Volume 93, Issue 16

Friday, September 24, 1999


Weekend Pass

Veda Hille nibbles on humble pie

Smashers work for a fun planet

Type-O gives metal life

Adaptation not pride of Stratford

Chicago maps out its own soundscape

The good, the bad and the just there



Type-O gives metal life

Type O Negative
World Coming Down
Roadrunner Records

Heavy metal has been pushed underground – way underground. Pop music and teen stardom have risen to heavenly domains while heavy metal is left to seek shelter in the bowels of hell.

So, don't be surprised if you feel the earth start to shake. Type O Negative's latest release World Coming Down, could unknowingly foretell of the demise of pop music and subsequently, predict the resurrection of heavy metal music.

Having sold over 2.5 million albums worldwide, Type O Negative has carved a niche in the metal world with its signature sound, a mix of heavy riffs punctuated with keyboards and frontman Peter Steele's distinctive vocal and lyrical style.

Much like previous albums, World Coming Down continues to overpower the listener with its motifs of death, decay and delirium. Yet the music itself, reminiscent of early Black Sabbath, comes across as somewhat happier in the first single, "Everything Dies," as well as "Everyone I Love is Dead" and "Who Will Save The Sane?"

Steele and bandmates reach new heights in songwriting and are able to unleash powerful melodies over top the slow, brooding bulk of heavy guitar and keyboard that is Type O Negative.

–Jeff Warren

Lonnie James
Scratch Records/Teenage USA Recordings

After spending almost two decades drumming for some 30-odd bands, the last one being the late great Superfriendz, 1998 saw Lonnie James stepping out from behind his drum kit and taking centre stage with the release of his excellent debut album, This Land is Your Land.

While This Land basically features James playing lo-fi folk and rock songs with a little help from By Divine Right's Jose Contreras. Dee-O (say James' name and then the title – get the joke?) sees him playing some old fashioned rock 'n roll with a stellar supporting cast. Joining James this time around is Contreras, Glenn Milchem (Blue Rodeo) and John Borra (Change Of Heart).

The album opens with the upbeat rock song "For No Reason" and then moves on to a spacey, bluesy reworking of label mate Cecil Seaskull's "Cheap." Next up is the album's standout track, the Beach Boys inspired "Piano in the Sand." This song screams summer and should have been heard blasting from car windows all season.

Having a back up band definitely suits James well. Contreras' increased role of playing lead guitar and providing backup vocals on all tracks creates lots of harmony and helps to create a much fuller sound. Every track on Dee-O is extraordinary and extremely catchy.

This record is one of the best indie rock albums to be released in Canada this year. Hopefully, it will provide Lonnie James with some of the exposure he so greatly deserves.

–Shawn Despres

Anthem Records

The year – 1999. The band – Queensryche. The album – Q2k. The question – does this band still matter? The answer – hell yes.

With the exception of REM or U2, it seems like every time a band who gained prominence in the '80s releases an album, it is accompanied by a rolling of the eyes. Admittedly, that reaction is occasionally deserving (we're thinking of you, Warrant). However, goofy name aside, Q2k is an album which deserves to be heard.

Combining chunky over the top guitar riffs, powerful vocals and soaring melodies, Queensryche blazes forward with the progressive rock torch.

The song "One Life" weighs in with a heavy, mid-tempo hook which suggests rock isn't going anywhere. "Beside You" boasts a chorus which is one of the more infectious in recent memory and "Liquid Sky" is a top-drawer power ballad. Lyrics of isolation and loneliness dominate the album, indicated by the words of "Falling Down" – "Today is just the same as any other day to me/walking wall to wall to pass the time/I picture what it's like on the other side."

Unfortunately, the band begins to run out of catchy hooks at the ironically named eighth song, "Breakdown." In a word, the song is noisy. It sounds like Queensryche is trying to ape the early sound of fellow Seattle rockers, Soundgarden. Another weak cut, "Wot Kinda Man," has the singer belting out the lyrics with a half-assed British accent.

Fortunately for Queensryche, weak tracks aside, their Q2k is not a problem.

–Terry Warne

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Copyright The Gazette 1999