A Pale Horse Named Death
“Lay My Soul To Waste”
If by chance you’ve been missing that foreboding, decidedly goth, metal moodscape that was Type O Negative since frontman Peter Steele’s 2010 death, you’re in for a treat. Two ex-Type O members are not only carrying on Steele’s sonic legacy (although not quite intentionally) and creating new, dark clouds of grime in A Pale Horse Named Death. The band’s second album, “Lay My Soul to Waste,” is heavy, ambient, and laced with drudgery that would fit Steele’s bleak outlook to a tee.
Led by vocalist/guitarist Sal Abruscato, who played drums for Type O Negative up until, and including that band’s 1993 breakthrough, “Bloody Kisses,” A Pale Horse Named Death is not quite as outwardly satirical with the heavy-handed, morose humor as Type O, but still manages a delicate evil. Abruscato favors heavier sludge-like guitar riffs and Layne Stayley-esque, eerie vocal harmonies and tempers, just a bit, the ghoulish world-loathing that defined Steele. Tracks like “Shallow Grave” are light-impenetrable, with heavy guitar/bass sync; Abruscato’s beautifully dark voice falling somewhere between Nick Cave and Saigon Kick’s Matt Kramer as he relinquishes, “I buried you in the back of my mind, and I let the worms eat you.”
“Growing Old” begins with haunting pipe organ flourishes, before slamming into a Jerry Cantrell-approved, hundred-pound string bend – drummer Johnny Kelly, also a Type O alum, pounds out the song’s frustration at deluded life expectations like he’ll never come to terms. Tracks like “Needle In You” delve into equally unrequited hope over a bed of de-tuned, NYC hardcore riffage and dirge-like pace; Abruscato twisting the hooks with “I am the poison in you.”
Somberly heavy, draw-the-curtains metal at its best, A Pale Horse Named Death is the antithesis of the pop façade defining contemporary music for the masses in 2013. Their music invites listeners to the dark side, to lick the wounds life’s inflicted.