Music Review: Type O Negative

October 31, 2008

It’s Halloween, and under these black sad skies and by the light of the rotting jack-o-lantern, I bring you the music of Type O Negative. I think it’s appropriate. Demons roam the Earth tonight, and so do these New York rockers.

Type O Negative is Halloween on CD. All those years Rob Zombie was power-rocking his way through schlock horror stereotypes, Type O Negative was creating the real deal, crafting dark gothic (not ‘goth’) metal with a tunesmanship and sense of melody that rescues it from the shit-for-brains dirges of death metal.

I’m of two minds when it comes to Type O Negative. There are about a dozen of their songs that rotate in and out of my playlists, and others I can’t stomach, mostly due to boredom. They can be hit or miss. But that’s okay, because the ones I do like, the ones that matter, are so monstrously epic that I am happy to go through life with a handful of brilliance.

The good songs I’m talking about include Love You To Death, Black No. 1 (the only song ever written abour hair dye; its subtitle is Little Miss Scare-All), My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend, Cinnamon Girl, Summer Breeze, I Know You’re Fucking Someone Else (there’s a title for you) and September Sun.

You know why this music works? Two things: keyboards, played like a Wagnerian opera and not like Howard Jones or whoever, and also the voice of Peter Steele.

Steele is a seven-foot-tall bodybuilder who sings like a low-register banshee. His voice is so rumbly and low-end that you can often find songs attributed to Type O Negative that are really just slowed-down versions of actual recordings. There’s a Hit Me Baby One More Time floating around out there like that. Peter Steele is also notorious for being the first Playgirl model to insist on appearing, uh, as the extended remix version.

Anyway, this is not everyone’s cup of tea, and not always mine. But there are days when Type O Negative makes perfect sense. Today is Halloween. So that’s one of them.

Here’s a couple of Type O Negative videos, one for Halloween:

And one for when you’re just feeling confused about things:


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