It’s the month of October, which means that Halloween is coming up fast! So, why not do a post about songs to get you into the spooky season? To count as a spooky song, it either has to create a dark mood, the song theme has to relate to Halloween, or it has to sound really heavy.
There are many directions I could’ve gone with this topic. I could’ve listed either 10 Iron Maiden songs, 10 Black Sabbath songs, or 10 Helloween songs. I ultimately decided to stick with albums that I have in my collection to make things a lot easier for me. There are billions of hard rock/heavy metal/thrash metal songs that fit the Halloween season perfectly, so obviously, this post will only cover a small fraction of them. I also decided to include only one song per band/artist to have variety on my list. With all that said, let’s get on with the music!
10. “Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz)” by Saxon, from Thunderbolt (2018)
According to Saxon’s frontman Biff Byford, “Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz)” was inspired by F.W. Murnau’s silent horror film titled Nosferatu (1922) and Bram Stoker’s novel titled “Dracula” (1897), which the film was based on. “Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz)” has a dark and moody vibe that would fit in nicely with ‘The Haunted Mansion’ ride at Disney World, especially during the ballroom scene.
I wasn’t crazy about “Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz)” when I first heard it a couple of years ago. Plus, it was featured three times on the special tour edition of Thunderbolt, which is the version that I have on CD. So, that annoyed me even further. However, I grew to appreciate the track overtime, either that or I was brainwashed to like it. Who knows!
9. “Halloween” by Helloween, from Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part 1 (1987)
Not to go off topic, but I swear, Michael Kiske sounds a lot like Bruce Dickinson, and that’s not a bad thing! “Halloween” is a chaotic, 13 minute epic that’ll take more than one listen to appreciate everything within it. Even reading the lyrics is enough to get you into the spooky spirit! The lyrics reference Charlie Brown, masquerade balls, trick or treating, the big pumpkin, and escaping the power of the unknown.
8. “Hallowed Be Thy Name” by Iron Maiden, from The Number of the Beast (1982)
The title track from The Number of the Beast would’ve been a good option for this post too, but I like “Hallowed Be Thy Name” better. So, we’re going with that! According to Ultimate Classic Rock, the song is about a prisoner that’s about to be executed. Even though his time on earth is almost done, he believes his soul is immortal and that it will carry on after his death, the article continues. The first time I heard “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” I felt like I was transported to medieval times because of the bell-like intro. It’s a classic Maiden track and it sounds even better live!
7. “One” by Metallica, from …And Justice for All (1988)
When I did My Top 10 Music Videos post back in September 2021, I included the music video for “One” at the bottom of the list, which is still good considering all the crazy music videos that exist in today’s society. “One” is an anti-war song about a World War I soldier who lost all of his limbs and jaw, and basically wishes for death to end his suffering. It’s a brutal concept for a song, but this stuff can happen to people who fight in war, unfortunately. The concept was inspired by the 1971 film titled, Johnny Got His Gun, which is why some scenes were included in the video. The lyrics are very disturbing and the video is equally more disturbing, which is why “One” is included on this list.
6. “Night Crawler” by Judas Priest, from Painkiller (1990)
I knew that I wanted to include a Judas Priest song on my list, but I didn’t know which one to choose. In fact, I almost didn’t include “Night Crawler,” but after looking over the lyrics these past few days, I decided that it counted as a spooky song! The Painkiller album had some intense stuff on there, partially due to Scott Travis’ double kick drum technique. The song is about a beast who thrives on flesh and blood.
5. “Darkness Remains” by Night Demon, from Darkness Remains (2017)
Throughout the month of August 2022, Sea of Tranquility did a daily series on YouTube titled “31 Must Hear Bands of the 21st Century.” One of the bands he covered was Night Demon. They are a heavy metal band from Ventura, California and their sound is reminiscent of stuff you’d hear from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement in the early 80s. Long story short, Sea of Tranquility got me into this band and here we are! As soon as Pete Pardo said “New Wave of British Heavy Metal,” I was sold.
First of all, I love the lyrics. They’re depressing, but they’re also relatable. “I was over yesterday / And I knew my life would change / But I feel so all alone / Trying to stop this on my own / The darkness remains.” There’s nothing over-the-top, fast-paced, or chaotic about the song. Just imagine walking through a forest alone and “Darkness Remains” is playing in the background.
4. “Playing with Spiders/Skullkrusher” by Overkill, from The Years of Decay (1989)
Other than liking Metallica, I never considered myself a fan of thrash metal. But, this past week has been really rough for me and all of a sudden, I was like, “listening to thrash metal would be a good way to let my anger out!” So, I decided to give the thrash metal band Overkill another shot! I checked out their song “Goddamn Trouble” a year ago and I hated it. This time, however, I looked up more songs and found a few that I liked, including the doomy “Playing with Spiders/Skullkrusher.” For the most part, it’s a slow song with pounding drums, and Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s vocals are eerie, especially because he doesn’t have the smoothest voice in the world.
3. “Midnight Phantom” by Lucifer, from Lucifer III (2020)
Sea of Tranquility also turned me onto Lucifer through the same daily series I mentioned before. At the time, I was looking for some female rock artists to listen to because I wasn’t familiar with many of them and this band was just what I was looking for. A female-fronted heavy metal band that sounds like Black Sabbath? Yes, please! The band is also from Germany and they take their heavy metal/doom metal very seriously. The vocalist Johanna Sadonis has a unique and powerful voice.
The song “Midnight Phantom” has a dark and heavy guitar riff. It basically sounds like Black Sabbath with a female vocalist. Everything about the song screams spooky vibes: the song title, the lyrics, the guitar riff, and Sadonis’ singing, etc. Also, I got to give props to Lucifer’s drummer Nicke Andersson because I loved the fills he did throughout the song.
2. “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” by Black Sabbath, from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)
This list wouldn’t be complete without Black Sabbath and I didn’t expect “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” to be so high on the list, considering that I couldn’t stand Ozzy Osbourne’s vocals less than a year ago. Other Black Sabbath songs I had in mind for this post were “Letters from Earth” from Dehumanizer (1992) and “Disturbing the Priest” from Born Again (1983). But I went with “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” because when I first heard it in college, I thought it sounded so evil and I almost bought the album back then because of it. I bought the album years later, obviously, or else “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” wouldn’t have been qualified for this post.
1. “Boogie Man” by AC/DC, from Ballbreaker (1995)
“Boogie Man” was the first song that came to mind when putting together this post because hello, boogie man! The track has a swing feel to it, thanks to Phil Rudd’s simplistic drumming. Brian Johnson’s vocals also aren’t the smoothest and his deteriorating voice became incredibly noticeable during the Ballbreaker era. However, for this song, it works because Johnson is supposed to sound creepy. He’s a sex-crazed maniac that preys on women at night! Also, I know I’ve complained more than once that I couldn’t hear Cliff Williams’ bass playing in AC/DC songs, but in “Boogie Man,” you can really hear him, especially on the live version from No Bull (1996).
There you have it, people! Those are my 10 songs to get you into the spooky season. Will this become a yearly thing? Who knows! But, I’m including the year in the blog post title, just in case, haha. Shoutout to my friend from the Disney Ohana Club for suggesting this topic to me!
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