Genre: Metal, Goth, Alternative
Record Label: Roadrunner Records/Run Out Groove
After years of unavailability, a newly remastered vinyl version of Type O Negative’s full Roadrunner Record’s discography is finally available once again.
Previously released in 2011 as a record store day release, it kind of swept under fans radar with a limited release of only 1000 box sets. Aside from that, a few seven inch releases for record store day and 2014 record store day and regular releases for Slow Deep and Hard and the band’s jokingly titled greatest hits album The Least Worst Of, Type O Negative’s new release legacy seemed to have disappeared following the passing of front man and mastermind in 2010. Johnny Kelly kept busy with Danzig and multiple handfuls of other bands, and aside from Kenny Hickey filling in for Kirk Windstein in Kingdom Sorrow tour, the members really hadn’t kept that active after the disbandment, let alone did much of anything to carry on the legacy.
Enter Run Out Groove, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers where fans get to vote on future vinyl releases. In 2018 it was announced they were re-releasing their highest selling album Bloody Kisses on Record Store day as a limited 3 LP vinyl set complete with B-sides. The 5000 copies flew off shelves that day as demand was thru the roof, even commanding as much as $160 on eBay for what retailed at $40. It was clear fans were interested and Type O’s legacy was still strong. Lots clamored for other album re-releases such as their magnum opus October Rust but Run Out Grooves didn’t see to indicate they were moving forward with any new re-presses aside from additional Bloody Kisses re-presses. In June of 2019, all of that changed as they surprisingly announced the re-release of this long out of print box set.
Originally limited to 5000 copies, it was quickly increased 7500 copies, the set features newly remastered 2LP versions of each albums pressed on 140 gram green and black colored vinyl. In this collection you get all 6 of the Roadrunner releases: Slow, Deep, and Hard, Origin Of The Feces, Bloody Kisses, October Rust, and 2 albums that have never been released on vinyl aside from the original pressing of the box set World Coming Down and Life Is Killing Me. Although conspicuous by its absence, the band’s final album Dead Again was released on a different label hence why it wasn’t included on this release. I know that upsets people to an extent as they wanted to view this as a “complete” discography, but different labels and legalities would’ve made that near impossible to pull off; one can only hope down the line Dead Again sees a re-release, but that’s completely up to Steamhammer/SPV. Anyways, the rest of the box set includes gatefold album covers with no titling, but in each album There’s a few paragraphs featuring the story of each album with excerpts from Josh; who’s since retired from music.
Let’s get into the pressing and remastering if you will, like any album being pressed to vinyl after the fact, the albums were specifically remastered for vinyl. From my listens, the Slow, Deep, and Hard and Bloody Kisses pressings don’t sound different at all from the 2014 and 2018 vinyl releases, although I will note the 2018 remaster of Bloody Kisses does seem to uncover quite a different spectrum of sounds not noticeable on my years of listening to it on cassette, CD and MP3. October Rust didn’t deliver anything different that jumped out from the original master, but listening to World Coming Down is very heavy on low end in the master and Life Is Killing Me is noticeably brighter; it’s clear the records weren’t mastered to balance out each album in the discography collectively. Although that disparity could possibly be chalked up to a change in studio equipment at their long studio home of Systems Two Studios in Brooklyn NY from that 4-5 year gap those albums were recorded in.
While I have a chance, since this is an almost full discography of the band, let’s briefly walk through the albums. The cool thing about the box set, with the lack of Dead Again; is you basically can follow the band’s evolution record by record. SDH picks up where Peter’s former band Carnivore leaves off, but incorporating my keyboards than before, with much more fleshed out longer songs. Seeing that SDH was the re-branded demo, the band reinterpreted the songs on their second album OOTF, which displayed re-imagined versions in a jokingly simulated live setting, including the bonus track that accompanied the second version; a colder take of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.”
BK was truly the band coming into form with very little of the Carnivore sound on this one, featuring the hits “Black No. 1” and “Christian Woman;” this album went on to sell 1 million copies garnering the band AND label their first Platinum album. Falling into a more artsy direction, October Rust went full steam ahead, capitalizing off the success of BK with such hits as “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend,” “Love You To Death,” and their cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl;” this eventually sold 500,000 copies and earned the band a second gold plaque. The thematically dark album WCD came in at an odd time in metal, although it’s more airy moments include songs like “Pyretta Blaze” and a Beatles medley, other songs on the album were almost a coping mechanism for things happening in their personal lives with songs like “Everyone I Love is Dead” and “Everything Dies.” Finally we reach the end with LIKM, a record that seemingly blends all of their previous efforts into one, displaying a much more masterful showcase of song writing with songs like “Anesthesia,” “How Could She?” and “The Dream is Dead.”
As far as criticisms, I have heard some box set recipients had issues with their pressings. I can’t say I had these issues, but there are a few saying that, mine however was perfect. This being a box set containing the full RR discography I was a little bummed to see limited album artwork and lack of lyric sheets. While poster, track listing insert and laminate were nice touches, they felt a little thrown in, especially when you consider the deluxe edition of “Dead Again” that came out years ago that had a DVD, T shirt, bonus tracks, etc. While we’re at it, the lack of b-sides, lack of including ‘Dead Again’ are bummers, but to some a retail priced $200 12 LP set is pretty expensive as is, but obviously not too ridiculous considering what collectors have paid throughout the years in between the release of original version of this box set to this current re-release. But again, considering we never thought we’d see this, maybe we shouldn’t push our luck?
Overall this is a really good bargain, if you break it down at retail price it’s about $34 per album. You get every album in one shot, which is a bargain (that is if you pay retail). While is does have some short comings, getting to celebrate the band’s Roadrunner Records discography is awesome.