“Look, I know the supernatural is something that isn’t supposed to happen, but it does happen.”
(Illustration is by my boy Stephen Gammell from “Oh Susannah.” Definitely my favorite story from More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark)
I hope everyone is having a successful (in whatever way that applies to you) Halloween. I myself have decided to use my free time in not being invited to any parties to provide boundless quality entertainment for your Halloween instead! And I’m not even complaining, this is what I love to do. Now I know most of you are going to be probably bumping some pop jams at your parties or even putting on some great ambient spooky soundtracks or the like. That’s all well and good, but I thought I’d chime in some of my favorite artists of the macabre to put you in the mood for celebrating all things creepy and unnerving. Here’s the top five artists that’ll most definitely put you in the Halloween mood this year. I mean, on top of how much I know you all already love it
5. William Control
William Control, former frontman of the now defunct horror-emo band Aiden (who you should also check out) is an ambitious guy. He’s written books, created films and concept albums all based around his special brand and love of gothic horror. He’s certainly got the vibe of a lounge singer for the damned as his deep voice croons across tales of tragic love and things (and people) that lurk in the shadows. If the thought industrial/electronic tinged 80’s synthpop-esque darkness excites you, definitely give this dude a listen. It may come across as a bit overwrought at first, but that’s what Halloween is all about isn’t it? And who doesn’t appreciate a bit of melodrama now and then?
4. Ice Nine Kills
The song I posted above is literally about the Exorcist. Also, you should just look at their albums covers. Ok, now is there any doubt that this band isn’t horror themed? I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Spencer Charnas, the singer of Ice Nine Kills, and we spoke at great length how their newest album is based on works of literature, including Carrie, The Exorcist, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. So yeah, I think they got it down. Metalcore/emo fans should definitely give these guys a spin this year. They’ve got the hooks, the screams, and the talent.
3. Nox Arcana
Ok so I know this technically falls into the “Ambient Soundtrack” category I mentioned earlier, but seriously, if there’s one group that you should put on if you’re looking for that type of music, it’s Nox Arcana. These guys go absolutely above and beyond at crafting music around a specific theme depending on the album. And they have A LOT of albums. Lovecraft? Covered it. Gothic horror? Covered it. Fantasy tales? Covered it. And the list goes on and on. Going past the typical soundtracks and soundscapes, these guys suck you into an honest to goodness story that will take you on a ride of melody and shadow. If you haven’t heard of them, prepare to have all your soundtrack bases covered from this Halloween onward.
2. Rob Zombie/White Zombie
Perhaps there is no name more synonymous with modern horror music and film than Rob Zombie. Literally anything you check out by him is tied to Zombie’s love of all things horror, and it’s been a part of his identity since way back in the 90’s when he formed the hard rock group White Zombie. What I’ve always loved about Zombie’s music is his use of samples from old films to add an unsettling and cool retro vibe to his music. Hard rock fans are already well acquainted with Zombie’s ventures, but if haven’t come across his work yet and you’re looking for something to sink your fangs into…come on guys, the word ZOMBIE is literally in his name. Consider that your biggest clue.
One of my absolute favorite artists of the moment, Ghost is a six piece band from Sweden that has a certain…shall we say affection for the Devil. But don’t let that deter you, it’s all in the name of performance and embracing the chaos in our lives to better understand it and take hold of it. If there’s one band above all others I could recommend to you, it would be this incredibly dynamic group. If you go in expecting one type of sound only from these guys, or are expecting them to be Black Metal heavy, you’d be dead wrong. With one of the best pop sensibilities around and some of the best rock hooks you’re likely to hear this year, there’s something for everyone to be found in Ghost. Not to mention it’ll get you grinning your best evil grin. If mischief is your name this Halloween, play this at your party.
And with that, I wish you all a Happy Halloween. Stay safe out there! Until next time.