Was Type O Negative the band that could do no wrong? Most cult acts hit (at least) one parapet, a roadblock that depleted their street credibility. It usually arose in the form of an album. Metallica had a few. Celtic Frost had 1988's Cold Lake. Opeth had 2011's Heritage. Judas Priest had 1986's Turbo. Fans may elect favorites, but taken as a whole, the TON discography is relatively stainless. It's hard to point to any juncture in the disharmonic philharmonic's venerated career as a moment of troubling compromise. That's amazing, considering that 1996's October Rust is a pop gamble. Why wasn't the brackish Brooklyn collective flayed for ditching stout doom riffs and slut-strangling anger? For Pete's sake, where did the raaaaaage go?
For all intents and purposes, it evaporated. This record is dotted with love songs and deliberations on cyclical transition. Transition...that's a major theme. Skinsman Sal Abruscato departed, and in his place, percussion was tracked by The Mecha-Droid Drummer Boy 8000. In other words, they used a drum machine, which wasn't revealed until over a decade later. Of course, Johnny Kelly was the man in front of the scenes, but he wouldn't get a chance to matriculate his talents in a studio until, again, over a decade later. The reason? Don't fucking know. As it happens, October Rust is the only TON emolument where a programmed kit works in the music's favor.
Everything sounds artificial in an 80's way. That's not a knock. It's creamed candy corn, baby. If World Coming Down is bathed in a creepy green light, this merchandise is bathed in a creepy orange light. It's Halloween schmaltz. As a lamb, I didn't have much use for October Rust, nor did I have a taste for its cultivated elegance. I realize today that it's quality stuff, but as with Bloody Kisses, there are a couple of tracks that bore me into oblivion. "Green Man" falls flat, vivid lyrics notwithstanding. The requisite cover tune - Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" - sticks out like an abscessed thumb, whereas "Summer Breeze" meshed with its environment.
The rest of October Rust is savory. "Love You to Death" ranks high as a TON exemplar. Josh Silver may be the most valuable player on this field, and he's used with the jolt of a secret weapon (Godzilla's nuclear breath springs to mind). The chilly keys on "Haunted" ablate the nerve endings on the roof of my pussy. "Wolf Moon" should accompany the credits of every werewolf flick. And "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend." Goddamn, how catchy is that shit? The answer is "extremely," although I would also accept "uncommonly." Hey, if you were a covey of quotation marks, where would you hide? In this paragraph, that's where! Ha! Ugh. "Anything else to add, Dom?"
No. Wait, I totally dig October Rust. Okay, that's it.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:15 PM