The last time I saw long-running Brooklynites Type O Negative was at New Jersey‘s Starland Ballroom last year. They were headlining a Jagermeister show with a bunch of crappy bands opening; by the time they went on I had wished I?d stayed in my car to listen to the Yankees game. I sat in a chair on the side of the venue, up in the back by the bar, and watched the evening unfold, and when Type O finally took the stage, it looked like bassist/vocalist Peter Steele was just about on his last legs as far as the band was concerned. An on stage exchange between he and guitarist/vocalist Kenny Hickey concluded like this:
Kenny: ??Yeah but you got all the money.?
Peter: ?I put it all up my nose. I?ve snorted a mansion.?
Everyone laughed, but as the show wore on and Steele snarled and yelled unintelligible syllables instead of lyrics, it was clear from the faces on Hickey, keyboardist Josh Silver and drummer Johnny Kelly that the antics had worn thin. Of course, people have been counting Type O Negative out for a decade and the ?00s have produced some of the best songs of their career, but it wouldn?t surprise me at all if that show winds up being the last time I ever see them.
Whether or not that?s the case, Hickey and Kelly have formed Seventh Void with guitarist Matt Brown and bassist Hank Hell, and their first album, Heaven is Gone (released through Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul‘s Big Vin Records), is doom by default. That is, I doubt any of the members would call it a doom record, let alone stoner, but with a strong influence from the likes of Black Sabbath and Trouble, there?s really no getting around it. Even ?Descent,? which sounds more like Dirt-era Alice in Chains than anything else (at least as regards the music) is a doom song. That?s just the way it goes.
The biggest relief about Heaven is Gone is how much it doesn?t sound like Type O Negative. Hickey has proven his songwriting ability over the last several Type O records and taken an ever-more present role vocally, and given the chance to shine in Seventh Void, he takes full advantage, throwing an Ozzy cadence into opener ?Closing In? and providing memorable choruses for the title track and other cuts throughout. His voice is gruff, like his vocal cords are in his stomach, and by centering the songs around his and Brown?s guitars, he?s basically removed any expectation for Seventh Void to sound like Type O Negative. It?s really the only way Heaven is Gone could avoid sucking and sounding like a watered-down version of World Coming Down.
Taken on its own merit — which hopefully it will be — Heaven is Gone is a strong metal release with an emphasis on timeless groove and a sans-bullshit approach that shows every bit of experience Hickey and Kelly have on their considerable r?sum?s. It can?t possibly be easy for them to think of starting a whole new career at this point in this band, but with catchy tunes and headbangability on their side, Seventh Void are off to an impressive start.
Tags: Big Vin, Brooklyn, Seventh Void