Type O Negative's debut album, Slow, Deep and Hard, was a landmark release for Roadrunner, and for extreme metal as a whole. The few who knew of frontman/bandleader Pete Steele from his time leading crude, frequently misunderstood Brooklyn thrashers Carnivore would never have expected to hear him groaning out the sludgy, crushingly heavy anthems that made up the early Type O catalog. Still, songs like "Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity" and "Prelude to Agony," each one over 12 minutes long, proved that he and his bandmates were capable of moody psychedelic explorations as well as raw, bludgeoning riffs - and that their bilious lyrics were catchy as hell.


Translating their vision to the stage wasn't an easy process, though. On an early European tour, they ran into a variety of problems when political activists got the (mistaken) idea that the band were somehow right-wing; explained Steele in a 1992 radio interview reprinted in Xenocide zine, "What happened is we were out with Exploited and Biohazard, two bands that we were good friends with and like very much, but we felt it wasn't a very good matchup because we're not a punk band and we're not a hardcore band, we're more like a Gothic band, and a lot of the skinheads we encountered on tour didn't like us too much, and we had problems with them, and over in Germany and Austria we had problems with the left wing over there." Of course, he turned it into a typically dark joke, continuing, "ultimately that turned out great because it was kind of planned, and we had set the whole thing up ourselves... We had spread rumors that we were the Fourth Reich coming over to Germany to retake the country, and we took plenty of time to make preparation, and when we got there we phoned in bomb threats to the clubs that we were supposed to play at so the shows got cancelled and we got paid for nothing. We just went out chasing German women, Austrian women, we just went chasing women."


Back home post-tour, Roadrunner asked the band to record a live album, hoping to capitalize on the band's "controversial" live reputation. Instead, Steele and company decided to prank...pretty much everyone. The release they turned in, The Origin of the Feces, was about as far from a conventional live album as could be imagined. Hell, it wasn't even live!


As Steele explained to Alternative Press in 1995, "We had caused so much controversy over in Europe that the record company wanted to ride the wave of all this free press. They said, 'Here's X number of dollars, go do a live album and we'll release it as soon as we can.' I think we're a pretty lousy band live. I'm a very conniving person and I realized that we could never pull this off live. Josh [Silver] has a recording studio in his house and we went down there and played the songs live. Then we had our friends come in and we tried to reproduce all the lousy things that happened to us in Europe; bomb threats, police raids, people jumping onstage and attacking us. Rather than most bands that do a live album to show that they're God's Gift To Music, why not blatantly sound really bad? Not just that, but we got to keep all the money. The original cover had a big picture of my asshole on it, which of course, is my best side. That kept it out of Kmart and toy stores."


In addition to even more extended versions of already-long Slow, Deep and Hard tracks interrupted by hostile exchanges with the "crowd" and "staff" of the "venue," Origin features a massive, first-gear trudge through Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" and "Hey Pete," a rewrite of the blues song "Hey Joe" from an even more murderous angle than the original. And ultimately, the band's musical talent shines through even when they're just fucking around, making the album well worth hearing even 20 years later.


Listen to it now on Spotify, or get it as part of the Complete Roadrunner Collection 1991-2003 digital boxed set on iTunes!