A Very Metal Halloween

Sure, you could play “The Monster Mash” on repeat all night. But really, we’d suggest something a little more in keeping with the spirit of Halloween. Less tongue in cheek and more outwardly terrifying.

If you’d really like to terrify the trick-or-treaters, cue up this playlist. Bonus points if you sit them down to explain the meaning of the lyrics.

  1. “Black Sabbath,” Black Sabbath: Sure, you could take almost anything from the Sabbath oeuvre, but they never again sounded quite as evil as the opening track from their first album, and quite possibly gave birth to sludge metal in the process. The entire song is basically a love letter to the tritone, once known as the “devil’s interval” and implicitly banned from Western music for hundreds of years.  That’s the first bit of trivia. The second is that Ice-T later sampled the song to kick off his disc The Iceberg. A voiceover warns that America is now under martial law. This was presumably an allusion to Tipper Gore. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akt3awj_Ah8[/youtube]
  2. “Stargazer,” Rainbow: The song that probably inspired more airbrushed vans than any other, this was one of the earliest examples of “Castle Rock.” Basically take the mellotron of “Kashmir” and add lyrics like “In the heat and the rain/With whips and chains/See him fly/So many die.” Give Ronnie James Dio, credit, however: the eight-plus minutes here are one of his first great vocal performances. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6W7jMURpGU[/youtube]
  3. “The Baying of the Hounds,” Opeth: In order to really terrify children, you need some death-metal vocals. Here you go. Imagine Cookie Monster’s voice. Now imagine it singing “I hear the baying of the hounds/In the distance/I hear them devouring.” At about the two-minute mark, frontman/songwriter Mikael Akerfeldt lightens things up and starts to sing clean. Too bad he sings “Everything you believed is a lie/Everyone that you loved is dead.” [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vjg7dQhARY[/youtube]
  4. “Raining Blood,” Slayer: Now for something a bit faster and even more brutal, and the second song on our list to open with a thunderstorm sample. Yes, it’s the best known track from Reign in Blood. Sample lyrics: “Pierced from below/souls of my treacherous past/Betrayed by many/Now ornaments dripping above.” The blood, that is. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KsPZ1f7MDs[/youtube]
  5. “Hallowed be Thy Name,” Iron Maiden: Sure we could have gone with the overt reference to Satan with “Number of the Beast,” but this is a little more subtle. A man grappling with his faith as he’s about to be executed on the gallows. Besides, it opens with orchestra chimes. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CaSgow3NPE[/youtube]
  6. “21st Century Schizoid Man,” King Crimson: The creepiest album cover of all time meets arguably the first-ever progressive rock song. It’s got heavily processed vocals, impossibly fast guitar parts, it’s got an oboe for God’s sake. And it’s fucking evil sounding. Bonus points if you stick with the rest of the album to hear “Epitaph” and the title track, “In the Court of the Crimson King,” which may or may not be about paying a visit to Satan in hell. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ubc5_owhl0[/youtube]
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