10/30/2016

COUNTDOWNS: Top 10 Songs to Play on Halloween

Halloween is well on its way! It's a time for trick or treating, dressing in goofy/scary costumes, going out for parties, and so on. For me, however, my time will probably be spent listening to some deathly tunes, and sharing them with you in the hopes that you'll enjoy them as much as I do, if not more! From chillingly atmospheric and eerie tracks to in-your-face bouts of brutality, here are fifteen songs that are more than fitting for the spookiest time of the year for your entertainment. Click on the images to listen to their corresponding songs!

With a name like Infant Annihilator, the last thing you’d should ever expect from this band is subtlety. Despite being almost twenty minutes long, "Behold the Kingdom of the Wretched Undying" manages to dish out a consistently exciting helping of wicked, brutal death metal, complete with Dickie Allen’s gruesome, inhuman vocals, blaring instrumental play, and energetic writing jumping between the (relatively) quiet and the loud. The song also features a sleuth of guest vocalists (Chris Whited of Lost Fortune, Bryan Long of Dealey Plaza, Dillon Becker of AnimalFarm, and Tyler Shelton of Traitors), helping to provide more dynamic and adding an extra layer of fun to the song as well; they almost give it this haunted-house-tour vibe, except instead of a haunted house, it’s an exhibit of some of the grisliest modern death metal out there.

“The Elysian Grandeval Galeriarch” was released on July 29, 2016 under no label.

I was debating whether to include either Gaza or their follow-up project Cult Leader on this list, since they have a near-identical sound and might as well be the same band. Ultimately, I decided to go for Gaza’s material, since their album “No Absolutes in Human Suffering” has a more eerie, downright terrifying feel to it compared to Cult Leader’s newest effort “Lightless Walk,” which comes off as a bit more angry and exhilarating. “Not with All the Hope in the World” is its best offering, bludgeoning listeners with roaring vocals and chaotic instrumentals. Even during the second half, in which the track transitions into a slower-paced march, is no less abrasive and downright apocalyptic. This song is one angry dose of nightmare fuel.

“No Absolutes in Human Suffering” was released on July 31, 2012 on Black Market Activities/Metal Blade Records.

Enterprise Earth's previous full-length "Patient Zero" currently holds the position as one of my favorite modern death metal albums ever released. Their newest single, however, definitely comes off as one of the band’s creepiest outings to date. The bone-crunching brutality and tight song-writing continue to thrive from the last studio record, but this song has a much more horror tinged to it than in most of the band’s other ones. Dan Watson’s monstrous vocals lamenting turning into some horrid monstrosity (“Deformed and destined to die…”) and the eerie-sounding, distorted guitar play in particular are what really sell the song as a brutal, haunting listening experience. The sound mixing could use a little more polishing, given that this likely isn't the final version, but it hardly matters; “This Hell, My Home” is nothing short of a haunting offering.

“This Hell, My Home” was released on July 15, 2016 on Stay Sick Recordings.

"When the Sun Drowns in the Ocean" wins the award for 'Creepiest Introduction for a Song I've Ever Heard in My Entire Life.' I kid you not, when I first heard that Irish funerary chant (Keening) setting the stage for the rest of the song, I had a hard time sleeping the following night (Probably because I listened to it right before I went to bed. Brilliant.). Of course, that isn't to say the rest of this eight-minute instrumental track is something to brush off either, being just as chilling and visceral as it began; darkly ambient noises and effects are layered with a rather simple but very effective beat between the guitars and drums, resulting a steadily-paced but staunchly atmospheric and genuinely haunting interlude that builds and builds. It's been a while since I last listened to "Mammal" in its entirety, but this track remains as frightening and engaging as ever.

“Mammal” was released on May 17, 2011 on Profound Lore Records.

Dimmu Borgir is one of the first symphonic metal bands I ever came across next to Nightwish and Shade Empire, and I still find a lot of their songs to be very entertaining to listen to. "Gateways" is among their numbers, but unlike the other entries on this compilation, it has a much more cinematic approach to the 'frightening-the-listeners' routine. The grand, chaotic orchestra and atmosphere make for a compelling listen, and Agnete KjĂžlsrud's wicked-witch-like style of singing make the track all the more creepily entertaining. "Gateways" is a perfect fix for those looking for haunting music delivered in such an epic fashion.

“Abrahadabra” was released on September 22, 2010 on Nuclear Blast Records.

This track is by far the oldest entry on this list, but even over a decade after release, it's aged very gracefully. Although I could never get into Behemoth as much as other fans, "Slaves Shall Serve" is definitely one of my favorites, amounting to a destructive specimen of raw, ritualistic metal. It makes its grand entrance with a Sumerian chant, sounding like it's being recited by demons, before exploding into an unrelenting whirlwind of death metal; complete with ferocious musicianship and a thick, resonant atmosphere, this song is quite the fearsome beast. It has an overwhelming sense of apocalyptic dread throughout, thanks to the instrumentation, production, and writing combined, thus making it a perfect addition to any metal fan's Halloween playlist.

"Demigod" was released on October 25, 2004 on Mystic Production.

A few years back, I listed doom metal group Evoken's latest full-length "Atra Mors" as one of the best albums to grace 2012; After re-visiting its title track, I was reminded why this was the case. It has a slow pace and goes for over ten minutes, but these aspects shouldn't scare listeners away; what is scary about this track, however, mostly stems from its creepy build-up throughout and ghastly, dreadful ambiance. Listening to it feels like standing in some foggy landscape on a cold, rainy day; it's a chilling listen from start to finish. For a little quick trivia, "Atra Mors" is a Latin phrase that translates as "black death" (My couple of years of Latin classes in middle school paid off!); a more than appropriate title for music so dark and despondent.

“Atra Mors” was released on July 31, 2012 on Profound Lore Records.

I listed Gnaw Their Tongues' "Abyss of Longing Throats" as one of my top albums of 2015, and that position more-or-less stands; its second track, "Through Flesh," remains one of its biggest highlights. Looking at this... charming cover artwork alone should give you a decent idea of what you're in for; bleak, visceral music meant to chill listeners down to their very core, and "Through Flesh" is a very remarkable example of that. On top of the one-man band's signature sound of creepy, atmospheric black metal mixed with distorted noises, some orchestral elements, mostly strings, also play a crucial role in delivering its frightening effect; the resulting track actually gives off an 80's-horror vibe that's very intriguing to listen to. Whatever the case, this song isn't exactly for the faint of heart.

“Abyss of Longing Throats” was released on August 7, 2015 on Crucial Blast Records.

Not too long ago as I'm typing this, I wrote a review for Yuth Forever's most recent full-length, praising it for its impressive writing, musicianship, ferocity, and so on. With that said, while the whole record has this eerie feel to it, "Inseparable" is definitely one of its most haunting offerings. From the tortured mid-pitch vocals to the heavily distorted guitar-play to the rather unsettling lyrics pretty much bordering on Stockholm Syndrome ("Because one plus one makes two, and I hate being alone; But at least, misery, I’ve got you"), this song is not exactly for the faint of heart. That isn't to say it's purely doom-and-gloom, however; the energy and groove that it boasts not only make for quite the creepy listen, but a very fun, gripping one as well. I highly recommend checking out the whole album, but for this occasion, "Inseparable" takes the spotlight.

“Skeleton Youth Forever” was released on June 3, 2016 on Prosthetic Records.


I've only gotten around to listening to experimental duo Anaal Nathrakh's music very recently, namely their newest material from their full-length album "The Whole of the Law." After listening to singles such as "Depravity Favours the Bold," however, I can definitely see how the band has gained such a large following over the last decade. The song's blend of black metal, grindcore, and even tinges of industrial/electronic noise render it as very loud and chaotic from start to finish, but nevertheless highly engaging and somewhat terrifying. The shrieking vocals mixed with rapid-fire instrumentals, static-like sound mixing, and pummeling electronic sound effects make for a track that's sure to pulverize your speakers into oblivion. It is not one to chock up to easy listening.

“The Whole of the Law” will be released on October 28, 2016 on Metal Blade Records.

And so ends the list for some of the best songs to blast on your speakers during this holiday... for now. There is absolutely no shortage of metal and hardcore songs that are easy candidates for such a compilation, but these ten in particular are among the most highly recommended. I know I'll be running through these songs tomorrow (while drawing things in architecture school), and hopefully at least one of them will stick to you if you haven't checked them out already. Whatever the case may be, have a safe and Happy Halloween, folks!