Rest In Peace, Peter Steele

I read the news today, oh boy …

I logged on to Metalsucks this morning and was immediately hit with truly terrible news. Peter Steele, the wry-but-gloomy bassist and frontman for the wonderful Type O Negative, had died Wednesday of heart failure. Steele was 48.

Damn, what can I say? I first started listening to Type O Negative when they released “October Rust”; I found a copy of the album at a Target store, of all the unlikely places, and bought it on a whim. I was hooked from “Love You To Death” and played that album constantly for months. Then, I went back and picked up “Bloody Kisses” and “The Origin of the Feces.”

I’ve been a fan ever since. “Bloody Kisses,” “October Rust” and the searing “World Coming Down” were some of the most stylish metal albums I’ve ever heard. I don’t mean “stylish” as in fashionable, because Type O was anything but fashionable in a trendy way. But listening to those songs, it was obvious Steele and the band had sweated over ever last note, tone, feedback wail and sound effect. Nothing was left to chance, and it took repeated listens to take in everything the songs had to offer. “Life Is Killing Me” wasn’t immediately as mesmerizing for me, but the disc has grown on me over time.

I’ve seen Type O three times in concert over the years (it should have been four, but I missed the “World Coming Down” show in Cinci because of a wedding, damnit) and they were excellent every time. The band was on even when Steele himself was reeling from illness, like at the end of the “Dead Again” tour in Louisville, when Steele played part of the show sitting down.

The loss seems especially tragic, because the band itself had risen from the dead in 2007 and released the best album of its career. After getting booted from Roadrunner Records, it seemed TON was finished. Instead, they came back with “Dead Again,” their most innovative and intelligent album. Steele seemed to have found himself with “Dead Again;” Steele had confronted his years of substance abuse and apparently had found some solace in Christianity (not that his faith blunted his dry, acerbic sense of humor). “Dead Again” contained a fire the band hadn’t displayed in years – and the live shows on the tour were great. One of my big hopes for 2010 was a new disc of TON music.

Instead, we have this – the premature death of a man who had his demons, but had a musical genius that was undeniable. It’s a terrible loss.

The three times I saw TON live, Steele ended each show by telling the crowd: “Without you, we’re nothing.” I don’t know what the metal world will be without Steele, but it’s certainly less now.

Goodbye Peter. We’ll miss you.

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1 Comment

  1. I heard this also this morning and I have to say I was a little bummed most of the day.


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