Released: 2006, SPV
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Until they release a new album in 2007, the lackluster LIFE IS KILLING ME is the last thing we have to remember Type O Negative by. To put a better taste in your fanged mouth, the band has put together a DVD called SYMPHONY FOR THE DEVIL featuring a live show taken from 1999’s Bizarre Festival in Germany in front of 90,000 people, a hilariously chaotic interview, behind-the-scenes nonsense, band member biographies and a photo gallery. Also included is a bonus CD featuring a medley of three Santana tracks, done Type O-style.
The show featured on the DVD has been bootlegged for years by fans but the band has presented it here in crystal-clear 5.1 Dolby Digital sound (Peter Steele’s bass is absolutely crushing) and 16x9 widescreen. A commentary track is included with the band and perpetually-juvenile roadie, “Slitzy,” acting like retarded kids but it is a hoot to listen to nonetheless. Type O was touring in support of WORLD COMING DOWN (which is sorely under-represented here) but the setlist is dispersed fairly evenly across all the band’s albums with the exception of 1991’s SLOW, DEEP AND HARD. Strange not to see “I Know You’re Fucking Someone Else” here, too, but “Are You Afraid?” and “Gravity” are a real treat, as are the show-stopping versions of “Wolf Moon,” “Everything Dies,” “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” and the closing trilogy of “Christian Woman,” “Love You To Death” and “Black No. 1.” Steele’s flowing black hair, ultra-low baritone and gargantuan stature make him a foreboding presence on stage but the undercurrent of humor that fills the world of Type O Negative is showcased on the scenes inserted between the live tracks. Setting the tone for what is to come, the DVD opens with “Slitzy” and a homeless guy with no right arm holding a sign that reads, “I’d give my right arm to see Type O Negative live.” Josh Steele is the straight man to Steele’s shenanigans and guitarist Kenny Hickey is an extremely animated personality, making this band a real treat to watch off stage. The faint of heart may want to look elsewhere to be spared seeing grapes used as a butt plug, Silver’s nut sack, Steele shitting in the street and going down on a girl at the back of the bus but it is all done in tasteless good fun. The accompanying band interview with Fuse TV’s Juliya starts out as an attempt at a serious chat but within seconds devolves into utter mayhem, with Steele making Tourette’s-like shouts amid the wild gesticulations of Hickey, embarrassed laughter of drummer Johnny Kelly and Silver’s unwavering stoicism. The photo gallery is also worth a look to see a teenage Steele with a hilarious haircut and in later years with the punk band Carnivore, as well as a bespectacled Silver with a massive Jew-fro!
Unfortunately, the live show cannot be watched from start to finish without the extra footage, which was a disappointment because as fun as they are, watching them repeatedly would certainly grow tiresome. As it is, fans are stuck with hitting the skip button instead.
Despite their dark, Gothic imagery and ominous appearance, the members of Type O Negative are a bunch of fun-loving schlubs from Brooklyn who just happen to play music in between poop jokes. SYMPHONY FOR THE DEVIL showcases both sides of the band and fans will be happy to finally see the Bizarre Festival show as it was meant to be seen and heard with some interesting and shocking footage thrown in to sweeten the deal.