What’s that creaking and groaning? Ghosts? Vamps? Haunted floorboards?

No. It’s a barrel being scraped … welcome to a Halloween playlist that doesn’t even have a proper theme. Last year we had a bunch of creep-o cover versions, now we’re just repeating a formula – metallic spook ’em up tunes, retro-naff rock vids, seasonal nostalgia, you know the score – and beating it into a shallow grave, just like any good slasher film franchise.

But what mood are we going for this Halloween? Let’s use album cover art as yardsticks. If we get it right, we have something that feels as good as this artwork looks:

the right vibe

If we get it a bit wrong, it feels like this:

not right, is it?

And if we get it disastrously wrong…


Let the music begin.

SECRET CHIEFS 3 – UR – Pesonnae: Halloween Mix III
Holy disco volante! Mr Bungle have a new album out TODAY, twenty bloody years after the last one and it couldn’t be better timed, so let’s use that event to milk a Trey Spruance connection – let’s fill our sweetless buckets with this, a Season of the Glitch version of the mother of all chiller theme tunes. Thank you Secret Chiefs 3.

CATHEDRAL – Funeral of Dreams
Halloween nights are damp. And draughty. And nothing captures damp draughts quite like Cathedral. Must be the flares. Obviously, they’ve got oodles of doom crawlers in their back catalogue but that’s not what we want today – we want some sort of pulse, not flatlines, and this little tinker has an unholy blend of right-on riffage, ghost choir, church bells and general tippy-toe creepabouts. Sorted.

ADAM AND THE ANTS – Ants Invasion
Nothing builds tension quite like a man running away from … ants. Does it? Erm … anyway, check the terror elements packed into this deeper Wild Frontier cut: scratchy-ominous guitar motif. Time running out. Wrong decisions. A lifeless man, a strange incision. Fear. ANTS. Fucking ants, man. Biting guitars, mind.

Dopethrone is more celebrated, but Come My Fanatics is more B-movie, and right now we’re all about the low budgets. And tiny drums. And a Hammer House Satan opening his bowels in the background. A double-wizard bonus, does it get any more Halloween than this?

HELLOWEENKids of the Century
Helloween aren’t remotely Halloween, except their track Halloween (which is totally Halloween but a bit long. Great intro though). Anyway, the metal pumpkins are here, as are fried egg eyes, forks, bloody hands, floating guitars and shite-knows-what. YES.

You can’t beat a slow thrash for maximum intensity … hang on what is this, S&M Weekly? NO. It’s Slayer, crushing bones with their super slow serial killer intro thing. No kinks in this one.

CLIPPING – Nothing is Safe
You know when you watch a fire and get mesmerised by the flames, so much so that you don’t realise you’re getting closer and closer until you smell your own eyebrows burning? That’s a bit what this is like. All hail Clipping.

ALICE COOPER – (He’s Back) The Man Behind the Mask
It’s hard to believe that videos like this ever got made, such is their monumental shitness. But they did, and all Halloweens from then on are eternally grateful. Aren’t we? [Smashed pottery spoiler alert: HE’S OUT OF CONTROL].

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, see you in the Last Crack Sinister Funkhouse. No?


In my Boris write-up the other day I made reference to the music fan’s buzz of stumbling across an unknown album – in other words, a find.

Well, this week I was reminded of a different but no less satisfying buzz that shocks us every now and again – unexpected uber-heaviness on the radio, like when (for those who were there) Harvester of Sorrow got an airing in the Top 40 and it gave you a four-day high because one of YOUR BANDS had broken into the charts for the first time ever.

This week’s radio buzz was a bit like that.

Stuart Maconie’s Freakzone on BBC 6Music is my must-listen radio programme, and which molten heaviness descends from our beloved DAB on Sunday evening?

I, the Witchfinder, by Electric Wizard.

WOAAARRRRRRR! Maconie’s only got Dopethrone – yes, bloody DOPETHRONE – as his featured album this week (soon to be last week coz there are only a few hours left to listen again on t’iplayer).

Now I’m taking this as a sign, an omen, a Dorset-sized kick up the you-know to finally get this little feature – called TAPED – off the notepad and into the blog. It might end up being unsustainable, or a fistful of cack, or both and/or worse, but we’ll get it started anyway.

TAPED. What is it?

TAPED is stuff from the radio that’s caught my ear, simple as that. In other words, the things you’d tape if you were still taping* (now is the time to check the thing of beauty splashed across the top of this page).

As I said, Freakzone is my source for getting turned on to new stuff. Not necessarily new by release date, but new to the ears. It’s not a rock show – far from it. It’s anything outside the mainstream … obscure prog, 70s fusion, avant rock, field recordings, free jazz, anything really, but it’s not Wire obscure either. The old stuff is as bold as the new so, in the spirit of discovery and general music fan-dom, why not a share a few new names and bits of music news?

That’s what TAPED will attempt. Next time we’ll get straight into the music but now, here are the Feb 2nd Freakzone highlights:

PORT SULPHUR – The Faith Healer, featuring Jock Scot. Sleazy industrial disco with guitars.

MUMPBEAK – Forlock. Track of the week! Crimson-sinister prog with Slint air of well-heavy dread. Who Mumpbeak? Dunno, but Bill Laswell and Tony Levin are among ‘em.

ALARM WILL SOUND – Cliffs. Non-electronic arrangement of Aphex’s opening drift on  Selected Ambient Works Volume II.

And of course, ELECTRIC WIZARD’S DOPETHRONE, an unusually metal choice to even get played on this show but to be elevated to the status of featured album???? No complaints here though.

*I am still taping. A bit.