Ah, yes. It's that time of year again. Most of the globe is well into the throes of fall; if you can dream it, you can get it pumpkin-spiced; and Los Angeles is in a triple-digit heatwave. As Halloween looms nearer, and the existential crisis of being well beyond your trick-or-treating years weighs heavy, it's time for us metalheads to revel in the sinister themes which permeate much of our beloved genre's culture.
Whether lyrically, compositionally, or both, these 10 cuts are sure to chill a bone or 206. Throw them into your Halloween party playlist, or, for some serious kvlt cred, enjoy them alone. In the dark. Surrounded by, you know, Satans and ghouls or whatever. This list was a collaboration between Metal Injection contributors Dillion Collins and Maxwell McAllister. Let's begin:
Black Sabbath – "Black Sabbath"
It wouldn't be a proper toast to the devil without the godfathers of heavy metal now, would it? No, the icons that started it all deserve a tip of the hat when the weather turns chill and nights grow long. Sabbath's delectable brand of doom soaked riffs and chilling atmosphere require little in the way of introduction or explanation.
The title track from their earth-shattering 1970 debut is a no-brainer for this list. It's damn creepy, bone-chillingly ominous and should be a staple of any true metal fan's catalogue. –DC
CARPATHIAN FOREST – "COLD MURDEROUS MUSIC"
The closing track from 2003's Defending the Throne of Evil, "Cold Murderous Music" is everything you'd expect of a tune with high creep factor. The song's marked by a moody lilt throughout, punctuated by the unconventional addition of a tenor saxophone, which really amps up its ability to unnerve. -MM
Type O Negative – "Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)"
An obvious addition, but ever so appropriate. Is there a song that signals in the Halloween season more than this f***ing classic from Type O Negative? Witches, Nosferatu, it's all here!
Hauntingly gothic yet impossibly addictive, "Black No 1. (Little Miss Scare-All)" is an anthem of the night and a prerequisite of the darker side of heavy metal.
Rest in Peace Peter Steele, you glorious bastard! –DC
DIMMU BORGIR – "REPTILE"
Spiritual Black Dimensions was the first album to feature now former Dimmu Borgir keyboardist, Mustis. Putting it all up front right in the opening track, Mustis's keyboards in "Reptile" are as mesmerizing as they are haunting. Just listen to that descending line in the chorus. Scary af. -MM
King Diamond – "Welcome Home"
Deep consideration went into whether or not to use King Diamond's "Halloween" on this list, but that seemed like a copout of shameful proportions.
You could throw a dart and pick your poison when it comes to just about any track throughout King Diamond and Mercyful Fate's lengthy discography that check off all the boxes this time of year, but there's something about the foreboding all-time classic "Welcome Home" that just does the trick.
The entire Them record is a masterful concept album on the King's part, with its equally impressive sequel Conspiracy nearing its predecessors greatness. So dive into Them this Halloween – you may never look at Granny the same way again. –DC
More picks on the next page…