TYPE O NEGATIVE was one of a kind. The Brooklyn-based goth doom juggernaut was one of the most iconic of all metal bands from the nineties through the following decade, when the group disbanded upon the untimely passing of towering frontman Peter Steele. Discussions of the drab four are inevitable when discussing A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH since that band’s stylistic thread runs directly through this act’s music, unsurprisingly since the unit features TYPE O NEGATIVE alumni Sal Abruscato and Johnny Kelly. It’s been six long years since the release of its sophomore effort, “Lay My Soul to Waste”, and judging by the final product that is “When The World Becomes Undone”, the wait was worth it.
Abruscato, primarily known for his drumming with both TYPE O NEGATIVE as well as LIFE OF AGONY, leads bassist Eric Morgan, guitarists Joe Taylor and Eddie Heedles, and the aforementioned Johnny Kelly—the percussionist who was TYPE O NEGATIVE‘s successor to the drum throne following Abruscato‘s early nineties departure—through a melancholy drenched journey that references metallic hard rock as much as it does gothic metal. With “When The World Becomes Undone”, A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH paradoxically, brilliantly and simultaneously forwards a driving energy as well as surreal, lofty atmospheric textures. The hard rock sensibilities are catchy and hook-laden within a framework of doom and rock that is married together seamlessly. The dreamlike ambience of “We All Break Down” contrasts the harder rocking doom ‘n’ gloom of “Love The Ones You Hate”. And the ensemble interestingly fleshes things out with the cult-like, tribal chant of the interlude “The Woods”. While the culmination of sounds is predominantly unique, there are traces of STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, and it seems as though ALICE IN CHAINS is clearly an inspirational springboard, especially considering some of the vocal melodies and the bending, heavy riff on “Vultures”.
The unavoidable comparisons to TYPE O NEGATIVE ultimately prove to be a double-edged sword. The shared style and personnel offer that extension of the drab four that many have longed for, and it’s a new spin on the sounds of a now classic, heralded band. Yet, on the flip side, it seems likely that in spite of how solid and satisfying A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH‘s music can be, the unit is always going to fall within TYPE O NEGATIVE‘s shadow. Regardless, “When The World Becomes Undone” continues to prove that A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH is both the go-to band for diehard TYPE O NEGATIVE fans forever yearning for them, as well as an impressive metallic hard rock/gothic doom hybrid that is well worth its salt. One can certainly imagine the Green Man nodding his head with approval.
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