Mostly redundant, entirely hilarious
When discussing Type O Negative’s major releases I often forget that The Origin of the Feces even exists. That’s not because it’s bad – far from it, the material here is amazing – but this is the one major release they have where no new ideas are introduced and no progression of any sort is made, to the extent that I don’t even consider this a main studio album despite this being a collection of studio material. It’s more of a foot note in their discography than anything else, and it doesn’t mean a whole lot when divorced from Slow, Deep and Hard and by extension the two Carnivore albums. If it does represent anything, it’s possibly the greatest example of TON’s sense of humour across their entire discography, as this release is literally one giant joke.
The Origin of the Feces is for the most part re-treads of various tracks from Slow, Deep and Hard. ‘I Know You’re Fucking Someone Else’ is ‘Unsuccessfully Coping…’, ‘Gravity’ is ‘Gravitational Constant…’, ‘Kill You Tonight’ is ‘Xero Tolerance’ and ‘Pain’ is ‘Prelude to Agony’, which is about 36 minutes of this 51 minute tracklist. These songs are abrupt collisions of goth/doom and crossover/thrash that bring excellent riffs, keyboard lines and a bitter, ugly attitude courtesy of Pete’s amazing vocals, which range from a hardcore-tinged shout to more conventional singing to go with the more melodic strains of the music. While this material is of quality, this is pretty much the main reason this is their weakest release; though there are differences between the originals and these versions the basic musical foundation here is a straight up rehash of their debut, with no substantial musical progression or new material being presented, merely alternate takes on songs listeners have heard before.
There are differences, of course – these certainly sound more like live performances despite not being live. The sound of the music is as if they were playing in a large room of some sort, with more reverb and space in the sound. The performances differ too, with the riffs and keyboards perhaps having a slightly different sense of melody or the drumming being slightly different in its timing. The vocals are particularly different – Pete often delivers lyrics slightly off the mark or at a different pitch, if he even delivers them at all. The songs are often truncated too, with ‘Kill You Tonight’ being played here as both a two minute track and a 7 minute reprise and ‘Pain’ being a bit under 5 minutes in length. The most notable difference however is the crowd noise found throughout the songs, consisting of fans jeering and booing in a studio to be recorded and added to the songs. Honestly, the back and forth between the verbal abuse of the crowd and Pete is one of the only aspects of this release that truly makes it worthwhile; it’s actually goddamn hilarious. Highlights include when ‘Gravity’ is interrupted due to a supposed bomb threat targeting the venue, the very opening moments which is just the crowd chanting ‘You suck!’ and when the band gets bottled by one of the crowd, but honestly it’s all just one giant laugh.
Beyond the humour, the only other main draw here is the various tracks that are exclusive to this release. ‘Hey Pete’ is a reworking of ‘Hey Joe’ and it’s about as good as a cover could turn out; the band do a great job of making the song their own, turning it from a laid back psychedelic track into a gloomy doom metal number with lyrics to fit Slow, Deep and Hard‘s concept of murdering your ex over infidelity. The reissue features a cover of ‘Paranoid’ (one which lacks much of the faux-live trappings of the rest of the songs here) – the band pull a similar trick here by turning this speedy rocker into a 7 minute morose and downtrodden doom metal song and it goes over amazingly. It beats out most of their material up to this point and is perhaps a precursor to their more overtly doom metal-influenced albums down the road. The sole new original song here is ‘Are You Afraid’, which is a little over two minutes of goth rock, containing the sort of lush keyboard work, gentle bass-baritone crooning mixing with agonised screaming and tender atmosphere that would come to define TON’s later, more famous albums. Critically, all of these new tracks show the band going in a more pure goth/doom direction and as such they are the only times they really undergo any progression from their debut; it’s a shame that they make up less than a third of the runtime.
As if the original cover of Pete’s hairy anus wasn’t enough of an indicator, this is obviously not meant to be seen as a serious work from the band at all and indeed it isn’t for the most part, being a rehash of their old songs for a joke. This does have some value for the sheer humour on offer and the few new tracks here are certainly interesting, but otherwise this is one of the only non-essential and unnecessary releases in their catalogue. It’s fun for sure but most of these songs were done better a year prior, and honestly this makes far more sense as an addendum to their debut than as a standalone release. All this said however, it is quite a testament to the quality of TON’s music and sense of humour that they can just play their old songs more sloppily on a new release while getting fans to tell the listener that the band suck and still have it turn out better than most artists could even dream of.