While Sal Abruscato may always be best known for being the original drummer for Type O Negative and Life Of Agony, he’s getting more of a name for himself as the mastermind behind A Pale Horse Named Death. While the group’s 2011 debut was largely collaboration between Sal and guitarist Matt Brown, Lay My Soul To Waste features a full band that includes drummer Johnny Kelly in an amusing fit of irony. Either way, this project successfully carries the dirty goth metal torch once held by the late Peter Steele.
As with their debut, A Pale Horse Named Death’s second release has a similar sound and set of influences as Seventh Void, the other Drab Four spinoff that seems to be more sporadically active in comparison. Type O Negative and Alice In Chains are the leading influences in the grunge doom style though one could also find similarities to Paradise Lost, Kill Devil Hill, and the doom album that Hank Williams III put out a couple years ago.
But while Seventh Void, spent more time on the grunge end of the spectrum, this band is as close to Peter Steele’s vision as you can get. The opening “Shallow Grave” perfectly channels the Bloody Kisses tone with its “Christian Woman” verses, “Black No. 1” drum beats, and a morose chorus that really sends the point home. Tracks like “Growing Old” and “Day Of The Storm” also do a good job of showing off the keyboard-driven slower side last expressed on October Rust and World Coming Down.
Fortunately, there are songs on here that branch into the styles beyond the goth tag. “Dead Of Winter” is a neat acoustic number with a hammering rhythm that plays out like a downer version of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” There are also a few spurts of harsher vocals on the lyrically cheesy “Devil Came With A Smile” and the bridge of “DMSLT.”
When it comes down to it, Lay My Soul to Waste is a great album that makes for an especially entertaining listen for Type O Negative diehards. While no group could ever match their broad influences and lyrical wit, A Pale Horse Named Death still offers good writing and enough diversity to keep things interesting. In the meantime, we’ll just have to see if another Seventh Void effort will ever see the light of day…
“Killer By Night”
“Dead Of Winter”
“Day Of The Storm”