Review: Various Artists ‘Blast No.1 – Blastbeat Tribute To Type O Negative’

Type O Negative were an important band during my formative mid-to-late teen years. They weren’t a top tier band in my affections at the time, but they were a band that a few of my mates also listened to, so their presence was a constant. Interestingly (and perhaps precisely because they weren’t ‘top tier’ and therefore not overplayed at the time) my interest in the band has only increased over the years, so I came to this tribute album with a mixture of excitement and what-the-hell-is-this-gonna-sound-like trepidation.

Various Artists 'Blast No.1 – Blastbeat Tribute To Type O Negative' Artwork
‘Blast No.1 – Blastbeat Tribute To Type O Negative’ Artwork

Ironically enough, I know a few people who stumbled across Type O Negative by way of a tribute album, the now classic Nativity In Black. That album did precisely what I think the best tribute albums do – it introduced a whole new generation to the music of Black Sabbath, and it also introduced a load of people to a bunch of bands that they otherwise might not have listened to.

The third thing that I think a good tribute album can do is provide genuinely inspired and varied reinterpretations of songs that you know like the back of your hand. Well by definition, with this being a ‘blast beat tribute’ I think we can probably dispense with any hope of variety, but that doesn’t rule out inspiration! Blast No.1 features nineteen acts that all fall somewhere on the death-grind-crust spectrum and the album is the brainchild of 783punx. I must admit to having heard of a massive six of the nineteen bands on the album, so clearly not my genre of expertise, but with my Bloody Kisses t-shirt on, I was ready to be entertained.

My response to the individual tracks, and the album as a whole, surprised me initially. The tracks I found myself enjoying and going back to were the interpretations of early Type O Negative songs – the stuff from Slow, Deep And Hard, and The Origin Of The Feces. Task Force Beer’s Prelude to Agony, and Dishell’s Xero Tolerance are the two most outstanding efforts in this regard. The versions of tracks from Bloody Kisses onwards in the main fell short for me.

a project that has clearly been treated with such love and respect…

This makes sense when you think about it though – early Type O Negative (and Carnivore before them) had that undeniable hardcore element not only to the performance but also to the songwriting – so it follows that this material is right at home in the hands and voices of these bands. As the band went on, Peter Steele seemed to delve deeper and deeper into the bizarrely complementary worlds of doom and The Beatles. Gendo Ikari covering Kill You Tonight works but getting them to bastardise something that originally apes a McCartney melody would always have been a stretch!

There are a couple of exceptions to these rules which are worthy of note. Herida Profunda’s All Hallows Eve is a bloody marvellous racket and Plague Bearer’s Creepy Green Light adds real heaviness to the track whilst staying pretty true to the original. These two only cemented my view that Steele’s songwriting peaked on the World Coming Down album.

So, does Blast No.1 do its job? Well yes, because not only have I gone on to listen to records from three or four of the bands that I’d never heard of, but I’ve also gone back to the first two Type O Negative albums (which have always been firmly at the bottom of my list of preference) with a new appreciation.

In ending this review there is one thing I’ve got to mention, and that is how fantastic the physical products are. There are deluxe CD and cassette box sets which both come with stickers, variations on the original album covers, postcards, and a great looking t-shirt. And they are seriously good value for money for a project that has clearly been treated with such love and respect. Get yourself over to the labels webstore or Bandcamp page and buy yourself a much deserved Christmas present.

Label: 783punx

Scribed by: David J McLaren