Type O Negative Saturday, Feb. 22, The Met
In the end, Type O Negative’s power was its undoing. During a sold-out show at The Met Saturday, the four-man Gothic rock band from Brooklyn seemed to forgo everything it learned about finesse while making its last two albums and instead relied on unremitting, untempered music muscle.
Only the music part got lost somewhere in the tumult.
Fronted by singer/bassist Peter Steele, this metal-rooted band walloped the crowd with thick, grinding guitar riffs and darkly pagan imagery. But with all subtlety abandoned, heavier songs like “Prelude to Agony” and “Kill All the White People” bled into something akin to a buzz saw.
Even usual crowd-pleasers like “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” seemed to mire the audience in a hammered daze.
And when Type O Negative plowed through Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl,” it did so with all the artfulness of a lawn mower.
“Mr. Neil Young himself said, of the 12 versions of ‘Cinnamon Girl’ he’s heard, this was one of the worst,” Steele quipped.
It’s too bad, really, because the band’s most recent releases, “Bloody Kisses” and “October Rust,” are executed with a craftiness that proves a twist of melody can make a good metal band great.
With songs like “Green Man,” “Red Water” and “Christian Woman,” the band members managed to expose their soft underbelly without betraying the scaly-hard exterior that metal fans love.
Steele’s sultry baritone often resembles the low rumble of a thunderhead. Josh Silver’s keyboarding is a sweetly somber addition.
But such gems were buried for the most part Saturday by overwrought din. Not that the music didn’t have its moments.
“Christian Woman” and “Love You to Death” were performed with some of the dulcet subtlety that makes the band’s CDs so creepy-cool to listen to.
And in all fairness, The Met seemed a bit small for Type O Negative’s sound. It felt as if the music would bust out of the building in much the way Steele’s gargantuan pecs and biceps would have busted out of a shirt - had he been wearing anything more than a tank top.
Saturday’s noisefest opened with the four-woman metal band Drain. Hailing from Sweden, the musicians powered their way through guitar-heavy songs like “Stench” with a swaggering masculinity.
Sister Machine Gun’s set was rife with stage problems. Frontman Chris Randall lost two strings on his guitar midsong. The strap holding up another guitar continually came undone, forcing him finally to give up playing. A flying leap off a riser found him breaking one of the floor boards that he later nearly tripped over.
Still, the band muddled through admirably with Randall endearing himself to the audience with quips like, “God, it’s hard to look cool when (stuff) like that happens.”
As for Type O Negative’s stage show, Steele seemed to live up to his last name in the worst sense of the word. Guitar slung from his shoulder by a chain, he performed with an icy detachment, moving no more than two steps from the microphone.
Lithe and slinky-sexy, Randall was eye candy comparatively as he cavorted and caroused through electronic-flecked industrial tunes.
As for the rest of Type O, only guitarist Kenny Hickey was free to romp. And he did.
But come on, I couldn’t help but expect a better stage show from a band that dwells on fleshy cultish imagery.
Sure, machines pelted out real snow during “To Late: Frozen.”
To that nifty effect I say: too little, too late. , DataTimes
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