There are bedroom bands, and then there are bedroom bands, and then there’s Type O Negative. After a short stint as a ragtag hardcore act, the Brooklyn band — led by the towering, rumbling, Playgirl-posing Pete Steele — refined their style into a scintillating mix of goth metal, psychedelia, and doom that sounded like the blood rushing through your ears (among other places). Not only that, but Steele’s avowed love of and dedication to women as his superiors gave their albums a sense of worship, as though its makers had fallen to their knees in front of the goddess of feminine sexuality. As a result, their music became synonymous with sex in nothing but combat boots, and has been the soundtrack to many a metalhead’s never-though-this-could-happen-to-me stories.
Since today marks the 27th anniversary of the release of Bloody Kisses, the album on which Type O made this jump from crossover-thrash provocateurs to goth metal sex gods, we decided to round up 10 of their tracks which are guaranteed to have listeners fanning their face in no time. Enjoy, and always use protection.
“My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” (October Rust, 1996)
No contest, this was the first song to make it onto this list. With its slinky goth beat, bounding central riff, and lyrics about a threeway couple that’s as close as “sweaty velcro,” this track quickly became Type O’s official baby-making song. Though a bit of a cliche goth anthem to some, “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend”’s earworm qualities are without question. Join the meat triangle.
“Blood and Fire” (Bloody Kisses, 1993)
Few songs sum up every teenage goth’s fantasy like “Blood and Fire.” Not only does it feature blood and fire in the title, it also has a solid thrusting rhythm that pushes the blood to a boil. Plus, you’ve got Pete Steele breathily speaking in a French accent midway through, as though he’s at your ear whispering sweet nothings to you. Mercy.
“Pyretta Blaze” (World Coming Down, 1999)
What “Pyretta Blaze” lacks in the outright vinyl-clad sex appeal of “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend,” it makes up for in its humid, hip-swinging blue factor. This song about a woman of flame is as thick and sweaty as a summer’s night in New Orleans, and Pete Steele’s lyrics about being drawn to the title’s subject like a moth to a candle makes one feel like they’re ready to melt. Turn off the AC, let yourself burn.
“Love You to Death” (October Rust, 1996)
Few bands can open a song with a climax, but Type O are one of them. Combining total goth with unabashed eroticism, “Love You to Death” crashes into existence in a cloud of dreamy distortion and chilling piano. It also paints a picture of every goth’s perfect Saturday, all red wine and physical worship. They say music soothes the savage beast, but this time around it just puts a stiletto boot on their chest and makes them beg.
“(We Were) Electrocute” (Life Is Killing Me, 2003)
Despite what you might think listening to Type O Negative, not all sexuality has to be bound and begging. “(We Were) Electrocute” is a shimmering piece of Beatles worship on the Brooklynites’ part, complete with a clap-along rhythm. And yet there’s a sweet sexiness to it, a playful smile rather than a haughty smirk. Sometimes it’s okay to laugh during sex.
“Creepy Green Light” (World Coming Down, 1999)
“Creepy Green Light” is admittedly one of the few songs on here that isn’t about sex or women–in truth, it does appear to be about a creepy green light on Halloween. But the track’s slick, languid riffs and Pete’s verse melodies have a delicious, tangled-up-in-sheets vibe to them. And let’s not forget the drums — Johnny Kelly really provides the kind of hard slam that would inspire listeners to provide one right back. To quote Return of the Living Dead’s Trash, we like it spooky.
“Christian Woman” (Bloody Kisses, 1993)
“Forgive her, for she knows not what she does…” That paraphrase of Christ’s dying plea ushers in this blasphemously delicious piece of goth eroticism from 1993’s Bloody Kisses. Peter strikes a chord most people didn’t know they had in them with this one, using sacred religious imagery to make its sexy side all the more forbidden. It also creates a sex symbol out of Jesus, something few if any other band has tried. You’ve heard of a pearl necklace? Try a crown of thorns.
“Wolf Moon (Including Zoanthropic Paranoia)” (October Rust, 1996)
Is it about turning into a werewolf or going down on a woman during her period? It’s both, baby! “Wolf Moon” shows Steele combining both classic lycanthropic tropes with his own complete dedication to male subservience. The result is a song with a fog of eroticism about it that wakes up the occult animal inside. Throw back your head and howl.
“Black Sabbath (From the Satanic Perspective)” (October Rust, 1996)
Type O Negative had already covered Black Sabbath’s groundbreaking first song on the 1994 Nativity In Black compilation, but Peter Steele couldn’t stand to see that epic tale from just the supplican’t point of view. Instead, he rewrote the song from the perspective of the song’s infamous figure in black. The result is an eerie peering through Satan’s eyes, and makes the listener want to live deliciously over and over again.
“How Could She?” (Life Is Killing Me, 2003)
Yes, “How Could She?” opens with what most men think of as the least sexy thing in the world: women laughing, maybe at them. And yet the driving biker riff at the center of this song automatically grabs the listeners hips, and Steele’s steady droned lyrics feel like the thoughts flickering through one’s head as they approach climax. Maybe not for the boudoir so much as the hallway backstage at the show, but it still does the trick.
Words by Chris Krovatin