the light hearted "My Girlfriends, Girlfriend" we are able to take a little bit of a breather as its quirky keyboard and Peter's musings offer up the complications of having a girlfriend that has a girlfriend of her own. "Die With Me" is a powerful number that speaks of long lost or distant romance in some sense and keeps with this albums theme of sexuality and forbidden desires. It's one of my favorites but in all honesty I had difficulty finding a bad number on the entire album. It was clearly different from the Doom-laden offerings on "Bloody Kisses" but no less a treat for the ear when it came down to it. "In Praise Of Bacchus" gives us a song for the God of Wine and having seen Type O in concert a number of times already can say how Peter generally empties a bottle of the red during a set before tossing the bottle into the eager hands of the audience. We get a very different version of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" which makes use of thundering drums and keys combined with a razor sharp guitar riff from Hickey. I liked it and felt it showcased the talents of the band at taking someone else's song and making it their own in some sense. It worked and was a favorite in concert. A strange soundscape comes with "The Glorious Liberation" but after these we wander with Peter Steele as our guide into the world of Dark Romance once again as "Wolf Moon" and "Haunted" close out our listening experience. The first tells of a girl who shape shifts into a more lupine form during her time of the month while "Haunted" sings of Peters love affair with an ethereal presence. Whew, these were interesting and just as well written as the rest of the album. The band ends the recording with another untitled track where they simply speak about being on tour soon and how they hoped you liked the album. It was different but it did add a sense of fan appreciation and personality to their body of work.
The booklet that comes with the release sports a cover with four thorn stalks while inside its sixteen pages are lyrics to the tunes and some wonderful photos of various changing nature scenes of forests and leaves. The back finds the sole band photo and the words of "functionless art is simply tolerated vandalism – we are the vandals". This falls into line with the bands level of dark sarcasm. This is a high recommendation for Metal fans but might startle those who are expecting the knock down heaviness that they found on the previous album or the "live" release. If you are willing to grow with the band as they continue to present us their tales and melodies then you are in for an interesting ride.
1. Bad Ground
3. Love You To Death
4. Be My Druidess
5. Green Man
6. Red Water (Christmas Mourning)
7. My Girlfriend's Girlfriend
8. Die With Me
9. Burnt Flowers Fallen
10. In Praise Of Bacchus
11. Cinnamon Girl
12. The Glorious Liberation Of The Peoples Technocratic Republic Of Vinland By The Combined Forces Of the United Territories Of Europa
13. Wolf Moon