Halloween. Sometimes I love it and genuinely celebrate it, other times I just hide inside and do nothing, then regret it a few days later. Feeling slightly in the mood this year, I thought I would share my favourite records for Halloween. Now, in doing a list article, you obviously open yourself up to the entire world commenting on how you have picked the wrong records, and what you should have picked instead… But fuck all that. These are the records that always spring to mind for me when it is Halloween. They are not in a particular order. Post your opinions if you like, but I'm pretty comfortable with my choices…
01. AFI ‘All Hallow's EP’
As mentioned earlier, this is my ultimate in Halloween listening. From artwork, to music, to lyrics, to interludes, to that cover song, and on to the theatrical feel of the whole thing; this is near perfect modern punk rock in my eyes, and is especially perfect for Halloween. Fast. Melodic. Heavy. Theatrical. Catchy as hell. This was arguably AFI at their finest hour.
02. Pig Destroyer ‘Terrifyer’
I have to be honest, this is where I got into Pig Destroyer. I had heard of them before, but I slept on ‘Prowler In The Yard’. But this album, this was special. And it is brutal. Building on it's predecessor, which many regard as the quintessential grindcore record, I feel this refines everything; better riffs, better drumming, better production. Although not particularly Halloween themed, I liken it very much to horror films. Everything about this is meant to shock and play on your mind. Band name, album name, artwork, musicianship, lyrical content. Just like a scary horror film. And it does. But this album (as well as all grindcore albums) also share other qualities with horror films. First of all, like slasher films, I can't take grindcore entirely seriously. I love it, but it also makes me laugh at how ridiculous it can be. Secondly, and more importantly, it makes me giddy. I'm the kind of guy that laughs at the most brutal of murders in horror films. It entertains me to no end. And grindcore, in particular ‘Terrifyer’, does the same thing; it makes me grin wide and laugh maniacally with joy. Can't get much more creepy than that!
03. Bathory ‘Bathory’
I am not well versed in Black Metal. And I'm not a huge fan of the genre; but I can't ignore it, it is a genre that intrigues me greatly. This is seemingly ironic for someone who loves buying vinyl. Black Metal fans love their wax, and the true, original version of this album is one of the most important, and expensive, records you can buy; it regularly goes for $1000 or more on Discogs or Ebay. It is regarded by many as the first Black Metal album, and sets the benchmark for everything that followed. It wasn't the first Black Metal record that I heard, but it was the first one that I genuinely liked. It has just as much in common with thrash metal as anything associated with burning churches; speed, driving rhythms and crazy guitar solos. But with that artwork, the dirty sound, and with song titles like ‘Reaper’, ‘Necromancy’, ‘In Conspiracy With Satan’ and ‘Raise The Dead’, how can it not be on your Halloween playlist?!
04. Electric Wizard ‘Dopethrone’
Again, this may be stereotypical, but ‘Dopethrone’ is what got me into doom. This album is extremely slow, extremely low, extremely heavy, extremely fuzzy, and extremely psychedelic; you can almost feel the drug residue on the strings as they play. Thematically, the album covers drugs, post apocalyptic worlds, witchcraft, sorcery, and violence, all the while taking influence from satanism, HP Lovecraft, and Conan The Barbarian. Like all doom records, you need to be in the mood for this album, but it can be greatly rewarding. Grow a beard. Pull up your hood. Smoke a bong. Pretend you're a wizard, then sit back and be transported to an extremely dark and weird place…
05. Zombie Apocalypse / Send More Paramedics ‘Tales Told By Dead Men’
I wanted to include Send More Paramedics and their album ‘The Hallowed And The Heathen’. But I also wanted to include Shai Hulud's ‘That Within Blood Ill-Tempered’ on this list. And because I had decided on only 5 records, I thought this would be the best compromise. Zombiecore. Is it even a thing?! Maybe not, but here is a split album inspired by thrash metal, hardcore punk and zombies. Zombie Apocalypse, a band comprised of members from Shai Hulud, Shallow Water Grave, and The Risk Taken, provide an extremely fast pace for their half of the record. Brutal and breakneck hardcore, until the creepy ender that is ‘Tale Told By A Dead Man’ with it's jazzy undertones. Send More Paramedics continue with their central themes of being a zombie and consuming flesh. It's not their finest moment, but ‘Zombie Vs Shark’ and ‘Nothing Tastes Like This’ are still absolutely killer tracks.
Send More Paramedics ‘The Hallowed & The Heathen’
Shai Hulud ‘That Within Blood Ill-Tempered’
Danzig ‘Danzig’ (1)
Various Artists ‘The Devil's Rejects Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’