A Pale Horse Named Death - Lay My Soul To Waste
Hard Rock
11 songs (50:25)
Release year: 2013
Reviewed by Koeppe

Since I was sixteen, October has been the month to play Type O Negative; Bloody Kisses and October Rust were and are classics in my mind. Following Pete’s death, exactly three and a half years ago the day of this review being published, former members of Type O found their way into new bands replicating their old sound albeit without Steele’s characteristic bass-baritone vocal tone. A Pale Horse Named Death is one of those two bands, Seventh Void the other. A Pale Horse Named Death is centered around Sal Abruscato, founding member of Type O but who left after Bloody Kisses to join Life of Agony, as he does vocals and plays the drums and guitar. Johnny Kelly, Abruscato’s replacement in Type O, fills in for drums for A Pale Horse Named Death on tour when he isn’t with Danzig.

After that kind of background story, the question inevitably becomes ‘will fans of Type O enjoy this?’ And I think the answer is possibly affirmative. Seventh Void distinctly sounds more like Type O given Kenny Hickey doing vocals for both bands, but the style of that band is heavier than their past band ever was. A Pale Horse Named Death captures the original gothic vibe and sound of Type O and places it within a hard rock/metal vein comparable to old Alice in Chains as opposed to the doom metal of Seventh Void.

The album opens with an annoying swirling intro that doesn’t fit the sound of the actual tracks, seeming oddly reminiscent of Queen’s One Vision. The bass opening of Shallow Grave can’t help but be a shout-out to Pete with that low tone. It and the track following it, Needle in You serve up grunge rock tunes at a midtempo pace. In the Sleeping Death slows that down, showcasing the band’s doom-y sound, which ultimately comes off bland here, but is vastly improved in the second half of the album with Growing Old, Dead of Winter, and Cold Dark Mourning. Growing Old begins with a keyboard dirge a la an organ that laments the passing of time and its effects, couched in fleeting, somber but thick guitar riffs. Dead of Winter utilizes an acoustic guitar, piano and the bass drum to great effect, reminiscent of Ancient VVisdom’s album from earlier this year that I reviewed.

Not being able to rely solely on its laurels of producing catchy doom tracks, the album’s flip side is some groovy, guitar-driven hard rock tracks that remind me most of John Christ’s Flesh Caffeine, which is a greatly underrated album I might say. The quality of this album will ultimately depend on whether you like what A Pale Horse Named Death is doing here. Devil Came with a Smile somewhat rubs me the wrong way, sounding a lot like that old awful band Saliva, but the riff is so contagious that I stick with it. Shallow Grave stands out as the best rockin’ track on the album, but DMSLT (surely another Type O reference?) comes second. The chorus is pretty awesome in its depressive, mopey way. If you like catchy metal tunes then you should dig this album.

This album improves on their last effort as a whole, but may only garner attention in how it caters to what their past fans want. If you miss Type O producing albums then this album is for you. It doesn’t make up for the loss of Pete, but it is an excellent tribute. A Pale Horse Named Death is most successful when they’re carrying on in the tradition of junk-fueled blood and romance that was the hallmark of Type O.

Killing Songs :
Shallow Grave, Dead of Winter, DMSLT
Koeppe quoted 67 / 100
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