Last year we took in a few soundtracks and noir-funk jazz scores to make a break from any metallicus extremicus noise stuff. This year, we’re going for the retro metal sound: mostly classic bands from the late ’80s or thereabouts, a bit of a slasher vibe, a bit of ‘remember that?’ in 11 (yes) tracks. WARNING: hair metal is on this list, no apologies.
DOKKEN: Mr Scary
Big hair kick-off? Too right. George Lynch had one of THE guitar tones of the 80s, a tone that would sit on any commercial horror of the day (maybe that’s why they did Dream Warriors for Nightmare on Elm Street 3) but this heavy instrumental from Back for the Attack is a shock for anyone who missed it, thinking that Dokken were nowt but hair and teeth. Well, they ARE hair and teeth, but Mr Lynch’s Mr Scary is a scorching exception and a horror-themed must.
OZZY OSBOURNE: Suicide Solution (live version from Tribute)
Can there be a rock voice more suited to Halloween than Ozzy’s doleful projections? Doubtful. But this live version (can’t find it on youtube) does more than showcase Ozzy – as the album title says, it’s a Randy Rhoads gig and the Suicide Solution solo has enough stuttermoanandscreech to commune with the undead any time of the year.
MEGADETH: Go to Hell
Snarling sneering wavy Davy, so Mustainey. Lost on a Bill and Ted OST, Go to Hell makes the list because it’s not overplayed, it’s literally hellish and it’s got one of those thrash-sinister vids that captures the right atmos – low sophistication and max impact, just like the flicks we’ve already mentioned. Bit weird. Decent tune. Exhume.
JANE’S ADDICTION: Ted, Just Admit It
Right, we’ve had George Lynch and Dave Mustaine, but what connects them? Dave Navarro (yep) – they both appeared on Navarro’s guitar tutor videos online (well worth a look, ‘specially to see Dave N fail to master Dave M’s admittedly awesome spider-chord) – and so we might as well have a bit of Jane’s … might as well have Ted, Just Admit It. Detached and creepy and wrapped in Ted Bundy, it erupts as violently as the lyrics: art shocker. What a band.
CARCASS: Incarnated Solvent Abuse
Video. Black rubber. That’s all I’m saying, scared the shite outta ma younger self. Weirdly disturbing and low-budget effective, it’s a grindsome tempo shift with a guitar tone to die for. Or be suffocated by.
CELTIC FROST: Rex Irae (Requiem)
Haunting theatrics abound on 1987’s cold bold foray Into the Pandemonium, and none more than Rex Irae (Requiem) here as a half-dead sounding Tom G trades lines with afterlife siren Claudia-Maria Mokri over heavyweight orchestration.
DANZIG: Soul on Fire
Evil Elvis, Fonzig, whatever he’s been called he’s definitely a singer with a fine bag o’ween pipes, and there’s enough demon, possession and Samhain refs for some proper rocking out on All Hallows’ Eve. Not spooky, but it’s Danzig, right? It just fits. Got the attitude. In fact, you might as well just play the whole album from Twist of Cain right through to Evil Thing.
MOTORHEAD: Nightmare/The Dreamtime
The least-Motorhead track Motorhead ever did, except for the one that named the album that this track came from (1916). Semi-ambient, drumless, bassy, keyboardy and loaded with Lem-menace thanks to a fistfulla backwards masking (sign o’ the times). Golgotha, ace of spades, damn right.
METALLICA: The Small Hours
Check that opening. Tension? Ominosity? Double yes, that’s the soundtrack to Stalkerville Central and it’s backed by a predatory proto-grunge riff lurching outta the shadows of 1987. Still haven’t heard the original, mind.
MELVINS WITH JELLO BIAFRA: In Every Dream Home a Heartache
Hunter S Thompson said that when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Melvins have been pro all their lives, but on Everybody Loves Sausages they went for Roxy Music at their creepiest and outcreeped it by letting Jello Biafra do the vocals. Not only does he sound uncannily like Bryan Ferry – true, hear it here – but, being Biafra, he ups the sinisterism without even trying. Oh, and it’s heavy as a bastard as well.
WHITESNAKE: Still of the Night
Not cool enough? Seriously? Then here’s a lawless screamer to bang a final nail in a hairsome Halloween playlist before you load up a classic late-night film… Prince of Darkness, anyone?