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DARK THEMES BROUGHT MUSICALLY TO LIGHT IN 2 ALBUMS

SHARE DARK THEMES BROUGHT MUSICALLY TO LIGHT IN 2 ALBUMS

TYPE O NEGATIVE; "October Rust" (Roadrunner). * * 1/2

RASPUTINA; "Thanks for the Ether" (Columbia). * * *

New albums by Type O Negative and Rasputina explore dark, gothic themes. While Type O lies on the metallic side of this subgenre, Rasputina taps into the avant garde with a splash of classical music.

- TYPE O NEGATIVE hit the scene with 1994's "Bloody Kisses" and has aligned itself somewhat with the Nosferatu chants of Bauhaus and the like. But after touring with varied headliners (Motley Crue, Danzig, Queensryche, Ozzy Osbourne and Nine Inch Nails), Type O Negative has extended its reach to entwine classic rock and some camp.

Vampirish images come through in brooding arrangements like "Love You to Death," "Die With Me" and "Haunted." There are nods to tree spirits in "Be My Druidess" and "Burnt Flowers Have Fallen."

The trademark Type O Negative sound - cathedral organ meets deep electric guitars - is intact, though not as solidly as on "Bloody Kisses." But for fans, this is a delicious (but somewhat light) fix.

Oh, a word of warning: When you hear the screeching of the opening track, "Bad Ground," don't fret. And there is an element of cream cheese when the band offers its gratitude to the listener for buying the album.

- RASPUTINA is a three-woman band from Manhattan, although lead singer Melora Creager is originally from Kansas. Unlike her home state, the band isn't about to fall flat.

Incorporating cellos, violas and breath-draining chants, the band brings to mind a lone, dusky Victorian manse haunted by polter-geists.

Notes are thrown into beautiful chaos and seemingly sporadic drum lines in "My Little Shirtwaist Fire." "Eleanor Rigby"-sounding strings bring out the devilish arrangements on which Creager's ghostly, cutting voice rides during "Stumpside."

Themes of possession, slavery and eccentricity spring to life with "Endomorph," "Transylvanian Con-cubine" and "Howard Hughes."

In another atmospheric move, spoken prose and poetry backed by haunting strings splat this sometimes claustrophobic album with moments of shock. "Nozzle," "The Donner Party," "Five Fleas" and "Kate Moss," no matter how abrasive they sound in the opening chords, eventually draw and seduce listeners and fill them with a sense of danger.

RATINGS: four stars (* * * * ), excellent; three stars (* * * ), good; two stars (* * ), fair; one star (* ), poor, with 1/2 representing a higher, intermediate grade.