Back at it again Boils and Ghouls! Thankfully the weather is a bit cooler this time around as compared to last year. While early in the month it was a bit warmer, we’ve been experiencing the cool, spooky weather as we get closer to All Hallow’s Eve. With the temperature being cooler, it’s been a bit easier to stay in the Halloween spirit. So easy that I decided to come up with a Part II to last years “Spooky Sounds of the Season”. If you’ll recall, last year I compiled a list of albums that keep me in the Halloween spirit. Some of them were made specifically for the season while others included components that just remind me of Autumn and the season of the witch. Well, we’re at it again with another 10 albums that put me in that spooky spirit. Some of them I just discovered this year, while others are albums that just barely missed the cut last year. Now sit back and relax. Grab that pumpkin spice latte. Put on a spooky film, for background noise of course, and enjoy the Spooky Sounds of the Season Part II!
“Ruff Justice” by Crazy Lixx
Let’s kick off this list with a band I just discovered this year. Crazy Lixx is a Swedish glam metal band that got their start in 2002. If you’re a fan of 80’s hair metal and 80’s horror, this band is for you! As someone who’s a huge fan of “Trick or Treat” (RIP Sammi Curr), this band holds a special place in my heart as they combine two of my favorite things. This past April they put out their 5th studio album, “Ruff Justice”. They came into my life by being included on the “Friday the 13th: The Game” soundtrack! If that doesn’t put you into the holiday spirit I don’t know what will. I personally hope that this band is just the beginning of a hair metal resurgence!
“Abominationz” by Twiztid
If you’re an avid reader of Icon Vs. Icon, then you know that I, Dylan Lyles, use do be enthralled by the juggalo culture. Before you come hunting me with pitchforks, hear me out. What came out of my early years was a discovery of great hip hop and imagery. Case in point: Twiztid. While I’ve moved far from the culture, and haven’t enjoyed an ICP album since 2004, I will always defend the “Majik Ninja Entertainment” owners. They are genuinely great lyricists and ride a beat like no other. “Abominationz” is their self-claimed, best album. They truly show off their skills and prove that they can tackle any subject in the horrorcore genre. Any album of theirs would fit on this list, but I really wanted to include their magnum opus. Anyone who’s doubting these guys due to their former association, put this album on and listen from front to back.
“L.A. Witch” by L.A. Witch
Much like Crazy Lixx, L.A. Witch is another band that I discovered this year. I was blown away by their first EP. Their combination of garage punk and psychedelic rock comes together to make one of the most haunting records I’ve heard in recent years. This sound was refined tenfold when they released their full length last month. Take all of the witchy elements of Stevie Nicks and “Fleetwood Mac”, add tons of distortion, and you have L.A. Witch. Out of all the bands/albums on this list, I would recommend checking out these three kickass women first!
“The Art of Drowning” by AFI
AFI, aka A Fire Inside, is a band of many sides. Having formed in 1991, and having the same lineup since 98, AFI has changed their sound numerous times. If you were to hear the band now you would notice the drastic change the group has taken since their days as a “glorified Misfits cover band”. I’m a huge fan of each form of the punk/goth rock outfit. Each album is a dark tour through the mind of Davey Havok and “The Art of Drowning” is most definitely the spookiest. Pair it along with the “All Hallows EP”, and you have the best Misfits album not released by the Misfits. Don’t take that as a knock, it’s a phenomenally dark, and angry record that is fit for any lone and spooky night.
“Ghouls N Ghosts 1-3” by Mega Ran and Richie Branson
Alright, I’m cheating here a little bit. I’m sorry but I couldn’t decide on just one of these releases. Mega Ran and Richie Branson are well known in the nerdcore genre, a hip hop genre that specializes in 8/16-bit beats and lyrics about videogames, movies, anime, and the overall lifestyle that comes with being a “nerd”. I’ve been a fan of both artists for a while and the only these albums didn’t make last year’s list is because I wouldn’t allow myself to pick just one. I’m being a bit more lenient with the rules this year so here they are. The “Ghouls N Ghosts” series is a series of three hip hop EPs that focus on horror movies and games. There are songs about survival horror, Monster Squad, campfire stories, and even a cover of a personal favorite, “Nightmare on my Street”. These three EPs will fit in perfectly on any Halloween playlist. Most spooky hip hop takes things too far in today’s world, delving into the horrorcore genre. It’s nice to find fun/playful hip hop that allows the artists to demonstrate impressive lyricism while also discussing the things they enjoy. It’s a bonus that they also put out three Halloween “albums”.
“Hide and Seek” by The Birthday Massacre
The Birthday Massacre are a band that you might have seen on the “Notable Artists” list from last year’s article. Hailing from Toronto, The Birthday Massacre is a Canadian goth rock band known for their dark imagery and large use of synth. Many would consider their music dark wave with its mix of new wave and goth metal. Like a few of the other artists on this list, any album from The Birthday Massacre would’ve fit right in. However, I chose “Hide and Seek” because the album hosts the bands darkest lyrics. The album is based upon lead singer, Chibi’s fascination with death and unsolved crimes/mysteries. The use of synth creates a dark, but fun atmosphere that provides the perfect background to Chibi’s haunting lyrics. I highly recommend this album for anyone looking to enjoy the darker side of the season.
“A Haunting We Will Go” by The Ghastly Ones
I don’t think there is any band on this list that celebrates their love of Halloween quite like The Ghastly Ones do on each record. They combine their love of Halloween tunes, monster movies, and surf rock to create a band that I’m sure would provide the soundtrack to every trip the Munsters ever took. I decided to choose their first record to include on this list because it’s probably the most well-known. This is because it was put out by shock rock/metal musician Rob Zombie. If you remember correctly, another band that Zombie put together, Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures was my number one pick last Halloween. While that album is my quintessential Halloween record, The Ghastly Ones is just another example of how novelty Halloween acts can still exist. While most of the members are focused on other paths, the group still comes together pretty regularly to play various shows.
“Bauhaus: 1979-1983” by Bauhaus
Bauhaus is a band that I just recently became obsessed with. While I had heard their name at various times throughout my life, it wasn’t until a recent re-watching of “Night of the Demons” when truly fell in love. Bauhaus are the pioneers of the goth rock genre and I feel they sadly take a back seat to bands like The Cure. In terms of dark imagery and overall good tunes, I feel like Bauhaus is the better band. If you’re looking for some depressing goth rock than look no further than their double compilation album, “Bauhaus: 1979-1989”. With well-known tracks like “Stigmata Martyr” and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” any Halloween fan would be happy to add this album to regular rotation.
“Dead Man’s Bones” by Dead Man’s Bones and the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir
This is an album that proved Ryan Gosling can do no wrong. Gosling, along with friend Zach Shields, began Dead Man’s Bones in 2007 and have only one album under their belt to date. The album combines the members’ love of graveyards, ghosts, and monsters to create an album unlike anything I’ve ever heard. The group recruited the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir to create a haunting sound that would give even the toughest rock the whillies. I saved this album to place towards the end of the list because it is an album specifically created for the spooky season. If you aren’t in the spirit you will be. DO NOT LISTEN TO IT BY TRACK. Put the album on and let it take you away.
“Pagan Holiday” by Harley Poe
Out of all of the bands/groups/musicians I have discovered this year, Harley Poe is my favorite. Led by former Christian artist, Joseph Whiteford, Harley Poe is what you get when you take folk, punk, and horror, throw it in a blender and mix it all together. Each release is a journey through the mind of a monster. As stated on the band’s bandcamp page, their songs are not about monsters, the musicians are the monsters. Most horror bands pride themselves on being the loudest, fastest bands in the world. On the contrary, Harley Poe are all about the art of storytelling. These songs will become addicting, you can’t get away from them. Even in your sleep. There is no escaping. I want to recommend their entire discography. I only mentioned their “Pagan Holiday” release because it is dedicated to the scariest night of the year. CHECK OUT ALL OF THEIR STUFF!!!!
BONUS ALBUM! – “Trick or Treat” by Fastway
In 1986 one of the greatest rock n roll horror films of all time was released: “Trick or Treat”, aka “Ragman”. This is hands down one of my favorite horror films of all time. The soundtrack kicks ass and the film just encompasses everything I love about 80’s horror. There’s only one reason I haven’t included the soundtrack on either list, it doesn’t put me in the Halloween spirit. Honestly, I listen to the Fastway album all year long. It puts me in the mood to rock, not the mood to scare. However, it’s been 31 years since this film was released and I couldn’t help but mention it. Go watch this movie now. “DEATH TO FALSE METAL!”
Dylan’s Final Thought: That rounds out the list for this year. I have so many other albums I could include but then what would I do for next year? If you enjoyed this list please go back and check out Part 1. Between the two I can guarantee you’ll find at least one new artist or album that you’ll enjoy. I hope everyone has a terrific spooky season and a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Obsessed with all things horror, video games, comics and vinyl, Dylan has been surrounded by all things geek culture since birth. Along with writing for Icon Versus Icon he’s also the co-host for the year long Christmas podcast, “Christmas 365”.
“No wimps. No False Metal.”