Haunting Halloween music picks

The Halloween season should be scary, not just spooky


The Halloween season consists of cutesy costumes, silly jack-o-lanterns and enough candy to induce a sugar coma, but what makes this time of year so interesting and unique is its underlying theme of terror. 

People get their kicks out of being scared s--tless and especially during Halloween. Why else would so many people come together every year to watch possession-infested films and visit haunted houses? Music around this time of year shouldn’t be any different, it should scare the hell out of you, too.

So for Halloween this year, ditch “Spooky Scary Skeletons” for this playlist of truly terrifying tunes curated by The Spectrum’s Arts Desk.

Justin Woodmancy - Brutal Bops

Cannibal Corpse - “Hammer Smashed Face”

 Tomb of the Mutilated” (1992)

Buffalo’s very own Cannibal Corpse has made a living for itself, crafting some of the most disgusting, evil, offensive and brutal music in the world. With lyrics like “Draining the snot, I rip out the eyes” and “I smash your f--king head in until brains seep in”, “Hammer Smashed Face,” albeit far from the group’s most shocking material, will leave you adequately spooked.

Cryptopsy - “Slit Your Guts”

 None So Vile” (1996)

“Slit Your Guts,” a blisteringly fast and savagely violent track, is an all-out attack on the senses. Disorienting and punishing riffs and Lord Worm's guttural and shrieking vocals push “Slit Your Guts” to the limits of extreme metal. It's the sonic equivalent to a grindhouse slasher film.

Alex Whetham - Demonic Drone

Earth - “Seven Angels”

 “Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version” (1993)

 The volume and intensity slowly creep up on you in this drone metal cut, meaning distorted guitars overwhelm the mix and slowly creep on a dark road to nowhere. The heaviness is crushing but scary and oh-so-satisfying.

Swans - “I Was a Prisoner in Your Skull”

 “Soundtracks for the Blind” (1996)

 This drone track moves through three phases. 

First, it smothers and disturbs the listener and builds up with a variety of creepy sounds before moving into intense drumming. From there, the song peters out and concludes with a strange, incomprehensible but darkly comedic spoken-word piece. The last section of the song has been seared into my memory since the day I heard it.


Natural Snow Buildings - “A Thousand Demons Invocation”

“Daughter of Darkness” (2009)

This 29-minute-long piece takes its time. While it texturally sounds brighter than the title implies, this track, along with the rest of the full six-hour album sound like the lost soundtrack to “The VVitch,” aka the perfect droning background for witchcraft.

Isabella Fortunato - Shivering Showtunes

Levi Stubbs - “Mean Green Mother from Outer Space”

 Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Audrey II is mean, green and just plain bad. If you’re looking for a disturbingly comedic tune to spice up your spooky setlist, look no further. Stubbs’s spoken lyrics and cackling character throughout the number make it the perfect song to “up yours” and boogie ‘til you drop.

Bebe Neuwirth - “Just Around the Corner”

 The Addams Family (2010)

 “The Addams Family” will go down as one of the most iconic franchises ever. Neuwirth, playing the role of Morticia, performs this hysterical number with mortifying grace and seasoned comedic timing. The blissful tone she describes fatality in is just edgy enough to act as a painful reminder that no matter what life throws at you, “death is just around the corner.”

The arts desk can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com.


Alex Whetham is an asst. arts editor for The Spectrum