In tribute to our favourite holiday, we’ve stuck 13 songs in our cauldron and mixed them up for your delight. Stick this on when Halloween comes calling and you won’t be disappointed.
Links to the songs can be found at the bottom of the page.
The Misfits — ‘Halloween.’
Ripper: We’ve decided to open our Halloween mixtape with the most iconic horrorpunk track of all time. It’s true that the Misfits weren’t the same when Danzig left, and this is just one reason why he is the definitive Misfits frontman. From lyrics about hanging cats on poles to the eerie calls of ‘Halloween!’ by Danzig himself, this is just one creepy song.
ninthandash: This has got to be the first song that comes to mind when someone asks me to make a Halloween mix. The atmosphere the song creates is fantastic, and the lyrics work really well even though they’re quite simple. Halloween is a must at any Halloween party; easy to dance to and still with that edge of horror punk that the Misfits are known for.
A.F.I. — ‘The Nephilim.’
Ripper: Where would a Halloween list be without AFI? Professed lovers of all things dark and eerie, AFI usually have at least one song on their albums with something to do with the night. The Nephilim is the story of a man who compares himself to a fallen angel. References to Lucifer (the devil, if you were wondering), anyone? The opening bass riff sends shivers down my spine too.
ninthandash: The Art of Drowning featured a darker horror punk sound than A.F.I.’s earlier releases, and The Nephilim embodies that. The song always seems much shorter than it actually is, due to the fast pace and heavy drums, but altogether it adds up to over two minutes of Havok’s powerful singing. “Like an angel with broken wings, reach to the sky again,” is the strongest message here, and Halloween for me would not be the same without The Nephilim blasting from the stereo.
Resurex — ‘Dia de los Muertos.’
Ripper: Even the title is spooky. There’s just something about Spanish and Halloween that seems to click. Add some slow psychobilly with a pretty apparent echo effect and then a dirty riff kicking in after about a minute and you’ve got yourself an instant wrecking pit. Even Daniel DeLeon’s blood is running cold.
ninthandash: I think Dia de los Muertos has one of the most amazing intros. Laid back while heavy and atmospheric, the build up is tense and a perfect lead up into the more fast paced and energetic verses. The low-toned vocals fit the song perfectly, and don’t detract from the effect at all, rather adding to it. The abrupt change in tempo from slow to fast catches the attention of the listener quickly, and the unique sound means that I’m always captive from beginning to end.
Tiger Army — ‘Power of Moonlite.’
ninthandash: The guitars in this song are definitely a key part. They take the listener on a rollercoaster ride through the song, with Nick 13’s frenzied vocals adding another level to an already strong song. Psychobilly isn’t one of my favourite genres, but Tiger Army always do it so well that I can’t help enjoying this almost haunting song.
Ripper: Psychobilly is certainly my music of choice for Halloween, so we’ve chosen a track from one of the most well known psychobilly acts of our time. Tiger Army often offer up relatively spooky tracks, but the title track from their second album is one of the creepiest. Is Nick 13 a secret werewolf? We’ll never know.
Madness — ‘House of Fun.’
Ripper: Okay, so this is a bit of an odd one, I’ll admit. The chorus key change certainly sounds a bit horrific though. A classic tale of how coming of age isn’t usually all it’s cracked up to be, combined with some pretty awesome trumpets.
ninthandash: I love this song. When I was younger, I used to hear this song and something about it always struck a chord with me. It scared me even then, the upbeat melody having a tinge of horror hidden beneath it — reminding me always of funfairs, with the brightly coloured rides and clowns seeming to hide something darker. Even though it at first seems like nothing more than a fun, catchy song, this song is definitely one of the creepiest for me.
I Am Ghost — ‘Dark Carnival of the Immaculate.’
Ripper: Another song with allusions to the funfair, this opens with a really haunting carnival theme. Pure and simple, this song is about vampires, the classic Halloween bad guys. Juliano’s screams and wails create the perfect atmosphere and Kerith Telestai’s violins set it off just right.
ninthandash: Like Ripper said, the funfair theme is very strong in this, and something about the carnival theme always sends a chill down my spine. The song opens up a new world, one that not many people would be happy to inhabit, and I find the imagery very strong in this. It always definitely gets me thinking about Halloween night, and all the chaos that comes along with it.
Sufjan Stevens — ‘John Wayne Gacy Jr.’
ninthandash: For me, this is one of those songs that I enjoy, but wouldn’t want to think about too much. The lyrics aren’t explicit and perhaps even all the more effective for being so; Stevens hints at the real truth of it while hiding it well enough that on first listen, the song comes across like any other quiet instrumental melody.
Ripper: It’s a song about a serial killer who dressed up like a clown. Enough said.
Alkaline Trio — ‘Back To Hell.’
Ripper: They’re members of the Church of Satan, they write songs about murder and they’re some of our favourite little hellraisers. That’s right, it’s the Trio. They’ve tasted heaven and don’t want any more in Back To Hell, a fast and furious tribute to the devil.
ninthandash: Strong, loud and yet melodic in that distinctive way that only the Trio seem able to constantly do, and do well. Fast build ups make way for slower verses in a way that keeps you guessing as to what exactly is going to come next, reflecting the nature of Halloween perfectly. The chorus is catchy and fun and Trio songs very rarely manage to disappoint — this among them. Always worth a listen.
Protest The Hero — ‘Bloodmeat.’
Ripper: Everything about this song is scary. The dissonant opening riff, the shrieking vocals and those lyrics about cold hearted slaughter… and rape. Don’t forget those raped virgins.
ninthandash: I absolutely adore Protest The Hero and this song has got to be one of my favourite by them. They never fail to blow my mind, and showcase their skills to the max. Different and innovative, the song creates an amazing presence and the band always manage to deliver. Bloodmeat is a Halloween song like no other; cold, brutal and so fucking hardcore.
Social Distortion — ‘Mommy’s Little Monster.’
Ripper: This song is every parent’s worst nightmare, showing us the pitfalls of the rebellious teenager. It’s not scary in a Halloween sense of the word, and the typical Californian punk melodies set you at ease. Maybe that’s what’s really scary.
ninthandash: Just like a punk song should be; fast, epic and loud!
The Fall of Troy — ‘The Dark Trail.’
ninthandash: Sometimes Fall of Troy can be a little ridiculous, trying too hard to be something new, but with The Dark Trail they manage to stay on the right side of the line between enjoyable and too much. The only negative side of this is that perhaps at over four minutes, it overstays its welcome at parts. However, it’s still a dark, creepy song and one that is definitely not out of place on Halloween night.
Ripper: The Fall Of Troy always produce relatively unsettling songs. Whether it’s the unnerving falsetto, the cookie monster screams or the dischord of the guitars, something’s not right about The Fall Of Troy. The Dark Trail is no exception. Teenage rebellion gone to the extreme, with more than a hint of recreational drug use meets mind blowing riffs and terrifying vocals in this one.
Rancid — ‘Maxwell Murder.’
Ripper: Maxwell might not be Jack The Ripper, but he’s certainly a bad lad, and Rancid know it. It’s simply beautiful punk rock, with more than a casual sneer attached. Not to mention, Matt Freeman’s bass solo is just fantastic.
ninthandash: Telling the story of Maxwell, Rancid do it fast and do it well. No time to get bored, the song just carries you away, spitting lyrics and abuse at you in equal measure. Fast, heavy and like a punch to the gut, Maxwell Murder leaves no doubt about the felon himself and just what he’s capable of.
Send More Paramedics — ‘Blood Fever.’
Ripper: And to end our Halloween mix, we’ve got some ZOMBIEXCORE! Every horror movie fan’s favourite, SMP’s song about turning into a zombie just set us off. It’s hardcore at its most bone crushingly awesome, and is guaranteed to get every ghoul throwing down on the dance floor. Plus, this features some of the best gang vocals I’ve ever heard.
ninthandash: I wish Send More Paramedics were still around because this song shows just how refreshing and different they were, while still retaining the elements of hardcore and, at that, zombiecore that they were so well known for. One of my favourite songs on this mix, and definitely a good one to end it with.
Honourable mention goes to…
Those Panic At The Disco boys with their charming ode to the dark night, It’s Almost Halloween. This video is so adorable it just plain fails to scare. Enjoy!
Find these songs here…
Misfits – Halloween
AFI – The Nephilim
Rezurex – Dia De Los Muertos
Tiger Army – Power Of Moonlite
Madness – House Of Fun
I Am Ghost – Dark Carnival Of The Immaculate
Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy Jr
Alkaline Trio – Back To Hell
Protest The Hero – Bloodmeat
Social Distortion – Mommy’s Little Monster
The Fall Of Troy – The Dark Trail
Rancid – Maxwell Murder
Send More Paramedics – Blood Fever