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Customer Review

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appeals to me in every possible way, 4 Dec. 2009
This review is from: October Rust (Audio CD)
I don't like ballads. When I think of ballads, I think of those Driving Rock type compilations, overflowing with sap from the likes of Meatloaf, Chris DeBurgh, Bryan Adams, Journey and their ilk. You'll forgive my listing of desparately obvious artists there, but that's the stigma I have to get past with ballads. I don't even know what precisely constitutes a ballad. I could look it up but I'm not going to. Ignorance is bliss. All I know is, when I hear the word, I think of Celine Dion or some such warbling their way to the top of the charts for months on end until something else comes along to knock `em off.

How is this relevant? It isn't. It was a diatribe, though it leads me to a more relevant point: my intense hatred of the metal ballad. Metal bands have been selling out for years. Dream Theater, Metallica, Slipknot and countless others (I say countless, obviously I could only come up with three) have been peppering their work with these radio-friendly single-fodder tracks for years now, and it sickens me. Always has. I don't know how often it's the label's decision or if the bands love to show their sappy, clichéd sides but it drives me to distraction. Invariably I will skip these tracks, though obviously the metal world laps it up: that one last tie to the commercial world of... shudder and vomit... the charts.

No really, HOW is this relevant? I'll tell you, self. October Rust is an album full of ballads (from a Brooklyn quasi punk band no less), and it's absolutely bloody brilliant.

Pete O' Steele (that's their bassist-singer, noob) once half-dismissed it as `one for the ladies'. There's no denying TON sold out for this record, letting loose two huge singles and entirely dropping the double-bass drumming, obscene imagery and mock-racism atogether. Good for them, too. Every single song (OK, maybe 80%) on October Rust is a ballad of some sort- Steele sings (not shouts, sings) about intense love, lust, threesomes, loss, paranoia and wolves in instantly memorable melodies, most of which are very simple but infectiously hummable. Thankfully, said ballads are thrust through the Type-O-Ballad-Woodchipper, and emerge swathed in slow, heavy drudge, but the innate, how do you say, sweetness (?) of the songwriting is unscathed.

As far as I'm concerned, they'll never top it. Subsequent albums are ruined by the choice of drum machine (the one on Rust is less obvious) and a serious ratio of filler:killer. But even if they did, it wouldn't be by repeating it. October Rust is something they'll never try again, and God knows why they did in the first place. Maybe it was a bet, someone's dare to see if they could achieve massive commercial success. It's reflective, wounded ethos could even have been a bandage on the wounded ego of Steele, fresh from his Playgirl failure. Frankly, who cares? We have the album and always will, and it remains the jewel in the Type O crown, and one of the best releases in what I feel was arguably the best year for music in history.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Magnum Valentino
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,004