When Type O Negative first released its seventh album Dead Again in 2007 through Steamhammer, the album proved the be the best performing record of the band’s career, debuting at No. 27 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. Ironically, the album would also end up being the band’s last, as former front man Peter Steele passed away three years later in 2010. The album’s success was likely due to the fact that the album saw such a noticeable change in the album’s arrangements, leaning in more directions throughout its body.
A year after its initial release, Steamhammer re-issued the album with a bonus DVD front loaded with bonus live content, interviews and music videos. Now 14 years after that re-issue’s release, Nuclear Blast Records is scheduled to re-issue the album again in a new anniversary presentation with much of the bonus live content featured in the 2008 re-issue. That bonus content being at the center of the album’s latest re-issue, it will be the focus of this review. The content itself is a positive and will be discussed shortly. The presentation of that content however, is somewhat problematic. This will be discussed a little later. The band’s performances of the songs is, together with the songs themselves a positive worth noting, too. It will be examined a little later, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make this latest re-issue of Dead Again leaving audiences honestly wanting for a little more.
Nuclear Blast Records’ forthcoming re-issue of Type O Negative’s 2007 album Dead Again is sadly, a celebration of an impressive album that does not do the record full justice in its new release. That is not to say that the record is a total loss. The bonus live content featured with the record is the primary reason that it survives. Totaling 10 tracks in all spread across more than an hour and 10 minutes, the bonus live performances featured here were largely carried over from the album’s 2008 re-issue from Steamhammer. The songs pull from almost all of the band’s albums up to that point, save for its 1991 debut album, Slow, Deep and Hard. In other words, the songs present a relatively clear cross section of Type O Negative’s catalog up to that point. The only difference between the content in that 2008 re-issue and this re-issue is that that Wacken content featured in that release was on DVD while it is strictly on CD in this case. So in short what audiences get in the bonus content is largely the same content featured in that 2008 re-issue. It means that audiences who did not get their hands on the 2008 re-issue will not be losing out, nor will those who did get the re-issue.
Now while the bonus content featured in this re-issue is a direct carry over from the 2008 re-issue of Dead Again, the presentation of the content is problematic. Maybe it is just this critic’s own audio equipment, but the audio mix of this content is a concern. Far too many times in each performance, it seems like Steele’s vocals are being washed out by the instrumentation. This happens both in the 2007 Wacken Festival performances and the other live performances. As a side note, it should be pointed out that there is no indication anywhere in the liner notes about where and when the other live performances were recorded, so that is another problem in itself. Getting back to the audio mix and production, the sound, again, is a concern. It leaves one wondering if the audio was already such an issue in the album’s 2008 re-issue. If it was and nothing was done, then someone definitely should be held accountable. If not, then someone should be held just as accountable for allowing it to be so muddied. It is enough to make a person want to skip through the songs just to see if the next song is any less messy.
As problematic as the sound issue is with the live content’s re-issue, it is not enough to doom the re-issue. To that end, there is still at least one more positive to note. That positive is the band’s performance of the live content. One thing that is indisputable from one live performance to the next is the dedication that the band put into each song. The band members give each song their fullest attention, ensuring audiences are fully engaged and entertained. What’s more, Steele’s playful banter with the audiences show just how laid back he was. It exemplifies why so many people respected him as a front man and person. The result of those positive performances is a general effect that together with the songs themselves, makes them worth hearing at least once. To that end, audiences who already own either the original 2007 release or its 2008 re-issue would be well advised to just hold onto those releases.
Nuclear Blast Records’ forthcoming 25th Anniversary re-issue of Type O Negative’s Dead Again is an interesting presentation. That is due entirely to its featured bonus live content. The bonus live content featured here is a direct carry over from the album’s 2008 re-issue. The only difference between the re-issues is that the Wacken 2007 performances were on DVD in the album’s 2008 re-issue and on CD in this re-issue. The fact that the same material was carried over ensures that no audience is left out regardless of whether they own the 2008 re-issue. The audio mix of the live content is problematic to say the very least. Far too often throughout the 10 total live performances, it seems like Peter Steele’s vocals were washed out by his band mates. That is not a stab at them by any means. Rather it is a concern on the side of those charged with ensuring the best possible audio quality in each performance. The band’s actual performances in each song works with the songs to make for at least a little more engagement and entertainment. The band’s performances themselves ensure audiences engagement and entertainment even despite the issue of the audio. That makes the bonus content at least somewhat appealing. However, it still does not eliminate the concern caused by the audio mix. To that end, this bonus content that accompanies Dead Again‘s latest re-issue does a little at best to fully celebrate what was and is one of the most important of Type O Negative’s albums if not its most important.
Dead Again is scheduled to be re-issued Friday through Nuclear Blast Records. More information on the album’s re-issue is available along with all of Type O Negative’s latest news at:
To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.