Alright, ghouls and boos! Halloween's here, and you know what that means – time to drown out the sounds of rustling candy wrappers and distant shrieks with some wicked tunes.
So, put on your best costumes, get out ya turntables, and let's dive deep into the crypt of spook-tacular albums – perfect for pumpkin carving season!
'Master of Reality' is where Black Sabbath, the unrivaled lords of doom, cranked their dark artistry up to eleven and birthed the blueprint for stoner rock. With titanic tracks like "Sweet Leaf" and "Children of the Grave," this album is a seismic slab of heavy riffs and shadowy atmospheres. Ozzy's haunting howls and Tony Iommi's drop-tuned guitar mastery didn’t just define a genre; they conjured a musical realm where every day is Halloween. So, light up the incense (or whatever else you fancy), and let the godfathers of metal take you on a trip to the dark side!
Goblin's soundtrack for 'Suspiria' is nothing short of a hypnotic, eerie masterpiece, intertwining with Dario Argento's surreal visuals to create a horror experience like no other. The chilling whispers, haunting synths, and relentless percussion in tracks like “Suspiria” and “Witch” didn’t just complement the film; they etched themselves into the very fabric of horror culture. It’s like the sonic equivalent of a witch’s brew, casting a spell of unease and intrigue perfect for setting a spine-tingling Halloween ambiance.
'Talking Heads: 77' marked the brilliant inception of Talking Heads’ quirky, avant-garde journey, with David Byrne leading the eclectic parade. Serving up the iconic “Psycho Killer”, which was rumoured to be about Son of Sam (this has been debunked!), this album was a New Wave manifesto, delivering a fresh, innovative sound that dared to be different. The quirky guitar riffs, off-kilter rhythms, and Byrne’s unique vocal stylings didn’t just talk—they screamed originality, making the album a staple for anyone looking to venture off the beaten track of rock. So, put on your oversized suit, and let’s groove to the beat of '77!
When it comes to eerie, spine-chilling tunes, John Carpenter's 'Halloween' soundtrack is in a league of its own – after all, he’s not called the Master of Horror for nothing. The iconic main theme, with its relentless, haunting piano melody, didn’t just set the standard for horror soundtracks; it became synonymous with fear itself. Crafted with a low budget and a lot of creativity, Carpenter’s DIY approach turned simple synthesizer lines into an anthem of terror. So, if you're looking to transform your living room into the eerie streets of Haddonfield, drop the needle on this classic and let the shivers begin!
'Excitable Boy' from the late, great Warren Zevon is the 70s rock 'n' roll gift that keeps on giving. Packed with biting wit and Zevon's unmistakable dark humor, the album gifted us with the immortal track "Werewolves of London," and saw collaboration with the likes of Jackson Browne and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham. A classic that skated on the wild side of rock, it cemented Zevon's legacy as the rogue poet of his generation.
Van Halen's eponymous debut was the sonic explosion that rocked the '70s, introducing the world to Eddie Van Halen's jaw-dropping guitar solos and David Lee Roth's iconic screeches. With monster tracks like "Runnin' with the Devil" and the seismic cover of "You Really Got Me," this album didn't just walk the rock landscape, it strutted. An essential for any air-guitar enthusiast.
Joy Division's 'Unknown Pleasures' is like the dark matter of the post-punk universe, a profound and brooding masterpiece that transformed the music scene with its raw emotion and minimalist sound. With tracks like "She’s Lost Control" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart," the album etched Ian Curtis' haunting vocals and the band's enigmatic aura into music history forever. Perfect for a moody, introspective Halloween, “Unknown Pleasures” is a sonic labyrinth of shadows and existential angst, inviting you to dance to the rhythm of the darker side.
'Back in Black' is AC/DC's triumphant roar from the ashes, a hard-rocking homage to their late frontman Bon Scott that shook the world and the Billboard charts. With head-bangers like "You Shook Me All Night Long" and the title track itself, the album is a relentless barrage of powerhouse riffs and howling vocals from new frontman Brian Johnson.
With 'The Number of the Beast', Iron Maiden didn’t just release an album; they unleashed a beast of epic proportions onto the heavy metal world. Featuring hits like “Run to the Hills” and the title track that have since become metal anthems, this album marked Bruce Dickinson’s debut as the band’s frontman, solidifying the classic Maiden sound. It was a satanic panic parent’s worst nightmare and a headbanger’s dream, creating waves that rippled throughout the '80s metal scene and beyond. So, if you’re ready to gallop through hell with some killer riffs, this is your one-way ticket!
'Shout at the Devil' saw Mötley Crüe not just embracing the debauchery of rock 'n' roll, but setting it on fire and shooting it out of a cannon. With anthems like "Looks That Kill" and the title track "Shout at the Devil," the album is a relentless ride of heavy riffs and hell-raising that solidified the Crüe’s place in the glam metal pantheon. It’s leather, it’s loud, and it’s unapologetically in-your-face; a perfect snapshot of '80s excess that made parents terrified and teenagers ecstatic.
Misfits' 'Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood' is like the sonic equivalent of a B-horror movie marathon – fast, ferocious, and devilishly fun. Tracks like “Earth A.D.” and “Die, Die My Darling” blast through with a punk ferocity and horror-themed theatrics that have inspired legions of leather-jacketed rebels. It's the kind of album that turns every day into Halloween, perfect for anyone looking to channel their inner punk ghoul.
'Disintegration' by The Cure is an ethereal journey through love, loss, and everything in between, painting the '80s music landscape in shades of moody and mesmerizing. With unforgettable tracks like "Lovesong" and "Pictures of You," the iconic bang created a masterpiece that resonates with anyone who’s ever felt their heartbreak in time with a drumbeat. It’s the musical equivalent of a foggy, moonlit night—mysterious, emotional, and just the right amount of spooky, making it the perfect soundtrack for a heartfelt haunt this Halloween.
Angelo Badalamenti's soundtrack for 'Twin Peaks' is like a sonic slice of cherry pie: delicious, mysterious, and a little bit otherworldly. With its haunting melodies and ethereal tones in tracks like the iconic theme song and “Laura Palmer’s Theme”, the soundtrack didn’t just set the mood for David Lynch’s quirky, eerie small town; it became a cultural phenomenon in its own right. It’s the perfect auditory backdrop for a Halloween that’s more mysterious than monstrous, more eerie than outright terrifying. So, put on a pot of damn fine coffee, and let Badalamenti’s dreamy soundscape transport you to the town where nothing is quite as it seems.
When Metallica’s black album hit the shelves in '91, it wasn't just a release—it was a revolution. With head-bangers like “Enter Sandman” and “The Unforgiven,” the band traded some of their thrash metal ferocity for slow-burning intensity, winning over the masses and scoring a GRAMMY in the process. Time for some serious head-banging!
Massive Attack's 'Mezzanine' is like a sonic potion, brewing trip-hop beats with layers of dark, atmospheric sounds to create a mesmerizing experience that has reverberated through the music world since its release. With haunting tracks like "Teardrop" and "Angel," it’s a genre-defining album that brought the brooding brilliance of trip-hop to the mainstream. Perfect for a Halloween shrouded in mystery and a hint of electronic elegance, this is the go-to album for a chilling, entrancing vibe.
'Operation: Doomsday' isn't just an album; it's an underground odyssey, a masked marvel from the enigmatic MF DOOM. This debut record brought the villain persona to hip-hop, with tracks like “Tick, Tick...” and “I Hear Voices Pt. 1” showcasing DOOM's intricate wordplay and off-kilter production. It's a twisted comic book come to life, made for any great villain!
Billie Eilish's 'WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?' is a pop odyssey that dances on the razor's edge between dream and nightmare, weaving its way into the very fabric of modern music. With tracks like "bad guy" and "when the party's over," Billie and her brother Finneas concocted a sonic landscape filled with haunting melodies and whispery vocals, earning them a trunkful of GRAMMY awards.
Phoebe Bridgers’ 'Punisher' is like a ghostly serenade, weaving tales of heartache and existential dread with melodies that haunt long after the last chord fades. With evocative tracks like “Kyoto” and “I Know the End,” the album has captivated listeners worldwide, earning GRAMMY nominations and solidifying Bridgers’ status as indie rock’s ethereal queen. What better time to listen to "Halloween" than on Halloween night itself, right? Come on now, it's time to put on your best skeleton onesie and listen to Phoebe!
Grab your Eggo waffles – it's time to take a nostalgic trip through the '80s, courtesy of Netflix's monster hit show 'Stranger Things'. As reflected in the massive resurgence of Kate Bush's "Running Up The Hill (A Deal With God)", the soundtrack encapsulates the essence of the show, from teenage angst to interdimensional monsters. This is perfect for anyone looking to turn their living room into the Upside Down (and wants to beat Vecna while they're at it!).
'All Souls' by Siouxsie and the Banshees is a darkly enchanting compilation that showcases the band’s timeless gothic allure, proving why they’re post-punk royalty. Featuring iconic tracks like "Spellbound", Siouxsie Sioux’s mesmerizing voice and the band’s innovative sound have left an indelible mark on the goth and alternative scenes. It's like the musical equivalent of a black velvet cloak—mysterious, captivating, and perfect for weaving through the shadows of Halloween night.
As the final echoes of our spooktacular sonic thrills and chills fade out, it's clear that Halloween is more than just costumes and candy – it’s a state of mind, a musical journey through the eerie, the haunting, and the downright groovy. From the raw energy of punk legends to the ethereal whispers of indie icons, these albums are your ticket to an unforgettable Halloween experience full of unexpected turns!
(Photo of Siouxsie Sioux by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)