Part two of all the albums that didn’t make the cut, straight off the top of my head! They only get weirder from here!
Onward, to spookums! It’s Hallowe’en!
Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of War of the Worlds
If you weren’t aware that there’s a Prog-Rock, Disco, Rock Opera version of War of the Worlds, you sure are now. What it lacks in Orson Welles it makes in total commitment to the bit: War of the Worlds is an hour and a half of goofy sci-fi thrills backed by some surprisingly great song writing. Did you ever want to hear the aliens sing? Now you can! A
And make sure to look up the booklet art, it’s perfect 70’s sci-fi.
Blood Ceremony – The Eldritch Dark
Toronto’s Blood Ceremony are nowhere as scary as they look, but they’re much, much more fun. With a name like a metal band you’d never guess that they’re halfway between Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull, but here we are. Their own label refers to them as Witch Rock, and if that isn’t enough to sell you on them, I don’t know what will.
Check out 2016’s Lords of Misrule too, but my first love with always be The Eldritch Dark because it opens with their finest hour: “Witchwood”.
Church of Misery – And Then There Were None
If you’re looking for something completely different, why not Japanese Doom Metal? Church of Misery is aptly named: every one of their songs is themed (and named!) after a serial killer. While their songwriter is apparently obsessed with murder, the band themselves play an excellent form of heavy, psychedelic Doom. If you’re looking for a band that take themselves dead seriously, pick an album and have at it: they’re consistent as hell and their discography goes back over 20 years.
The wonderful thing about The Cramps is that you can start basically anywhere in their discography – Lux Interior’s particular brand of bizarro rockabilly surf-rock never really ages. With his wife Poison Ivy on guitar, Lux wrote two-minute long b-movies in Blues form, then performed them with a breathless energy that would later go on to provide the foundation for Psychobilly.
A great Cramps song is like a great dive bar: messy, unpredictable and unhinged. If you’re new to the Cramps start literally anywhere – just don’t forget your 70’s issue LSD. If you aren’t new to the Cramps, maybe check out that one time Lux and the Cramps played Spongebob as The Bird Brains.
David Lynch – Crazy Clown Time
You know how David Lynch films can be confusing, traumatic, incomprehensible and always seem to take place in black and white – even when they’re in colour? His music sounds exactly the same way. David Lynch might be writing a blues record here, but really who knows – nothing on Crazy Clown Time would sound out of place in the background of one of his own films. It might be a concept album, it might just be a set of shifting, formless nightmares. It’s definitely a wild ride.
Like everything else Lynch does, his music is totally baffling and absolutely gripping. Yes, he sings. At very least, give “Pinky’s Dream” a shot. You’ll see.
Japanese Folk Metal
Folk metal intermission! You get exactly one guess what kind of music these guys play. Yes Japanese Folk Metal is the name of the album, and the band, and the style.
Plus, the lead singer is wearing little ogre horns. I love that.
This song is about getting drunk on blood – or maybe just getting drunk in general. It’s a great introduction to their style. These guys are fantastic, and I dare you to name the last time you saw a band having this much fun:
S U R V I V E – RR7400 : LA041717
Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein made their name recording the Stranger Things soundtrack, but their music truly shines with their own band, S U R V I V E. RR7400 : LA041717 is a live album, though with a group like this who would know – SURVIVE are 21st century synthesizer wizards, crafting menacing soundscapes on the fly, imbued with an uncommon sense of narrative and emotion.
For all your instrumental synthesizer needs, skip the Stranger Things OST and go straight to the source.
GOST – NON PARADISI
Gost made his name by taking the pulsing Horror Synthwave of acts like Perturbator and Carpenter Brut and sharpening their sound to a point. Gost is a Metal artist under that rubber mask and it shows. Tracks like “Commencement” scream out the gate with suffocating, overwhelming walls of sound. He’s a rare talent in an overstuffed field, and a worthy addition to any heavy Hallowe’en soundtrack.
Ghost – Meliora
Ghost, not to be confused with Gost, are the party-metal Satanic rock band of your dreams. Largely the work of one man (the shapeshifting Father), they blend a keen melodic ear to over-the-top Satan worship in a way that is irresistibly catchy. Their cover of “Here Comes The Sun” isn’t on Spotify, but it’s an absolute must-hear. It tells you everything you need to know about Ghost’s sound: they live at the exact crossroads of Metal and Pop. It’s no wonder they’re such a sensation.
Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party
Before he became the go-to composer for every film in existence (over 100 scores!), Danny Elfman fronted the world’s weirdest New Wave band. If you ever wanted to hear Jack Skellington front a rock band, now’s your chance. Oingo Boingo are critically underrated, and more than that, fun as hell. Come on down to the Dead Man’s Party, it’s Hallowe’en after all.
After the total collapse of Crystal Castles (good! good riddance!), Alice Glass struck out on her own to create a genuinely terrifying, abrasive new form of Industrial-tinged Electropop. Her new music isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re looking for something heavier and darker this year that isn’t metal, I can’t recommend it enough. Liberated from Crystal Castles, Glass proves she was the heart of that group anyways. She’s a force to be reckoned with.
Here, she can tell you herself:
45 Grave – Sleep In Safety
The first song 45 Grave ever released was “Riboflavin Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Poly-Unsaturated Blood” in 1980. That tells you just about everything you need to know about one of Death Rock’s pioneers. Come for the Riboflavin, stay for “Surf Bat” and the original, astonishingly dark version of their classic “Partytime”, as heard in a way-lighter form on the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack.
“Riboflavin” wouldn’t sound out of place in a particularly dark episode of Scooby-Doo, and I love it for that.
The Birthday Massacre – Walking With Strangers
I’ll always have a special place in my heart for London, Ontario’s dreamy, ethereal Birthday Massacre. While their greater acclaim would come later, 2007’s Walking with Strangers is the heaviest they’d ever get. Songs like “Red Star” balance their Gothiest New Wave fantasies with their metal influences in a way the band would never quite return to. Walking With Strangers holds up thirteen years later as a perfect Darkwave nightmare.
To be combined with blacklights, candles and black skinny jeans.
Balzac – Beyond The Darkness
It wouldn’t be Hallowe’en without Balzac. Japan’s original genre-agnostic Horrorpunk band combines Noise Rock, Industrial and Punk to become something like the Misfits if they fell through a wormhole and absorbed all the bands they’d later influence. The effect is only enhanced when Balzac cover’s the Misfits themselves: Danzig’s wo-oah choruses become shout-alongs for the audience, Jerry Only’s basslines are dragged out into noisy instrumental suites, and all the tempos are doubled. Balzac take the Misfits’ Horrorpunk sound as marching orders and drag it out to its logical extreme, revitalizing a sound Misfits themselves abandoned a million years ago.
Now if only Balzac would come back from the dead.
Danzig – Danzig
Danzig wasn’t Glenn Danzig’s first band after Misfits – that was Samhain. But after three years under that name, Danzig himself decided to drop all pretense: after all, he’d always been the glowing center of his own music, so why not name the band after himself, too? Thus, Danzig by Danzig was born.
The only thing Danzig the album is missing from its parade of total self indulgence is a track also named “Danzig”. If Glenn Danzig had a song named “Danzig” on his album Danzig by the band Danzig, I would lose my fucking mind. What’s a hat trick called when there’s four of it?
In case there was any doubt, Danzig also named his next three albums Danzig (II, III and IV, respectively). The man knows branding. His total narcissism is a big part of what makes Danzig so fun – there’s self-awareness there, but it’s buried so deep under the artifice of his spooky Elvis-inspired metal band that it disappears completely. I love Danzig because it’s just like Hallowe’en itself. It’s ridiculous, self-indulgent, self-satisfied and an absolute riot from start to finish.
Danzig 1 captures the band before they begin to stumble over their own brand, and before Danzig’s voice begins to crack from decades of scream-crooning. It’s a perfect time capsule and the perfect accompaniment to any Hallowe’en proceedings. If you’re laughing, you’re having fun. And that’s the point.
…In case you think I’m kidding or being unfair to Danzig (how!), who could forget the greatest, horniest music video of all time?
Be like Danzig: gorge yourself on candy. Show off your costume, be goofy. Hallowe’en only comes once a year.
Holy smokes that was a lot of music! If you’re somehow craving more,
take a serious look in the mirror why not hop aboard the spooky music train with the Longest Hallowe’en playlist? It’s six and a half hours of non-stop thrills, chills and kills, featuring just about every band above and so, so many more.