This week’s blog is a full on Halloween celebration. I have compiled a list (it’s not a best of by any means) of recommended Halloween listening music list for the metal faithful, some you may have heard some you may have not. With each album comes a horrifying or evil song lyric to tantalize you eyebuds. Also included is a rundown of all the shows going down this week as well as some particularly evil themed blog exclusive CD releases. Stay tuned next week for a review/photos of tonight’s Suffocation concert, plus in weeks to come interviews with Suffocation, Decrepit Birth, Atheist and Haeresiarchs of Dis.
Tonight, Thursday Oct. 28 the Complex hosts The Decibel Defiance Tour with Suffocation, The Faceless, Through The Eyes of the Dead, Decrepit Birth, Fleshgod Apocalypse and local death metal opener Adipocere. It’s an all ages show, tickets are $22. Music underway at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 30 Club Vegas (21 +) will host their Halloween bash hosting a slew of local metal acts with Arsenic Addiction, Reaction Effect, Meat, Incidious and Freedom Before Dying. Tickets $5, music underway at around 8:30 p.m.
Also Saturday night out in Ogden Brewski’s (21+) will host a “Rockin’” Halloween Party with Sunset Strip and Reveeler playing. My information sources don’t list an admission price, but if assumptions are correct it’s a $5 cover as is the usual. Tunes underway at 9 p.m.
The seasons are a changing, and it seems fairly drastically too. It wasn’t a week ago when I was outside wearing a T-shirt and feeling hot sun bear on my back. Fall has come quickly, and it might not be a very long season—it already feels as if winter is just around the corner. As is customary at the end of every October, many parts of the world celebrate Halloween in some form. The holiday has origins long before Christianity in many different Pagan forms. But I’m not really here to discuss the origins of Halloween. The matter of fact is that in the U.S. Halloween has become a secular holiday allowing anyone of any faith (or no faith) to embellish in all things surrounding death, evil or anything to do with terror. This time of year people purposely go to Haunted Houses abd see scary movies, all to scare the crap out of themselves. For some people pretty much every day is Halloween but unquestionably it is a season where anyone can remove the shackles of what is considered normal and become something completely terrifying or just plain silly and going over the top in decorating their houses with the traditional Jack O’Lantern, gravestones, ghosts and whatever other terrible creepies one can think of or feel like purchasing. I have quite fond memories going trick or treating as a kid dressing up in whatever costume I could create or discover. I don’t think my parents ever actually bought me a store bought costume—really, it’s more fun to do it on your own.
My train of thought when it comes to Halloween partially comes from both the Christian and Non-Christian parts of me. The part that was raised as a Catholic and the fact that All Saint’s Day and All Souls Day are related to the Halloween holiday, both religious portions of the holiday season are meant as a time to remember the dead. The vastly more prevalent side of myself not the, non-Christian part makes Halloween out to be more of a celebration of the end of summer, as well as a damn good reason to believe in the unbelievable and think that with all the emphasis in the world going around focusing on the dead, death or just all things scary basically makes me think that the doorway to other worlds where the dead either congregate or are stuck in is opened up a lot more than usual, it’s not a negative thing at all, I think it’s important to honor the dead and for even if it’s just a day to let the faithful feel like there is something in the air that isn’t fully explained by a higher power. People’s imaginations can run wild. Every Halloween season I make an emphasis to not only remember the dead that I knew but the dead in general. I do my best to open that door to the unexplainable and unthinkable. With the end of summer, many things once living wither and die or go dormant so naturally it’s time to celebrate death and not fear it but embrace what is the next step in our short lives. So for this week’s blog I have assembled a list of personal favorites of Metal albums embracing death, themes or horror, evil, and well face it Metal is the genre of music that owns that realm. Some of the choices on the list are expected and I tried to represent every genre. Maybe you know all the albums or there’s a few you haven’t heard of, join me opening that door to the unknown and celebrate death and play whatever metal fits your fancy and let the darkness and fear in, trust me it will make your holiday all that much more enjoyable.
Halloween Metal Album Recommendations
Scream Bloody Gore
Scream Bloody Gore isn’t necessarily the favorite album from fans of the legendary death metal band Death but it is probably the most horrific themed album of the bands catalogue. With classic cuts “Zombie Ritual,” “Torn to Pieces,” and “Evil Dead,” the raw and classic death metal nature of Scream Bloody Gore is a great album to get your evil on and worship all that is Death, the nature of the word and the band. R.I.P. Chuck Schuldiner. “Drink from the goblet, the goblet of gore. Taste the zombie’s drug, now you want more. Drifting from the living, joining the dead. Zombie dwelling maggots now infest your head.”
Under the Sign of the Black Mark
Under One Flag/Black Mark
This is one of Bathory’s highest regarded albums, particularly in the realm of the bands black metal era. It’s a noisy cacophony of metal chaotic, haunting and chilling with creepy interludes setting up the albums tracks. The raw guitar tone present on the album is shockingly visceral as is the vocal performance. Let your evil flag fly and spin this record in respect for the main man behind Bathory Quorthon who passed in 2004. “Leave the world of mortals to walk into the mist to stalk unto the other side. Plains of otherness. The utter emptiness. Where time have ceased and dark and light collide”
The themes portrayed on this record are befitting the season; I also consider the album the last great record from Iced Earth. Impressive performances from all involved in the record and, this is definitely on the lighter side of the horror theme, but covers classic tales from Werewolves to The Omen, Jekyll & Hyde, Frankenstein and Phantom of the Opera. It’s a great horror-drenched dark straight up heavy metal album. “Oh no, this can’t be. Demonic infection, a doomed changeling. The Madness a turmoil that swells up inside. To truly find peace is to truly die.”
Ved Buens Ende
Written in Waters
This is the only album this Norwegian band (which contains members of Dodheimsgard and Virus) ever released and by many metal fans it’s pretty much heralded as a classic and a must own. Written in Waters would technically be called post-black metal if it came out today but at the time that notion wasn’t even an afterthought in the metal community. The record isn’t overly death dealing or evil, but ever since I discovered it the album has the adapt ability to consistently creep me out. It’s a mid-to-slow paced jazzy progged black metal style with mostly clean vocals utilized. Thought provoking lyrics and again, just an overall creepy cold album. “Autumn witches standing barefoot in the sea. Singing songs that even brought the devil to his knees.”
Onward to Golgotha
The first album from now death metal legends Incantation. Onward to Golgotha is a slowly paced, starkly evil and sinister album. It’s a grandiose junction of death metal and doom. A gloriously evil heavy ended album that never gets old. It’s a horrifying sound on record that well proves the might of what death metal can be. “Recite the words of the living hell. Arise the ones from the eternal sleep. Awaken Evil ones that rest below. Come forth and show your rotting soul…”
This really needs no explanation it’s Black Sabbath’s first record, a definitive point in metal showing how dark things can really be. Without this record what metal is today would not exist. Not only is this album musically and lyrically creepy it’s just downright awesome and again, one of those albums that never gets old. “What is this that stands before me? Figure in black which points at me. Turn ‘round quick, and start to run. Find out I’m the chosen one, oh no!”
Gruesome Stuff Relish
Horror Rises From the Tomb
This glorious down and dirty grind album from one of Razorback Records’ best bands has the almost cliché horror movie samples. Themes range from zombies to cannibals. This is a fast violent grinding romp and all good fun. “Ultra zombie mayhem, start shooting at their heads, we’re the worst nightmare of the living dead.”
Hacked Up For Barbecue
Mortician may not be the best death metal band—well, not really even close—but their tunes are soaked in horror every album chock full of horror movie samples which can add that extra gory ambience to your twisted Halloween party. Regardless the bass on this sucker with a good sound system will get your home a quaking. “Hammer smashes in your head, gutted corps lying dead, body parts in the stew, hacked up for barbecue.”
Metal Blade Records
Really just about any Cannibal Corpse record is a fine and dandy gory Halloween metal choice, the band are known for basically being a breakthrough band focused on all that is gore. The Bleeding is the bands last with Chris Barnes who now vocalizes for Six Feet Under; this is probably Barnes last good vocal death metal performance. This is mainly chosen because it still remains one of my favorite Cannibal Corpse records. “They think they know who I am. All they know is I love to kill. Face down dead on the ground. Find me before another is found, I come alive in the darkness. Left murdered and nameless.”
Classic old school Slayer, Hell Awaits is a superbly evil thrash record that has always managed to hold a nice little spot above my desk for needed listens. Yes the band got a bit more refined and potent further on in their career, but this and Show No Mercy are arguably the bands best, they may not be the most popular but they’re the best. You can’t have Halloween without Slayer. “Apparition from the pits of Hell. Death plagues the streets in which they dwell. Demented lust, secrets they must keep. Addicted to your blood. At dawn they sleep.”
This is the only official full-length Canada’s Slaughter ever released, but hell it’s not only classic it’s a must own for any metalhead. I like to call this evil-thrash metal. The production is surprising good considering the recording conditions of the album; this record also features the late Chuck Schuldiner. Angry raw thrash that will easily bring about the demonical forces. “Listen to my tale of mayhem, that my mouth does spew, a horrid tale of gruesome hell that’s in the future for you.”
Ibex Moon Records
Denial Fiend offer up a great punk fueled death metal record with They Rise. Death metal and punk rock do not often meld well together and when they do it’s usually called Grindcore but this all works awesomely. Gory lyrics, awesome album cover art and a catchy as sin album that strongly deviates from the usual death metal norm. “Let the blood flow out! Let it spill on the floor, I wanna dance in your gore!”
The first release from the now infamous Celtic Frost. Morbid Tales are always good to stir up some crazed evil metal imagery. This EP is not only a priceless thrashing black metal tinged album, it was the starting of a storied legacy of a band. As far as metal and all thing horrible and evil it’s hard to get much better than this. “Obsessed by the nightmare’s sound, drifting back into realms of chaos. Reality has become my dream, I’ll be covered by the abyss’ ground.”
Interestingly enough there seems to be a theme on this list of bands’ first albums or their early work. This is an often overlooked album by Sepultura is vastly different from anything else in their career. It’s raw fast and tastily evil sounding. The production value is extremely low making it sound all that much more cult and cool because you know you are already going to be listening to the sketchy production on early Misfits and Samhain albums “Black songs are heard with the funeral. Rotting corpses mutilated over the ground. Graves will be violated, and corpses will be stolen. Funeral Rites.”
Fulfill the Curse
First album from an up and coming death/doom metal act really either of the bands full-lengths or split albums are worthy of being spun. Fulfill the Curse has a bit more of a sinister yet rockingly grooving edge to it. This is low and slow with lots of horror themes, “The Eyeless Horde,” is about cult Spanish horror flick Tomb of the Blind Dead which is one damn creepy flick if you can find it. Great record to slow down a booze and mayhem fueled evening. “Rising from their tombs for a night of blood feeding. Chocking on terror your soul gripped with dread, you can’t escape, the curse of the walking blind dead.”
Triptykon = Celtic Frost + Dark Fortress + Apollyon Sun + Meshuggah + Black Sabbath
Some might consider this EP the leftovers from the recording of what is being applauded as one of the best metal albums of 2010, Eparistera Daimones from the Tom G. Fischer fronted band, which also includes other former members of Celtic Frost. In a sense it’s true but these leftovers are mighty good, the EP features three tracks recorded during the bands previous full-length but didn’t make the record, maybe the fact that they’re a bit shorter, who knows they’re worthy of being on the record by all means. Needless to say this is a nice little tide the fans over EP, which the band even filmed a music video for it’s title track. If you haven’t heard Triptykon or understood the buzz, Tom G. is a metal vocal master his vocal presence always demands attention, not to mention his guitar playing this little beast roars just as mighty as the full-length with strong reverberating riffs that punish your very soul. The EP also features live versions of classic Celtic Frost tunes “Circle of Tyrants” and “Dethroned Emperor,” which has guest vocals from non other than Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto. This is an all around awesome EP on it’s own or viewed as just another piece of the legacy that Eparistera Daimones is sure to leave. –Bryer Wharton
Morbid Destitution Of Covenant
I wouldn’t call it a full-on change of pace for the mighty Relapse Records to release a straight up death metal album but this is one of the few for the label this year and I’m damned thankful. The band includes members of Encoffination, Black Funeral, Decrepitaph and Lilitu—the talent here shows itself well. The second full-length record from the band is decisively old school sounding and is either at a slow churned rotting and grizzled down-tuned pace festering like an infected sore, riffs echo and reverb throughout – or it’s at lawnmower to the face frenzied pace. All of it has guitar tones highly reminiscent of Swedish death metal; Morbid Destitution of Covenant would be the perfect album to pick up on vinyl. It has the ability to close in on classic death metal lovers appetites and is raw and fresh sounding enough to please even the finicky modern death metal crowd. I’m a sucker for good death/doom metal I’ll admit but even the small pre-disposed bias aside this is one wicked piece of grimly evil sounding music. –Bryer Wharton
Krohm/Tenebrae in Perpetuum
Krohm/Tenebrae in Perpetuum = Krohm + Tenebrae in Perpetuum + a welcome to winter
Well as I write this review snow has fallen in the Salt Lake valley and this split between two like minded black metal troops, Krohm from the U.S. and Tenebrae in Perpetuum of Italy is playing it’s a welcoming ode to all things cold and dying. Yes, black metal has a tendency to fit the winter mindset of listeners but whatever the weather or season this is a bleak offering slow in pace, neither composition from each artist feels as a hasty one, they’re fully designed to play off one another and set a dark depressive atmosphere and just an overall cold and bleak feeling. The guitars churn slowly just as the drum beats. It’s a hefty set of tunes all tracks together run into a playing time of just over 42 minutes. Black metal scowls haunt each track echoing throughout every song in the somber way they were meant to. The songwriting by both bands is extremely well thought out; while many spilt albums have distinctive feels from artist to artist this feels as one solid piece of music. The brilliant collaboration of tracks run a bit more atmospheric realm than containing memorable riffing, that’s the point. Fans of depressive black metal without question apply to hear this split. If you’re sitting on a beach in Florida this and you spin this split you’re going to go need to find a jacket that’s for sure. –Bryer Wharton
Blood of the Pentagram
Gravewurm = Goatlord + Venom + Inquisition
From what I understand Gravewurm has had quite the build up in the underground and are a fairly well received band in the US underground black metal scene. This is my first encounter with the band I really do wish I had a point of comparison for this album and the bands previous works, it would give me a greater sense of what the band is about musically. Aesthetically I really like Blood of the Pentagram it’s viscerally raw the vocal approach feels like the vocalist is just tearing out his vocal chords and running a cheese grater over them to form some semblance of words it without question fits the tone of the evil type atmosphere the band is going for. As for the tunes, they’re all pretty mid-paced, and as much as I want the tracks to start going into some face-melting speedy thrashy black metal they never do. The album is borderline black n’ roll, there isn’t much variance between songs and unfortunately the all feel like they have exactly the same core beat and for almost 45 minutes of music it gets pretty monotonous. I definitely have the inkling that the bands prior albums carried a bit more black metal glory to them and stronger songs, that might be a good reason why this is the bands swansong album. Blood of the Pentagram just feels as if it’s treading water most of the time, all in all the record is decent background music, but in the ever evolving realm of black metal where standing out is a priority this album just fades into mediocrity. –Bryer Wharton