was Type O Negative
's major step forward, maintaining the long, repetitive song structures of albums past, but adding more atmospheric synths and left-field Beatlesque
pop melodies. The quantum leap in songwriting is what really drives the album, but it also coincides with a newfound sense of subtlety. Aside from a couple of smart-aleck rants, Peter Steele
's dark, melodramatic songs address heartbreak and loneliness in what sounds at first like deadly serious overkill. But not far beneath the surface, he's also satirizing his own emotional excesses, and those of goth rock in general. Steele
's lyrics gleefully wallow in goth clichés -- sex, death, Christianity, vampires, more sex, and death -- and he even sings most of the album in an intentionally vampiric croon straight from the depths of an ancient crypt. Among other things, that delivery lends hilarious irony to a glum cover of Seals & Crofts
' soft rock hit "Summer Breeze"; it's also perfect for the deadpan mockery of the goth-girl character sketch "Black No. 1." Hardly any of the songs need to be as long as they are, but that ridiculous excess is all part of Type O Negative
's sly, twistedly affectionate send-up of goth rock conventions. Though it sounds like a funeral, Bloody Kisses
' airy melodicism and '90s-style irony actually breathed new life into the flagging goth metal genre, and the album is an often overlooked forerunner to alternative metal's limited appropriation of goth style.