Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Not a Sunday, but the day after Halloween, and what better way to celebrate the spooky season than to list off ten of the best Halloween albums ever - by Halloween albums, I am of course referring to theme of total darkness that engulfs the whole album.

I'm not talking about the Cramps or Ramones doing novelty Halloween hits here. I'm talking about chilling melodies, chanted voices, pounding, throbbing industrial drumbeats - I'm talking about dark, dark music. Throbbing Gristle. Bauhaus. Eyehategod. Anything on Southern Lord. Very dark music. Music that makes you feel alienated and alone, and plunges your soul into a pit of total blackness. This is the music that makes me chew my nails down to the bone. In no order, of course.

This Heat's 1981 masterpiece Deceit is a contender for perhaps the darkest album ever. I have been listening to this record daily since last Sunday, and it is so gripping, so chilling, and so awe-inspiring that it truly makes your skin crawl on October 31st. Listen to "Cenotaph" while walking alone on a street at midnight on Halloween like I did last night, and feel the goosebumps grow to the size of cities...like I did last night.

Godspeed You Black Emperor!'s F#A#oo is yet another masterpiece in the field of black. Songs evoking the end of the world, man's tragic downfall, a sky of fire, apocalypse...the end is near my friends, and embrace it. Listen to the soft spoken voice at the beginning of "The Dead Flag Blues"...those words are cold, dude. Very cold. On vinyl, this album is even more spooky...watch as amidst vinyl crackles and pops, the record simply bleeds on forever into infinity.

To be truly dark on Halloween, you cannot do without the Satanic black metal. And what other Satanic black metal record is more Halloween appropriate than Darkthrone's A Blaze in the Northern Sky? Grab your corpse paint, don satanus, and embark on a journey to the inner circle of hell, filling your soul with evil.

Some of the darkest music ever recorded is some seriously old blues. Dock Boggs and his banjo crafted some of the blackest, most disturbing music ever. You can hear the years of whiskey induced sufferin' in his voice, and the dirty secrets that must lay in the memories of a Southern white man in the early twentieth century. Tales of murder, of drinkin', and of woe are all embedded in his most definitive collection.

Dark does not even begin to describe Burned Mind by Wolf Eyes. This record is a sonic, wintry wasteland, full of anger, regret, despair, and alienation. The manical, homicidal nature of Wolf Eyes is also some of the most comforting music available - "Wolf Eyes", says a friend of mine "is someone hitting you with a sledgehammer." Nothing speaks darkness like Wolf Eyes. Blast this from your car stereo and go trick or treat - even the ghouls will run like hell.

Norwegian tape manipulator Helge Sten releases some of the most haunting music ever under the name Deathprod. Morals and Dogma, his masterpiece, forces you back into the saddest, scariest moments of your life and says "deal with it." His dark, flowing soundscapes become crushingly heavy with repeated listens - all eleven minutes of "Dead People's Things" is not unlike being crushed by thirty thousand tons of ice.

Khanate freaks the hell out of me, especially this self-titled album. They have a song called "Skin Coat", for Christ's sake. They play so...god...damn...slow. They look like metal incarnate. Their music is so dark you have to listen with a flashlight, and that barely does the trick. Like crawling through a forest full of snapping twigs in the middle of nowhere at three in the morning and then plummeting down a cliff to your death. The music is called doom metal for a reason. This is it.

Feel like some much-needed alienation and misery? How about some murder and death? Alright then. Throw on some Hair Police, particularly Obedience Cuts. Sure, Constantly Terrified is scary as hell too...but how many noise records accurately sample the unnerving sound of a man drowning in a bathtub? None - except this one. This is basically as dark as it gets.

With a name like The Grimmrobe Demos, how can you be unsure about SunnO)))? With a name apparently alluding to a total eclipse of the sun, therefore spraying complete and utter darkness on the mortals of Earth, you are positive that this album will evoke spindly trees at the cusp of winter, grasping for a gnatch of water before the snow falls and they face their long dehydration. This music is made for tundras, for barren, deserted wastelands where you are left with your hope and your guilt.

Finally, the quintessential album of death, despair and uncertainty. Without a doubt, Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska. With tales of serial killers and armageddon, these are truly the words of a man teetering over the edge of the abyss. Not in the sense of Iggy Pop and having fun with it, this is disturbing. This album disturbs me. It makes me uncomfortable, it makes me emotional, and it makes me passionate. This is music I put on when I feel unloved, because I know that the artist feels my pain. Look at the lonely cover, man. This is seriously gloomy stuff. Totally nightmarish.

Anyway, that's my guidebook to dark tunes. Don't listen to these albums with a loaded gun by your side. Like I said, dark, dark stuff. Happy Halloween!


Blogger Homie Bear said...

It's a great list- and I haven't heard any of them except for Nebraska.

9:08 PM  

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