Flippin' 'eck! It's October already? That can only mean one thing... 'October Rust' by Type O Negative. Yep, my all-time favourite album ever. I'm going to play it to death like I do every year. And why not?
As a journalist you're constantly exposed to new albums by new bands, and sometimes its hard to find time to go back and listen to old favourites (let alone be able to say you have a definitive favourite album that forsakes all others), but for me 'October Rust' is one album I can always make time for.
I bought the album back in the autumn of 2000 from Record Village in Scunthorpe. I was about fourteen I think, and I'd not long heard the song 'My Girlfriend's Girlfriend' on a compilation album. It's cheesy 60s pop vibe and heavy guitars were definitely up my street, and with it being the pre-broadband days of the internet streaming it or watching the videos wasn't an option. I had to have it. But when I got home I was unprepared for what I heard. As I hit play I heard a noise that caused me to pause it immediately and check the speakers on my hi-fi... they were fine. So I hit play again and the noise continued. My heart dropped as I thought to myself that the disc was somehow corrupted. But before I could hit the button to skip to track two the thick Brooklynite accents of the band laughed through the speakers and explained it was a joke. I was momentarily confused but soon found myself laughing at the joke that I’d fallen for hook, line and sinker.
Then the opening strains of 'Love You To Death' sauntered into my ears, and I was instantly addicted. The Type O Negative sound was totally unique. Like something between The Beatles and Black Sabbath. Sumptuous gothic keyboards, heavy distorted guitars, and Peter Steele's unique baritone vocals sounded like pure gold to me... and still does. Next was the deep bass groove of 'Be My Druidess' followed by the up-tempo 'Green Man' and the mournful 'Red Water (Christmas Mourning)' and that's before I'd even got to the song that I wanted the album for. The album continues down a path of sheer sonic perfection with the melancholic pop of 'Die With Me', the simple but heavy 'Burnt Flowers Fallen', the remorseful 'In Praise Of Bacchus' and the brilliantly executed Neil Young cover 'Cinnamon Girl'. The album then takes a sudden sharp turn towards darker waters with the martial instrumental 'The Glorious Liberation Of The People's Technocratic Republic Of Vinnland By The Combined Forces Of The United Territories Of Europa'. The album is rounded of with the doom-laden masterpieces that are 'Wolf Moon (Including Zoanthropic Paranoia)' and 'Haunted'.
There's one final message from Peter Steele at the end to add the full-stop to the album, in which he simply says:
“Well, that's it, that's all we have. I hope it wasn't too disappointing. We will see you on tour. Until then, take it easy.”
'October Rust' set the mark for me musically, and it's one that has been seldom equalled, and never passed. Its balance between humour and despair that runs through the album. Self-deprecating and brutally honest lyrics set within the confines some fantastically crafted music. A weary journey through seasons and emotions that is perfect for dark, introspective nights and is made all the more poignant since its writer's untimely death back in 2010. I whole-heartedly encourage everyone to give this album a listen at least once. I don't think you'll be too disappointed.
In other news, we're sponsoring the Dystopia club night's “Monster Apocalypse” in Birmingham on the 11th October. So if you're in that part of the world make sure you drop in. And if you're still not in the mood for Halloween, make sure you keep an eye out for our scary book selections for this year's All Hallow's Read.
Finally, if you are interested in writing for IVM please direct your attention to the tab at the top of the site marked 'Writing For IVM'. Especially if you are a film buff.
Once again, make sure you have these links in your favourites: