Rest in Peace, Peter Steele

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Friday, April 16, 2010

There are many different types of vocalists in the metal genre ranging from your falsetto King Diamonds to your soaring Messiah Marcolins and your grunting Lord Worms. Then, there are those handful of vocalists that, no matter what their vocal style is like, have voices so undeniably recognizable that it's something you identify with the band. 

Peter Steele was one of those voices. His vocals were immense, encompassing and haunting. One of the first metal shows I ever went to was a Type O Negative concert back when I was still too young to drive. When Steele stepped onto the stage, it was surreal. The man was tall enough as it was, but seeing him on the elevated stage with his bass slung over his shoulder and the chain guitar strap made him look like some exaggerated warrior. And not the type of "warriors" that Manowar tries to portray. Steele looked like he could crush the entire audience beneath his boots.

He slammed down a large bottle of Jagermeister onto a small, wooden table next to his microphone stand and introduced the band. The set of riffs and crushing sounds will forever live in my mind. I couldn't tell you all of the songs they played that night, but the entire feeling and aura of the show is still with me. Chains hung from the ceiling. An eerie glow of green and blue light lit the stage from the back, and smoke rolled off the stage as Type O and Steele trudged through their set-list in a crushing fashion. 

Everyone speaks of the dark humor that Type O portrays in interviews, their music and their live shows. It's true. They are funny fellows. But who knows if it's to make you laugh or simply to pull you out of the moment long enough so you don't become completely lost in the haunting and eerie feelings of the band's music. They'll bring you to the depths of depression and suicidal thoughts, only to bring you back with a humorous lyric or a comment about how "they suck."

Steele once said that you can measure your success in two ways. One is by how many people hate you and the other is if you've had sex with Madonna. I don't know if Steele ever got the chance to bed the bullet-bra wearing, buxom blonde and I'm not sure just how many people hated him and the band, but I know plenty of people appreciated him. Even those who weren't into Type O Negative or his other projects like Carnivore or Fallout still appreciated the man. His talent just cannot be denied.

I was lucky enough to experience the band and Steele's vocals in person and I'm certainly glad that I still have his music to appreciate for the rest of my own life. I never knew the man personally, but whenever a musician passes that I appreciate it affects me in a way that I'm not really sure how to describe. Not genuine sadness like that of a friend or family member passing, but a sort of sadness to know that someone of worth who contributed to art has moved on. That their will never be anything new from that mind. 

So, heres to you, Peter Steele. May you rest in peace.

Peter Steele 1962-2010

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