Best known for Brooklyn gothic metal quartet Type O Negative, the 6’8″ Peter Steele was imposing not just as a physical presence but as a creative force, as well. Inspired in large part by the Beatles (Type O referred to themselves as the “Drab Four” as a play on the Beatles’ Fab Four), his songwriting was always full of infectious hooks and great subtlety, even if it all came with tongue firmly in cheek. Beyond his most celebrated band, Steele also showcased his talents in his pre-Type O outfit, Carnivore, purveyors of winkingly knuckle-dragging crossover thrash, as well as in his numerous guest appearances with famous friends including Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and Slipknot’s Joey Jordison. Below, we’ve collected five of his best works beyond Type O Negative.
Carnivore – “Male Supremacy”
Originally released in 1985, this Carnivore classic would hardly fly in 2020’s more sensitive times, but Steel’s pre-Type O band was anything but politically correct. Snarling and defiantly ignorant, what starts as a crossover beatdown segues into sultry gothic balladry that, at the time, foreshadowed great things to come.
Carnivore – “Legion of Doom”
Another cut off Carnivore’s 1985 self-titled debut, “Legion of Doom” is a motorcycle gang anthem bar none — and served as something of a mission statement for the neanderthal-thrash “casket crew.”
Iommi – “Just Say No Love”
Black Sabbath were among of Type O’s biggest heroes, so when Steele got the chance to join forces with the heavy-metal originals’ Tony Iommi on the guitarist’s star-studded 2000 solo album, he leaped at the chance. The result was just the sort of doomed romantic crusher that fans of both artists would have dreamed of.
Biohazard “Cross That Line”
NYC hip-hop-infused hardcore outfit Biohazard go way back with Steele, but it wasn’t until 2001’s Uncivilization that the two parties teamed up on record. The Type O singer utilized his deep croon to deliver the vocal hook on whispery/roaring standout cut “Cross That Line.”
Roadrunner United – “Enemy of the State”
Morose and majestic, the closing track off 2005’s Roadrunner United album capped the all-star LP perfectly. The song was written by Slipknot’s Joey Jordison, who was himself shocked and fascinated when Steele added his vocals — singing nonsense syllables in a made-up language of his own creation. Mad genius at its finest.