The Sounds of October: Required listening for the Autumn/Halloween Season
by Annie Riordan
Why does Christmas get all the music love? Everyone from Johnny Mathis and Bing Crosby to William Hung has a fucking Christmas album. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I’ve also worked retail for 20+ years and I absolutely fucking DREAD the holiday season, during which the PA mercilessly pipes in the cheesiest and most nerve-grinding Christmas music ever recorded. One year, a supervisor of mine actually ripped a CD containing an incredibly annoying version of “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” out of the changer and ordered me to make it disappear. I threw it up on the roof where it may very well still sit, covered in pigeon shit and half melted into a silver puddle by the strong California sun.
Music for Autumn and Halloween remains limited and pretty unimaginative. If you own one Midnight Syndicate CD, you pretty much own them all. And yeah, of course I love The Monster Mash, but come on – you can’t play it on a loop all night and not expect to get murdered by your party guests sooner or later.
Do yourself a favor. Inject some fresh blood into that stiff, embalmed corpse you call a “party mix.” Try throwing some of these autumnal inspired albums into the player this season.
Album: October Rust
Artist: Type O Negative.
The late great Peter Steele loved autumn so much that he wrote an entire album dedicated to it. His synesthetical visions of autumn’s flaming beauty and cold, bitter grimness just can’t be fully appreciated in the heat of summer. I know many people who will wait for the onset of autumn with an almost religious reverence before blasting this CD at the highest possible volumes. It’s a seasonal treat, right up there with candy corn and pfeffernusse.
Best Track: Picking just one track off of this flawless album is difficult, to say the least, but I’m going to have to go with “In Praise Of Bacchus” closely followed by “Love You To Death” and “Wolf Moon.”
Album: A History Of Horror.
A two disc collection of every major main theme from most every major horror movie, from the instantly recognizable (John Carpenter’s “Halloween”) to the obscure and nearly forgotten (“The Devil Rides Out” and “Peeping Tom.”)
Best Track: Goblin’s “Suspiria.” I used to play this one over the PA system at my old job. Freaked everyone the fuck out. I was accused of playing “Satanic Disco” by one curmudgeonly shrew, but she listened to Rush Limbaugh every morning so she deserved the assault on her ignorant eardrums, as far as I’m concerned.
Album: The Devil’s Music.
An exhaustive compilation of the scariest, most frightening and blasphemous classical music ever recorded. Get your baroque on, mutherfuckers.
Best Track: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. You simply CANNOT have horror without Bach’s Toccata and Fugue! It’d be like sex without bruises!
Album: Høstmørke. Literally translated: “Autumn Darkness.”
One of the many, many side projects of Gylve Nagell, aka Fenriz, aka “The Boss in Darkthrone” this has been categorized as black metal, folk metal and Viking metal. I’m not even going to try and shove it into a category. I’m just going to say that Fenriz has snow in his lungs and pine tar in his blood. This cold and spooky half hour long cacophony fairly reeks of wolf hair and wood smoke.
Best Track: “Over de Syngende Øde Moer.” YouTube it up and prove me wrong. Gylve’s thunderous “Oofs!” and growly “Heys!” make me all orgasmy fangirly and stuff.
Album: Closed On Account Of Rabies.
An ode to all things Poe, featuring his short tales and poems read aloud by the likes of Marianna Faithfull and Iggy Pop. Every Goth worth their dyed black salt must own this double disc set. No excuses.
Best Track: Obviously the popular vote is for Christopher Walken’s recitation of Poe’s most famous poem: “The Raven” which suffers not at all under Walken’s heavy Noo Yawk accent. My personal favorite – for obvious reasons of vanity – is Gavin Friday’s hauntingly lovely “For Annie.”
Album: Projekt: Gothic.
The Projekt label has been putting out some of the best underground gothic music for years. Anything that says “Projekt” on the cover is worth your while if you’re a fan of the bleak and melancholy.
Best Track: “Mysterium” by This Ascension, closely followed by Lycia’s “Excade Decade Decada.”
(Editor’s note: every Youtube video for this track is set to a cheesy slideshow, of which the one below is marginally the least cheesy. There’s one on there that’s set entirely to pictures from Twilight, but I was afraid what Annie might do to me if I used that one.)
Album: Vampire Themes.
This is a collection of vampire inspired punk/goth/darkwave music recorded by some of the most iconic bands ever to be totally ignored by My Chemical Romance worshipping Neo-Goths. Do yourself a favor kiddies – try some Leather Strip, Electric Hellfire Club and The Damned.
Best Track: The iconic Bauhaus goth staple “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” Duh. Close behind it is Razed In Black’s weirdass technogothic “Salem’s Demise.”
Album: Evidence Of Heaven.
Artist: Faith & The Muse.
Edwardian parlor games, Ouija boards, seances and silken ectoplasm: the spirit of the late 1800s/early 1900s is perfectly captured on this severely underrated album by criminally overlooked goth band Faith and The Muse. From 17th century ballads to modern metal, this entire CD is chilling and ghostly.
Best Track: Plague Dance, a scratchy black-metal-esque wailfest punched up by Monica Richards banshee-like cries.
Album: Hellbilly Deluxe (13 Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International)
Artist: Rob Zombie.
The carnival freakshow barker’s metal homage to all things horror couldn’t get anymore Halloweenie if you rolled it around on the sticky floor of a movie theater and stuck it inside of a rotting pumpkin. Rob Zombie is Halloween incarnate as far as his music goes and far surpass his remakes of the popular franchise.
Best Track: Return of the Phantom Stranger, closely followed by Living Dead Girl and Dragula.