How do you follow up a “classic” album? Back in 1996, if you’re Type O Negative you simply release another one!
1993’s Bloody Kisses had already turned the world on to Peter Steele and co’s uniquely sardonic goth metal but what followed would prove to be a milestone of 90’s metal, distinctly commercial yet no less unique in it’s delivery. Make no mistake, October Rust is Type O Negative’s magnum opus. A warm, full sound, lush and orchestral, with virtually all trace of their old aggression long gone, their romanticised – yet deeply morose – pop goth sound was instantly perfected.
“Bad Ground” and “Untitled” may have been ironic false starts but from the keyboard led balladry of the achingly beautiful “Love You To Death” to the extremely catchy and highly amusing “My Girlfriends Girlfriend”, slabs of doom collided with a pop sensibility that had been ‘tested’ before but never ‘tried’ with this much conviction. What was their secret? Atmosphere, acres of it. Enveloping the epic-balladry (and almost every track can be described in those terms) and appealing to hardened metallers, goths and doom fans alike; a surprising softness still ensnaring those with a penchant for heavy, heavy riffs.
It truly is testament to Type O’s sound on October Rust that they appealed so convincingly across the board. Admittedly, closer “Haunted” always felt like the ‘heaviest’ track – an indicator of what was to come on the depressive World Coming Down perhaps – but even that had an accessibility to it that the band would fail to replicate again.
As towering as Peter Steele himself, the music here remains sensual, addictive and steeped in melancholy; Steele’s Sabbath meets The Beatles mindset never bettered than on this milestone, released 20 years ago today.
We say crack open a couple of bottles of red wine, draw the curtains and soak up this magnificent, opulent opus one more time. It never fails to capture your full attention.