13 Albums That Are Perfect for Halloween

Posted by Billy Gil, October 20, 2014 07:30am | Post a Comment

It’s hard to believe Halloween is just around the corner. Luckily, there are plenty of great new albums and classics for your Halloween party or just to carry you into scaresville.


Krzysztof Penderecki and Jonny Greenwood - Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima / Polymorphia / Popcorn Superhet Receiver / 48 Responses to Polymorphia

You might not recognize his name, but Krzysztof Penderecki has soundtracked many a nightmare. The Polish, avant-garde composer was wildly inventive (and controversial) when his compositions first gained notoriety in the late ’50s, and thus his jarring compositions, featuring such innovative techniques as clustering tones, and such foreboding titles as “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima,” came to be used by wildly inventive and controversial film directors, from William Friedkin’s The Exorcist to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and David Lynch’s Wild at Heart and Inland Empire. Meanwhile, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood writes response pieces to both “Therenody” and “Polymorphia,” and his moody, solemn orchestral pieces serve as a terrific foil to Penderecki’s terror-inducing works.

See also: John Carpenter's Halloween Score, The Exorcist [OST], featuring Mike Oldfield’s iconic “Tubular Bells.”


The Ghostbusters Stay Puft Super Deluxe Edition (Out Oct. 21)

This novelty 12” features the original Ray Parker Jr. version of the immortal Ghostbusters theme song, plus the Run D.M.C. version, with a 3-D lenticular image of the movie, a six-inch Stay Puft figurine and a set of three Marshmallow Man facial transparencies. It’ll also be packaged in a puffy jacket that feels like a marshmallow, and get this—the LP is marshmallow-scented. How? You’re probably better of not knowing, but still, very cool stuff.

See also: Michael Jackson’s Thriller, ’cause duh.


Pharmakon Bestial Burden

Just released last week, the latest album by Margaret Chardiet is so scary that it makes Saw look like Frozen. (Actually, that song from Frozen kind of scares me.) Chardiet shrieks, moans and pants through tracks that evoke body horror with chiseling synthesizers and beats that pulsate like an undersea mammoth. Despite my very vivid description, you shouldn’t be afraid to listen to Bestial Burden, which is really gripping, regardless of its inherent scariness. Fun tip: It’s also perfect to accompany some turned-down movie and set the stage for your beloved to run into your arms in terror at your next Halloween party.

See also: No, all avant-garde female musicians shouldn’t be compared. But! I’ve got to fit these in somewhere, and as long as we ARE talking about alternative divas, check out the works of Nina Hagen and Yoko Ono, which are a bit more fun and campy than Pharmakon but still plenty scary.


Scott Walker & Sunn O))) Soused (Out Oct. 21)

When black metal/experimental band Sunn O))) team up with ’60s-pop-pinup-turned-avant-garde-musical-vampire Scott Walker, you know the results are gonna make you shit yourself a bit, both because of how awesome it is and how scary!

See also: The other works of both artists, like Scott Walker’s Drift and Sunn O)))’s Black One, both of which are incredible and totally messed up. Also, all of black metal, which has too many scary albums to possibly delve into in a silly list like this one.


GoblinSuspiria [OST]

One of the most beautiful horror films ever also has one of the most beautiful soundtracks, full of medieval/prog instrumentation, oppressive synths and wordless growls.

See also: Most of Goblin’s work and/or other Dario Argento soundtracks. I’m particularly fond of Tenebre’s new-wave-flavored soundtrack.


Bauhaus1979-1983 Volume One

It was between Bauhaus, and Joy Division for the goth pick. I went with Bauhaus because of this song, their first single:

See also: Joy Division’s Closer, The Cure’s Pornography, Siouxsie & the BansheesThe Scream.


The CrampsSongs the Lord Taught Us

If we had our druthers, The Cramps would be our Halloween party house band, playing psychobilly updates on ’50s monster-rock like “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” and “Zombie Dance.” For when you want a down-and-dirty Halloween.

See also: All of Nick Cave’s work, especially with The Birthday Party, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack.


Black Sabbath Black Sabbath

Back to the metal thing: I’d say most metal tries to be scary, but I gotta hand it to the originators of the genre. Black Sabbath was derided at the time of its release (which was on Friday the 13th of 1970, by the way), but it has since become regarded as perhaps the first-ever heavy metal album. Paranoid’s a little bit better, but this one has that slowly unfurling, scary-ass title track.

See also: Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare, Metallica’s early albums, The BeatlesWhite Album (for "Revolution 9" and "Helter Skelter"), Mastodon’s Remission and, just for fun, Gwar’s Scumdogs of the Universe.


Nurse With WoundHomotopy to Marie

nurse with wound homotopy to marie lpSteven Stapleton’s work is all pretty fucked up. But Homotopy to Marie holds a special place as the experimental/industrial artist’s most terrifying work, full of unorthodox, clanging percussion, piercing distortion and bursts of sampled, disembodied voices. It also proves that silence can be scarier than noise, as you await the next evocative sound to unsettle you permanently.

See also: Coil’s Scatology, Xiu Xiu’s A Promise.



Two words: Frankie Teardrop.

See also: The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat, Silver ApplesSilver Apples, The Jesus & Mary Chain’s Psychocandy.


Throbbing GristleD.O.A. The Third & Final Report of Throbbing Gristle

20 Jazz Funk Greats would make them slightly more palatable, but Throbbing Gristle’s early work is unparalleled in digital alienation. Just listen to “Hamburger Lady,” the auditory representation of a burn victim’s miserable life being prolonged by the “wonders” of modern medicine:

See also: See also: Whitehouse’s Erector, Excepter’s KA, Wolf EyesBurned Mind, Crystal CastlesII, Nine Inch NailsPretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral.


Swans The Seer

Between 2012’s The Seer and this year’s To Be Kind, Michael Gira and his merry Swans are in the midst of a late-career renaissance. Plenty of their early work is essential, too, but The Seer sounds like the incantations of some forgotten cult conducting a ritual sacrifice. Wrenching and unforgettable.

See also: Tom Waits’ carnivalesque Mule Variations (seriously, “What’s He Building in There”??!), The ResidentsMeet the Residents.


The Haxan CloakExcavation

Bobby Krlic’s Excavation is a modern electronic/ambient work of art, expertly spelunking the pits of dread with cavernous beatwork and hair-raising effects.

See also: Aphex Twin’s Come to Daddy EP, Ben Frost’s By the Throat




Relevant Tags

Halloween (85), Halloween Albums (1), Krzysztof Penderecki (2), Jonny Greenwood (3), Ghostbusters (2), Pharmakon (9), Scott Walker (17), Sunn O))) (5), Goblin (8), Suspiria (7), Bauhaust (1), The Cramps (13), Black Sabbath (24), Nurse With Wound (1), Suicide (10), Throbbing Gristle (11), Swans (18), The Haxan Cloak (3)