VERSUS: Bloody Kisses vs. October Rust

VERSUS: Bloody Kisses vs. October Rust

Welcome to another edition of Versus. The series where we look at two albums in metal, compare them, and see which one was the better record.

In this edition of Versus, we are getting spooky this Halloween season with an internal battle from a band that beautifully married sludge, doom and gothic metal with Type O Negative. Formed after the breakup of the crossover thrash band Carnivore, the band was founded by vocalist/bassist Peter Steele, along with guitarist Kenny Hickey and drummer Sal Abruscato. Keyboardist Josh Silver would also join the band, cementing the band's lineup. The band would release their debut album Slow, Deep and Hard in 1991. They would release seven albums over the band's lifetime, before the band would break up after the tragic death of frontman Peter Steele in 2010. Leaving a legacy of gothic metal, dark humor, and their front man famously appearing on The Jerry Springer Show, along with posing in Playgirl. Type O Negative would leave a green-tinged legacy in heavy metal with two specific albums we will be looking at today. So, put on your most gothic outfit, light some candles and quit staring at that hot goth girl across the room and let's listen to these two records in a battle just in time for fall I'm calling "The Positive Amidst The Negative".

First up is the band's third album, 1993's Bloody Kisses. Cited by many critics as a classic in the goth metal genre, and by fans as the band's best record. The album features the band's trademark satirical humor, along with the band embracing its hybrid of goth and doom metal. With erotic imagery and lyrics, along with references to classic Hollywood, religion, racism and death, the album tackled many topics and themes, showcasing the band's range of subject matter and aiming to an audience more akin to the dark topics of society. Let's listen to this record and see if it lives up to the hype it deserves.

After the industrial and sensual intro track of "Machine Screw", we get the song "Christian Woman". With a gothic ambience in the opening, echo-like synths, and accented by Steele's vampire like vocal delivery before the riff kicks in. With a chugging verse section, and lyrics drenched in sensuality and eroticism, the song is Type O Negative as its core. The addition of choir vocals build dynamics and atmosphere to the band's doom and gloom sound. Steele's bass vocals are so low, contrasting so well with the vocal highs in the chorus and throughout the song. The acoustic guitar section at the halfway mark changes the song's feel to it, almost giving you a feeling of hope and relaxation, accompanied by Steele's serenading deep, calming vocals. Then accented by Sal Abruscato's drums entering into the piece. The song picks up the pace near the end with a sludge metal closing riff that sounds like something off a Down record, with piano organ over it, returns to that gothic aura the band made popular.

The next song, and the song most associated with the band is "Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)". With that simple opening riff, accented with church bells, and Steele's vampire-esque vocal delivery, the song is full on gothic in its sound, all the way down to the organ playing in the background behind the simple drums. Steele's opening scream as the song picks up still gives me goosebumps and just hits so good in a pair of speakers. A chugging, heavy sounding riff through the verse section, with wailing vocals and in the pocket drumming, the song is a slow burn headbanger of a track. With more aggression in the vocals into the chorus, the song has more edge in-between moments of slowed down tempo changes and gothic overtones. With more sorrowful, heart wrenching vocals at the halfway mark over harpsichord sounding piano just getting more and more aggressive. Leading to the crescendo of the song with Steele screaming at the end "Loving You is Like Fucking The Dead".

With the short interlude of "Fay Wray Come Out and Play", channeling the energy of the movie "King Kong" Wray was known for, comes the thrashy, uptempo fast-paced "Kill All The White People". Channeling the band's Carnivore origin, the song is heavy with distorted vocals, gang chorus, and d-beat drumming. Before turning into a sludgy, bass heavy closing section and return to the original opening riff. The band's cover of "Summer Breeze" by Seals and Crofts showcases the band's gift of taking a classic song, and making it their own with it's intensly slow-downed playing, dreary and ominous atmosphere and Steele's iconic vocals. "Set Me on Fire" gives off a nostalgic 70's sounding organ like opening by keyboardist Josh Silver, along with accenting guitars and drums that channel classic music from that era.

After another interlude with "Dark Side of The Womb", we have "We Hate Everyone". Another crossover sounding track with wailing gang vocal openings. With Steele's mix of deep vocals and screams, matched with intense double bass flurries, the song is meant to be played live and I can picture the crowd singing along with the band. The song hits a wall and slows to a crawl with industrial elements hitting the listener out of nowhere. Almost giving off a Rammstein-esque feel with the industrial elements and vocal performance during the section. With driving bass with accented synth hits, the pace picks up again before returning to the classic sing-along opening to close the song out. The album's title track, with its organ like intro, into a simple guitar riff, sets the stage for a super low and slow feeling song. Almost feeling akin to funeral doom metal throughout the song. Steele's voice is so low and deep, and with the slow playing, piano pieces throughout, it is doom at a dirgy, snails like pace, and it is done beautifully.

"Too Late: Frozen" opens with piercing feedback and a distorted bass opening section with thundering drums. The 70's nostalgia feeling returns, but with more aggression thanks to the drumming and chugging guitar and bass. The song's pacing is good, with each elements of 70's organ and vocals showcased as well as Steele and company's aggression. "Blood & Fire" opens with an almost classic 80's style heavy metal riff and drum build that would sound like something off any Def Leppard or Bon Jovi record. The track has a beautiful mixture of heavy metal, sludge metal, and gothic rock, almost like something from Christian Death. Almost a unique, alternative rock sounding song. The album's closer "Can't Lose You" returns to that slow, depressing sound, but with an addition of a sitar and 70's sounding production and effects. Creating a unique and adventurous sound, the song builds with atmospheric orchestra pieces and soaring guitars. Closing this gothic metal masterpiece to a beautiful and almost tranquil end.

It's opponent is 1996's follow up record October Rust. The album featured a shift in direction with less of the doom metal sound the band made popular on Bloody Kisses, and focuses more on dark, brooding ballads and less industrial elements that were prominent on the previous record. The record has been cited by keyboardist Josh Silver as their most sexual record with the subject matter and themes in certain songs. Steele also has said that he wasn't as angry on this record compared to previous records, and that can be heard in the music and lyrics. How does this record stack up?

After some opening audio humor of "Bad Ground", there is an untitled second track, featuring the band thanking the listener for buying the album. The album starts with "Love You To Death". With a soaring, atmospheric sound with piano echoing in the mix. Steele's reverbed bass-heavy vocals ring through before the pounding opening riff and wall of sound like production kicks in. Fuzz heavy bass pierces through the piano, and accent the chugging riff on the verse section. The ethereal vocals and ambience shows the ballad-like influence on the record and going for a more brooding and darker sound, but leaning towards the alternative and hard rock category.

"Be My Druidess" starts with fuzz-heavy bass before a groove heavy drum beat kicks in. The song continues the ballad, almost uplifting sound, almost going against the feel of the previous album. The groove of the bass throughout the verse section cuts in the mix well through the atmospheric pads of the synths. Steele's deep, ominous vocals ring loud at the halfway mark with an almost classic horror sounding orchestra and Theremin before the beat comes back in. The ending returns to the heavier, slow dirge from the previous record with Steele's bellowing deep vocals ringing in the speakers, along with his deeply distorted bass. "Green Man" starts with an intricate and peaceful acoustic guitar section with birds singing behind it, creating a peaceful and tranquil feeling as the song picks up. Vocals are higher in the performance and with a chuggy but more upbeat sound, the band is not as doom and gloom on this record, but still creates a weird, ominous feeling to their music, even in a ballad-style form. With "Red Water (Christmas Mourning)", the doomier sounding playing from the previous record comes back with ringing keys and ambient synths accompanying the slowed down tempo. With unsettling lyrics and vocal performance, the song definitely is one of the darkest on the albums in tone, sound and performance.

With a heavy, 80's and spooky intro comes "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend". A heavy and chugging opening riff, Steele's sensual lyrics sets a sensual, yet somewhat dark tone to the song. With a catchy synth melody over the cavernous production of the song, it creates a unique and dynamic track in its atmosphere and sound. A catchy chorus, drenched in Steele's famous bass tone into a wailing guitar solo transitions so well in the song.  I can hear the gothic metal influence on the song, especially in the breakdown of the song with the low driving bass, accented atmosphere and piano movements. "Die With Me" opens with a beautiful acoustic guitar section and lullaby/serenading style vocals. Juggling between the ballad and chugging heaviness over the seven minute run time. "Burnt Flowers Fallen" continue the band's mixing of ballad-heavy goth rock and heavy metal guitar riffing. While "In Praise of Bacchus", the song continues the doomy sound from the previous record, but still sticks with the gothic/alternative sound the band does on this album.

A popular song off the album is the band's cover of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl". The band is so good at transforming a song and making it their own. Almost making it sound like an original then a cover. After the short interlude "The Glorious Liberation of the People's Technocratic Republic of Vinnland by the Combined Forces of the United Territories of Europa", with its call to arms, war-tinged feel to it's sound comes the song "Wolf Moon (Including Zoanthropic Paranoia)". With its beautiful simple piano opening and accompanied strings section, the song is gothic and brooding with Steele's heavy-reverbed vocals. The building drums of new drummer Johnny Kelly ring out behind him as the song picks up. The bellowing vocals over the atmospheric, effects-heavy guitars creates such a gothic and foreboding atmosphere to the song, adding tension and longing to the already doom sounding track. The album's final song is the ten minute journey of "Haunted". With a piercing, 80's style horror movie atmosphere into beautiful, emotional piano sections, the song creates a feeling of sadness before a thundering riff drops, adding to the doom metal sound this closing track has. The album ends with the band thanking the listener for checking out the record and seeing them on tour as this album comes to a close.

After listening to both of these classics from the band, which one stands as the victor? In my opinion, Bloody Kisses wins this battle. Kisses IS the defining record of the band. The record you would play for someone to have them check out Type O Negative. It's songs are complex, brooding, ominous, satirical and dark in its humor and is overall a truly great record. October Rust is still a good record in the band's discography, maybe a solid number two behind Kisses. Although, I think the fan base might say that Rust was too alternative, maybe almost too grunge-like in it's sound and production compared to Kisses. Both records are still great and worth checking out, as well as the entire band's discography.

Do you agree with my decision? Who do you think should have won this battle? Cast your vote on the poll below, leave your comments on our social media on who won and why, and your suggestions who you think should step in the ring next. I’m Justin, your friendly neighborhood metalhead, for This Day in Metal and this has been Versus.

VS: Bloody Kisses vs. October Rust - Online Poll -
What’s your opinion? Vote now: Bloody Kisses, October Rust…

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