When the leader of Brooklyn goth-metal luminaries Type O Negative, Peter Steele, passed away in 2010, he left a giant hole in the hearts of those for whom Type O’s singular blend of black humor, dark eroticism and melodic yet crunching heavy metal was musical lifeblood.
In 2011, however, those same sorrowful fans have found a reason to rejoice, as original Type O drummer Sal Abruscato has stepped out from behind the kit — a move that he described on this night as not just taking balls, but “fucking melons” — to lead his own dark metal outfit, A Pale Horse Named Death (APHND).
Johnny Kelly, who replaced Abruscato in Type O, now mans the skins for APHND — a band comprised of two of his former drummers must have the wisecracking Steele in stitches up there in rock and roll heaven. Wisely, however, APHND doesn’t attempt to merely mimic Type O, but instead uses it as an influence, along with other luminaries of musical heaviosity like grunge superstars Alice In Chains and industrialists Ministry.
On this night, fired up by Revolver magazine’s pick of their debut album, And Hell Will Follow Me, as one of the top releases of 2011, Abruscato, sporting Alice Cooper-style ghoulish face paint, took to the stage with his cohorts in Manhattan and faced up to the challenge of Type O’s legacy. It soon became clear that this is a labor of love for all involved: I can’t remember the last time I saw a band having this much fun on stage — strange, considering rock music is supposed to be about having a good time.
Heavy, grinding numbers like “To Die In Your Arms” and “Devil In The Closet” satisfied the crowd’s need for headbanging, while “Cracks In The Walls” had atmospheric, gothic touches that brought to mind the aforementioned Alice Cooper circa the Killer era. Live as on record, Abruscato’s material is impressively strong in the melody department — APHND songs tend to stick in the mind long after you’ve heard them. And while Abruscato doesn't possess as distinctive a voice as his fallen comrade, he sings on key and gets the job done.