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A Pale Horse Named Death - And Hell Will Follow Me

Label: SPV
Format: CD
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: The Goat
Rating: 6/ 10


When I read who was in A Pale Horse Named Death, I immediately thought, "Hell yeah! Sal Abruscato! This’ll be AWESOME!" Long ago I got to meet Mr. Abruscato while he was with Type O Negative and hung out with him and the band (sans Pete Steele, he had female company). He was very down to earth and was as excited about meeting a fan as this fan was about meeting him - a brief but everlasting moment of coolness that has led to everlasting respect. Anyway, I was instantly hopeful by the prospects of this new release.

 

Alas, I am sad to say that A Pale Horse Named Death does not meet these expectations. Ultimately, what looks great on paper, falls short of delivering. What could be a darkened, gloomy slab of post-Type O goth metal given the pedigree quickly will disappoint. Imagine if an Alice In Chains tribute band decided to jam with a Type O Negative cover band. Too harsh? Unfortunately, it is a sad fact. However, all is not lost, there is a lot of promise here (if they can manage to get a follow up recording out).

This is most evident on the (almost cliche and, at times, aggravating) drug addiction songs, ‘Pill Head’ and ‘Heroin Train’. Sal’s vocal style is very reminiscent of Layne Staley, thankfully, he does not do this half bad and there are enough differences to distinguish him from other mimics. Yet, Alice In Chains tackled the topic of drug addiction more effectively and creatively. Another song which particularly bothered me was ‘Bath In My Blood (Schizophrenia In Me)’, which perpetuates the stigma of mental illness. Okay, so the theme of mental illness diagnoses is ripe for the picking in the “let’s write a heavy metal song” category but what APHND offers is an extremely uninformed and ignorant perspective of this diagnosis (just a point of reference, I work with individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses as my day job, I see the illness and their devastation first hand). The song is less offensive and more just unnecessary.

There are some bright spots that suggest that APHND could move on to greater things. When APHND get it right, they get it right and capture that vibe that appealed to the Type O fans. This is most apparent on ‘Cracks In The Walls’, ‘When Crows Descend Upon You’, and ‘Die Alone’. It gives me a glimmer of hope that we may hear something better on the horizon that doesn’t beat a dead horse too emphatically. But until then, you might want to look elsewhere if you’re hoping to hear Type O Redux.

 
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