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.


Paranoid and negative

Of all the seminal heavyweight scare-alls you could choose for a Halloween soundtrack, you’d be hard pushed to choose chillier than Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath from Black Sabbath – not just the slowest, most-ominous anti-groove put to tape at that point in heavy rock’s short history, but a track that’s got the imagery to match: the Hammer-horror dread that Ozzy conjures in your shitting-it mind and, of course, the spectral Presence on the album’s cover.

But despite all that, we’re not picking Black Sabbath the track for a Halloween playlist, not this year. 2014 belongs to PARANOID.

I’ve never much liked it.

Easily the least essential of Iommi and co’s anthems, it stands supremely un-tall against Sabba-manna like Wheels of Confusion, Fairies Wear Boots, Hole in the Sky and the like. No-one, surely no-one, would pick Paranoid’s pop-metal bounce ahead of any of those.

But what if it was slower – like, a LOT slower?

Or blacker – like, none-more-Tap blacker?

Or deader – like, graveyard undeader?

Cue Type O Negative.

If ever a band embodied the Halloween aesthetic and staked it with wry gallows’ humour, Type O are it. Halloween in Heaven, Black No.1, Bloody Kisses and All Hallows Eve are literal enough links but really, any track of theirs from Bloody Kisses onwards that’s not thrash-fast is pretty much game – Suspended in Dusk, Everyone I Love is Dead, Haunted, The Profit of Doom, take your pick. You get the gist.

But it’s the realm of the cover version that pulls everything together today. The band have got form in this area, lending the Negative touch to Neil Young, the Beatles, Hendrix and – most perversely/brilliantly – to 70s harmony-pop smash Summer Breeze, dragging the Seals and Crofts/Isley Brothers classic from sunshine floater to a slow-low-lower hot sticky trudge.

And so it is with Paranoid, stuck on the end of the faux-live pisstake Origin of the Feces.

Hypnosis-slow, lavishly arranged and knowingly soaked in trademark vampiric goth, Brooklyn’s least celebrated give Sabbath’s 3-minute chugger a makeover so total and so Type O that they absolutely own it: seven luxuriant minutes of pure Para-satisfaction, making it feel like the first time all over again.

Sneak a bit of Iron Man’s downward bender of a riff into the mid-section and you’ve not just got a top Sabbath tribute and a ‘ween classic for the rest of time.

You’ve got one of the best metal cover versions EVER.

*recorded in 1994, it’s 20 years cold!!!! Dig it out from post-94 issues of Origin of the Feces.

**for a few more soundtracks from the dark side, have a quick look at last year’s Halloween list


Aaah yes… Halloween, the most metal of yearly celebrations. What makes the playlist? Sabbath, Maiden, Misfits, Cradle of Filth?

I’ve got two favourites for All Hallows’ Eve but two ain’t exactly a playlist so let’s pad it out a bit first with a few other choice, possibly bloody, cuts. In no particular order:

APHEX TWIN – Come to Daddy. Even without the video of Aphex-faced hoodie thug manchilds, tower-block terror and TV-horrorthing screaming G-force hell in a pensioner’s face, this nail-hard track never sounds less than wholly possessed. Demonic electronica, anyone?

SUNN O))) – My Wall. Yeah, the creep kings of low frequency unsettle the vibe magnificently with this 25-minute oozer. You could pick from a tonne of SunnO))) tracks but My Wall has Julian Cope’s ritualistic spoken word giving it that extra resonance.

EXTREME – More Than Words. A shocker on every level.

SCOTT WALKER – anything from The Drift.

MELVINS – Goggles. A slo-mo dead-body DRAG of noise, screams and distortion straight out of a serial killer’s basement. Find it on Stag. Goggles is mixed by Alex Newport so that’s some extra heaviosity credentials right there.

NINE INCH NAILS – Screaming Slave. A nauseating deconstruction … could it be the S&M mutilation screams and violent industrial production? Yep, reckon so. Total assault. Never EVER fall asleep to this, you’ll awake to a wide-eyed nightmare. Get it from the Fixed EP of Broken reworkings.

OK, top 2 time. In reverse order:

FANTOMAS – The Omen (Ave Satani). In a word, diabolical. Patton, Osborne, Lombardo and Dunn hit new peaks in mania with this dementedly OTT version of Jerrry Goldsmith’s classic score. Utterly inspired, check the Director’s Cut for more killer themes.

And finally …

TYPE O NEGATIVE – Suspended in Dusk. Type O Negative are made for the year’s twilight and this track – all 8 and a half minutes of it – shows the Brooklyn crew at their slow, suspenseful, vampiric best. A dark highlight of the entire Type O back catalogue, Dusk was hidden away as a ‘previously too embarrassed to release’ bonus on Christian Woman. Funny bastards. RIP Pete Steele.