5 albums you need for your Halloween soundtrack – Score Short Reads
While we might not be trick-or-treating or bobbing for apples at Halloween parties (well, not all of us) this Halloween thanks to the pandemic, it doesn’t mean we can’t get into a spooky mood. With a little help from a few groundbreaking albums, Halloween 2021 can be quite the spookfest.
If you’re a lover of all things that go bump in the night, you’re gonna love these five albums. Make sure to dim the lights, pour yourself a glass of something red (wine or cranberry juice) and let the music take you to a place where the human meets the not-so-human.
English anarcho-punk band Rudimentary Peni took their love for H,P. Lovecraft rather seriously. Anyone who has read the New England master of the macabre knows that his writing takes you deep into the cavernous tangles of subconscious terror, unknown traumas and the ever-looming yet never-visible specter of untold horror.
The band dives hard into the Lovecraftian aesthetic with purposefully rambling lyrics, breathless, chaotic vocalization and relentless guitarwork that sometimes verges on the operatic. The words escape in Nick Blinko’s unforgettable arrogant snarl, paying tribute to that spine-chilling, soul-freezing Lovecraftian ethos,
“somnambulistic ramble around the room huddle in a corner,giant pink fleshly worm wolf’s head round the door, dark petalled sensitive plants scuttle over carpets”
Known for their quintessential strangeness, Rudimentary Peni completely surrenders to their own weirdness and wildness in this LP, going from unorthodox to questionable to downright uncanny. If you like your punk rockers raging about eternal damnation and perpetual desolation, this is the album to lend atmosphere to your Halloween hauntings.
Germann singer Kim Petras brings home the bass-heavy revelry of dancepop and industrial techno in her 2019 October extravaganza album. Populated by 17 tracks that simmer with the classic Halloween zeitgeist of scary-sexy (think Fright Night and Coppola’s Dracula).
With unputdownable wittism in lyrics like “You know I got designer taste/And your design’s too good to waste” (Close Your Eyes) and delicious yet terrible intentions of “I’ma put you to sleep, yeah/Make you my soul to keep, yeah/Ain’t no point tryna scream, yeah” (Death By Sex), Petrasis somehow invokes B-grade movie camp along into ominous worldbuilding.
Her music makes you want to dance without inhibition in a seedy nightclub within an abandoned warehouse, watched over by creatures of the night who will guide you to eternal temptation.
She tells multiple stories in her song. “Boo! Bitch!” is for dancing with a darkly handsome stranger (but beware, he might be a lycan) while “Wrong Turn” relates a tale of desire giving away to dread. Essentially, Petras offers the soundtrack to a mystery-and-shadow laden soiree in which you never know if the next person you talk to is of this world or the ones beyond.
An essential on Halloween music lists since it’s release, this album’s title track is a kooky, campy, brilliant parody of contemporary dance craze called the Mashed Potato. It features sound effects that were quite the novelty for it’s time – a coffin opening, a bubbling cauldron, rattling chains and Boris Karloff-esque vocalization.
The story itself is even more compelling – a mad scientist tells the tale of his monstrous invention who rises to gyrate to a dance routine inspired by the Mashed Potato. The other 15 tracks are just as hilarious – Monsters’ Holiday spreads Christmas cheer….by popular horror icons. Rabian – The Fiendage Idol features the artist auditioning horror all-stars Dracula, a werewolf and Van Helsing for their “new act”. Transylvania Twist and Skully Gully take on current dance trends, while Let’s Fly Away plays with Stan Freberg’s spoken word recording “John and Marsha”, a soap opera parody about a “romantic couple”. Only, in this case, it’s Dracula and Vampira doing the talking.
The brilliance of this album has only become more emphatic with time. It’s delightful good-natured satire has been a source of spooky joy for 58 years. It leads the way in making monsters friendly neighbourhood entities (who will kill you but they like dancing) that you wouldn’t mind rubbing shoulders with at a Halloween bash.
Walk Among Us by Misfits (1982)
Fancy a little sci-fi and punk rock? Misfits got you covered.
Gleeful and ghoulish, the album catered to 1982 America’s hunger for horror. Shuffled together from sections of an unreleased album (12 Hits from Hell), the album featured slugdy, gore-glomped hooks and ominous, hulking imagery summoning fears of the unknown.
I Turned Into a Martian quilts together black-and-white sci-fi tropes to narrate an alien invasion from the eyes of a possessed human. But the possession turns into an addictive glut of newfound power, rather than wilting victimization. Nike-A-Go-Go references not just the 50’s Nike missile project but also J. G. Ballard’s Crash and Stanley Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove.
On Vampira, a B-movie horror hostess with a cinched waist is elevated to pop-cult divinity. Hatebreeders laments the state of America’s youth, bombarded by the neuroses of the Cold War era, conditioned into unquestioning obedience to commands of violence and devastation.
Somewhere between celebrating the supernatural and commenting on throbbing social maladies, this album propelled the band into the public eye and ear. Causing listeners to shiver and ponder in equal measure, it showcases the best of the genre. Taut, riveting and topical, it’s an album that electrifies Halloween but stays relevant long beyond it.
British doom metal band Electric Wizard have always summoned images of Satanic rituals in a haze of weed smoke. In Witchcult Today, the band leans into their occult rock inclinations, musically and thematically.
Satanic Rites of Drugula references the Hammer Studios horror staple The Satanic Rites of Dracula, casing the unforgettable concept with a diabolical chorus and drudgy, delectable sludge riffs. Dunwich evokes the Lovecraftian essential The Dunwich Horror with bone-shattering guitar gravitas. Black Magic Rituals & Perversions (I. Frisson Des Vampires II. Zora) applies the band’s mammoth songwriting to the Jean Rollin film Le Frisson des Vampires (Shiver of the Vampires) as well as Italian horror-comedy film and comic book persona Zora the Vampire.
Furthermore, the album cover is snatched and edited from the poster of British occult film The Devil Rides Out, about as on-the-nose horror as it gets.
The album tackles quintessential Halloween tropes like joining a coven, bondage and Count Dracula feeding off drugged-up delinquents. Clothed in psychedelic smoothness, the band attaches a certain dreaminess to their classic heavy stoner-doom deliciousness, bringing Satan in your next basement circle (That 70’s Show style).