A HALLOWEEN SLOWDOWN

Type O Negative might be a bone-crushingly obvious choice for Halloween. But that’s because they bone-crushingly OWN the goth metal Halloween soundscape, and if previous Halloween blog posts have been a bit fallow for haunting Type O replays, this year it’s full harvest – been end-to-end back-to-back Type O Negative albums all week.

And because the Brooklyn four bleed love, loss and death from every pore, you know there are deep cuts on every album that fit the season. So, let’s go there. Let’s cut a little deeper.

And slower.

Suspended in Dusk: time to hang.

“Damn me Father, for I must sin …”

From their many epics, Suspended in Dusk must be the slowest and the most atmospherically gothic. Hidden in the back catalogue like a shadow-lurking creephead, it snuck out as a ‘Previously too embarrassed to release’ B-side on the Christian Woman single. Then it loomed long over the digipak version of the Bloody Kisses album – the one with the thrash-punk and pisstaker tracks extracted so the slower, lusher, Type O vision could be revealed.

Which means there’s a fair chance that some ToN fans won’t even have heard it. That’s not going to change with this blog because I’ve got fewer readers than Michael Myers has facial expressions, but so what? Suspended in Dusk is pure gothic suspense in vamp’s cloaking:

“With every victim I pray for my own death

And as much as I love the night

I curse the moon’s eerie glow

This bloodlust that drags me to forever

The toxic rays of dawn that condemn me to limbo.”

Across eight and a half minutes of trademark Type O layers – groaning downer riffs, cavernous hymn-like surges, twilight-tinkling keyboards, funeral bpm – Pete Steele inhabits the vampire and somehow conveys the hopeless plight of the eternally condemned.

Goth enough for ya? Feel its cold breath right here. Best heard in the lowest of lights. Pair it up with Paranoid for a crawling Type O double.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, BLOODSUCKERS.

DESERT STORM: LIVE

FIRST GIG SINCE THE PANDEMIC. WHO BETTER THAN THIS LOT PEELING STRIPS OFF THEIR HOME TURF?

The Bullingdon, Oxford, October 21st, 2021

Never bought a ticket as fast after seeing a listing … first gig after lockdown/s is going to be Desert Storm? YES. Deep down, I’d quietly hoped the scheduling stars would align like this – surely the most dependably metallic way to break back into Oxford gig action.

But before they take the stage in The Bullingdon, it’s APF Records labelmates Battalions, straight outta Hull, whose sludge grooves and downer riffs hit the target hard. Tasty filthy, mmmm. Phil Wilkinson’s hostile screams belie his friendly manner so be warned if you’re a Battalions first-timer, like what I is: his zero melody style is harsh. But it’s a good set and the mood is right.

And Desert Storm?

Nailed-on quality, end to end. Simple as that. Black Bile, Vengeful Gods and The Machine are among the Omens tracks aired in this comically/pandemically delayed Omens album launch party, and soaring Sentinels anthem Capsized is a natural high. Long-term gig anchor Queen Reefer helps stir up a lively bit of moshing – how long since we’ve seen that? – but it’s the gig-ending double hit of Enslaved in the Icy Tundra and Convulsion (wasn’t it?) that vamps it up into something wilder. Colossal tunes, both.

And in the thick of that peak mosh action is Battalions’ Phil, who’s been slamming hard all night already so he gets the Undiluted Commitment to Metal award, no question. Doesn’t even lose his glasses. Or his beard. Respect.

There’s not much more to write because, really, this is a celebration more than a review. When I went to buy some merch – a 7-inch split single – after the gig, I got a “Thanks for supporting the cause!” from singer Matt Ryan.

A riff-heavy pleasure, obviously. Got to get out there and support our bands: we all need each other. But these guys make it easy because the records and the gigs are so fucking good. Hope you’ve got a band or musician like this where you live – and if so, tell us.

WELCOME BACK, Desert Storm.

New Desert Storm album being recorded right now. Tour dates already announced for 2022. New line-up features bassist Mark Dennett who also plays with Battalions

Desert Storm red vinyl 7-inch split single Signals From Beyond
gig souvenir