Balahaus – ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’:
The genre of Gothic Rock can be directly traced back to this 9 ½ minute post-punk epic. Taking its namesake from Hungarian horror-film star Bela Lugosi – the quintessential Count Dracula – this song encapsulates the atmosphere of an old-fashioned vampire tale. Despite all its gloom, ‘Bela Lugosi’ nonetheless has a hell of a groove to it, making it hard to resist getting up and shuffling around a bit (preferably while wearing entirely black and smoking a cigarette).
Arthur Brown – ‘Fire’:
“I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE”, proclaims Arthur Brown, before launching into one of the grooviest psychedelic nightmares to have ever graced the earth. The best part, however, might well be the video, which sees Brown don corpse paint and a flaming helmet and dance like a madman, cementing him as a trailblazer of both Shock Rock and Metal.
Cannibal Corpse – ‘Hammer Smashed Face’:
The musical equivalent of a B-grade horror movie, Cannibal Corpse’s sludgy brand of Death Metal is certainly not for everyone, but ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ is a wonderfully brutal tune with a killer bass break as a bonus. It is perhaps a blessing that the growled lyrics are largely indecipherable however, containing gems like “Draining the snot, I rip out the eyes, squeezing them in my hands nerves are incised.”
Billie Holiday – ‘Gloomy Sunday’:
Sung by perhaps the greatest and most tortured voice in Jazz, it isn’t the melancholic lyrics or Holiday’s harrowing delivery that has placed ‘Gloomy Sunday’ on this playlist. No, it is the infamous urban legend that countless people have committed suicide while listening to this song. Coincidence? Probably. But, that hasn’t stopped it from gaining the nickname ‘Hungarian Suicide Song’.
Sisters of Mercy – ‘This Corrosion’:
Pure, unadulterated 80s Goth-Rock in all its glory. ‘This Corrosion’ is objectively an incredible song that will have you longing for the days when fishnets, black leather and massive hair were an acceptable combination.
Black Sabbath – ‘Black Sabbath’:
From the album titled, you guessed it, Black Sabbath, this slow, doom-laded track is considered the definitive birth of Heavy-Metal. From Ozzy’s eerie vocals, to the iconic guitar riff, to the spectacular dénouement, ‘Black Sabbath’ is just as striking and fun as when it first spawned a genre.
Penderecki – ‘Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima’:
What self-respecting Halloween playlist would be complete without some ultra-avant-garde classical music? A truly harrowing composition, ‘Threnody’ artfully crafts Psycho-esque strings into sheer auditory terror. Perhaps not one for a Halloween party, but chilling enough to have made it into The Shining.
Mayhem – ‘Freezing Moon’:
Conceived in the desolate depths of Scandinavia, ‘Freezing Moon’ is old-school Norwegian Black Metal at its finest. The history of Mayhem reads like a bad horror movie in itself, involving church burnings, murder, suicide and perhaps the most poor-taste album cover in history.
Slipknot – ‘Purity’:
Nu-Metal legends Slipknot have built their careers on their aggressive, horror-inspired imagery and brutal music. ‘Purity’ is certainly no exception, telling a delightful tale about some poor girl getting buried alive. To crank the creepiness up to 11, I would highly recommend combining with its intro track ‘Frail Limb Nursery’.
Bobby Picket – ‘Monster Mash’:
Does this one really need an explanation?