Baby Bummers

type o, joseph cultice; bell, karen mason; custer, anne hamersky

TYPE O NEGATIVEWorld Coming Down (Roadrunner)

A new facet of goth culture on display at the Bauhaus reunion show at the Palladium was office goths: folks who had long ago traded in their black lipstick and powdery faces for an ordinary, not-so-dark life working somewhere in the lower rungs of the entertainment industry. They showed up in their dusted-off, now tighter-fitting black-lace getups and milled around among those who had somehow remained more true to the lifestyle, spending years in art school and remaining steadfast in their paleness. There were also newcomers, fresh out of Catholic school, who had yet to explore necrophilia or crystal-meth addiction. While the goth movement has flourished since its inception, there hasn’t been a whole lot of new music to listen to from this scene for some time.

So it‘s strange that the finest goth record you’ll hear this year comes from a group of longhaired metal dudes from Brooklyn called Type O Negative, whose witchy-poo vibe and look will please young, Catholic-school-enrolled nymphomaniacs and office goths alike. These guys prove themselves masters of the relatively new goth-metal genre, setting a mood that never degenerates into cheese despite their latest record, World Coming Down, consisting almost entirely of long, brooding songs about death and decay. The opening track, “White Slavery,” begins with an eerie church organ and then mastodon-size Black Sabbath riffs, while singer Peter Steele sings slowly and gloomily in his deep, Andrew Eldritch--like baritone. They also pull off a great, heavy, sledgehammer version of the Beatles‘ “Day Tripper.”

Laced with atmospheric keyboards, creepy, demonic background vocals and bombastic choruses a la Sisters of Mercy, whom the band most closely resembles, Type O Negative’s songs are the experiments of older metal dudes trying something a little different, and succeeding in a way that is sure to woo goth kids of the future who‘ve yet to write their first diaries full of bad poetry.

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