Music Recs: Songs for Samhain

October is coming to an end. It is time to retire This is Halloween and Monster Mash from your Halloween playlists this year, for fresher tracks on monsters, ghouls, sharp knives, and loaded guns. Life’s no fun without a good scare and duller still, without good music. Have fun with these six horror-inspired picks from the 2000s. Do share your own recommendations below. x

American Murder Song – Jenny Was A Friend of Mine

Not enough people have seen Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich’s Repo! The Genetic Opera, which deserved more love than it received. The passion project has since paved way for other equally underrated ventures, such as American Murder Song. This murder ballad collection is the brainchild of Zdunich and his co-writer of The Devil’s Carnival Saar Hendelman. Therein lies an excellent cover of Jenny Was a Friend of Mine, originally by… The Killers. (Sorry)

We took a walk that night
But it wasn’t the same
We had a fight on the promenade
Out in the rain

She said she loved me
But she had somewhere to go
She couldn’t scream while I held her close
I swore I’d never let her go


Ghost – Dance Macabre

Is there any question that Ghost would make the list? Their entire discography is the perfect playlist to any Halloween party that values the spirit of fun. Romance gets a blood-red twist in Dance Macabre, which unites Papa Emeritus and Sister Imperator in Transylvania. Their morbid song is apparently inspired by The Black Plague, when people had “partied like there was no tomorrow because they were going to die.” Lovely.

It keeps on giving me chills
But I know now
I feel the closer we get
To the last vow

I don’t wanna end like this
But the sting in the way you kiss me
Something within your eyes
Said it could be the last time, ‘fore it’s over

Zeal & Ardor – Devil is Fine

Experimental outfit Zeal & Ardor reimagines the origins of blues music with a devillish twist, introducing black metal into the spiritual genre. What began as a joke, ended up being one of 2018’s best original albums Stranger Fruit. In The Devil is Fine, the culprit Manuel Gagneux has had visible fun embracing fictional Satanism, inviting controversy as good art often does.

Little one better find your way now
Devil is fine
Little one better find your way out
Devil is kind

Little one better run for your life
Devil is fine
Little one where you going with that knife?
Devil is kind

In This Moment – Oh Lord

Southern Gothic gets a heavy revamp once more. With Oh Lord, In This Moment marks yet another brilliant attempt at metal-infused blues, asking for forgiveness while admitting allegiance to the Devil. In her search for salvation, Maria Brink delivers a wholly enjoyable hymnal confession, which as a bonus, is possibly most cathartic for heathens.

Oh Lord won’t you save me
Save me from my soul
Oh lord won’t you forgive me
For I have lost control

Oh lord won’t you tell me
Am I the righteous or the damned?
Oh Lord won’t you please hear me
Do I obey or do I command

iDKHOW – Choke

I Don’t Know How But They Found Me is Dallon Weekes and Ryan Seaman, who have accurately described themselves as a band out of time. The retro-pop duo takes their band name from Doc Brown’s proclamation, though their lyrics seem to have come from a much darker place. Contrary to the vibes of their euphoric sound, Choke has nothing but murder on its mind, served up with a side of groove.

Stop, drop, and drag me into place
And lock the fire escapes
I’ll break your pretty face

Oh, you clever little things
The sycophantic teens
What a precious basket case

Marilyn Manson – God’s Gonna Cut You Down

To end this list on a reassuring note, Marilyn Manson has released his timely take on traditional folk song God’s Gonna Cut You Down. A preacher he is not; this is a warning from the Devil himself. In his own creepy way, he stares deep into your souls with a rifle in hand, telling of God’s inevitable judgement that always comes for the sinners, sooner or later.

Well, you may throw your rock and hide your hand
Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What’s down in the dark will be brought to the light

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