Morbid Obsessions

Goth metallers Type O Negative come back to life with Dead Again

"Maybe we'll talk about the music next time," Type O Negative keyboardist/producer Josh Silver says with a sneer.

Silver's sarcasm may come from the collision between his Brooklyn-Jewish upbringing and his role in a provocative Goth-metal band. Silver willingly cops to an aesthetic born from angst, guilt, self-deprecation, aggression, mysticism and vaudeville—New York, and perhaps metal, in a nutshell.

Type O Negative have a new album—Dead Again, the quartet's seventh original studio release—and we've explored its motivations and intentions. Silver has been in bands since 1981—first in Fallout, with future Type O Negative cohort Peter Steele—and after 25-plus total years (18 in Type O), he might be tired of discussing where the midtempo howls get their inspiration and whether the band really mean what they put forth. And as a father of two, he's not ashamed to admit the very un-metal sentiment that he dislikes touring because it makes him miss his kids like hell. That ain't the usual Hell peppering metal's subject matter.

Apparently, not every metal musician can be consumed with conflict of the core-faith-shaking, politically incorrect, darkly-erotic kind. Luckily, Type O Negative have one of those musicians in front man Steele (also the bassist, alongside guitarist Kenny Hickey and drummer Johnny Kelly). Some have suggested Dead Again is a pointed statement following Steele's rediscovering his Catholic faith following family deaths, drug addiction and rehabilitations, but Silver says Type O Negative conceive around a loose concept at best.

"We don't set out to do a concept album," Silver says, "but if someone is ravaged with depression and a bunch of guys are at a point having realizations, shit happens, views change, and it becomes a more prominent part of the body of work.

"The original concept [of Dead Again] was naïve angst," continues Silver. "The lyrics are Peter thinking and feeling. I'm a devout atheist, so I won't say these are my beliefs. And can they marry into a scenario with an angry rock band? Now we'll find out. My guess is to a degree, but not happily with all core fans. But part of Type O is taking a chance and changing. I am proud to do music with someone who has opinions, as so many people don't have them. It's refreshing to piss people off, even if unintentionally.

Some might consider it odd to release a 14-minute suite mixing tones of Black Sabbath's sludgy dirges, Pink Floyd's soaring prog and Hendrix-via-the Cult's psychedelic strut, plus themes of abortion and the Apocalypse, all within the roguish baritone of Type O Negative's signature range. But Silver doesn't mind referencing Deep Purple alongside Bauhaus, the Beatles or Led Zeppelin beside Christian Death.

And from the crowds he's seen—16-year-olds to original fans bringing their 16-year-olds—Silver believes Dead Again is being received rightly, falling squarely between the approachability of mid-'90s Bloody Kisses/October Rust and the consistency of the much more crepuscular World Coming Down(1999).

"We're three Type A personalities and a Type B," reveals Silver. "And like any family that gets together, there are ways things that do and don't fit. Analyzing it too much hurts the music; you just gotta do what is instinctual. We grew up, did drugs and toured at the same time as figuring out how to make a band work. I'll be in this house till it collapses."

TYPE O NEGATIVE PERFORM WITH CELTIC FROST AND BRAND NEW SIN AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES, 1530 S. DISNEYLAND DR., ANAHEIM, (714) 778-BLUE; WWW.HOB.COM. SUN., 8:30 P.M. $25.

 
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