Since we have some of the best writers on the planet here at Popdose, they of course are probably going to think outside of the box to come up with various ways to define the most disturbing, twisted, evil, or creepy music they’ve heard. On the other hand, I just cut a hole in that box, and I’m begging you to look inside.
I listen to lots and lots of metal. So when you start throwing out words like “evil” and “twisted,” it’s not hard to find that in my collection. I thought of going the evil route, but that seemed a little easy; I could give you any Deicide song and post a picture of singer Glen Benton with the inverted cross burnt into his head and just stop right there. Or I could’ve gone the twisted route by posting a Cannibal Corpse greatest-hits set and been done with it. Or I could’ve gone outside the box and posted tracks by BrokeNCYDE, who are scary because it disturbs me to think that four people have that little talent.
I’ve often mentioned to others how “creepy” a certain song is, so this seemed like the best path for me to choose. Below you have the soundtrack to your Halloween, because it’s time the adults have some fun as well. Do you live in a neighborhood where kids come to your door all night long looking for candy? Tired of it? Download these six tracks and play them on a loop out your front window, and next year the kids won’t be getting anywhere near your Smarties. But beware — they might just piss themselves when they hear what’s coming out of your little shop of horrors, so this year, instead of Tootsie Rolls, it might be best to hand out diapers. Just warning you.
And now, six of the creepiest songs ever written …
Deadsy, “Commencement” (download)
“Commencement” scared the crap out of me the first time I heard it, back in 1999. Most of Deadsy’s unreleased self-titled debut (1997) is pretty much along the lines of what you hear here: slow and synth heavy, with drum machines and keytars all over the place. It was one of those albums I found myself listening to a lot, in the dark, when I needed to unwind; my first listen to “Commencement” (off the first, unreleased version of Commencement, fromÂ ’99) was also in my room, lying on my bed, lights off. It was the very first song that ever really kind of made me shiver.
From the fade-in of the weird beats of the drum machine (which continue throughout the song) to the scary tone of P. Exeter Blue’s voice, this song makes you look under the bed once or twice before you go to sleep. I would absolutely recommend listening to it in the dark, turning it up loud and using good speakers, because it gets even creepier if you actually hear the faint synth sounds underneath the first verse, which to me sound like a bunch of possessed little children mumbling something in the distant fog.
You know what else is scary? Deadsy’s music is made in part by someone who came out of Cher’s vagina (presumably): P. Exeter Blue is Elijah Blue Allman, the son of Cher and Gregg Allman.
Danzig, “Sadistikal” (download)
“Sadistikal” comes from Danzig 4P, my favorite album in Glenn Danzig’s catalog and probably the darkest of any of the albums recorded under his surname. It’s pretty stark musically and requires an open mind to enjoy, but it was tough to expect to hear “Sadistikal” in the middle. The creepy and angry vocals, as if muted through a megaphone, punctuated by music that sounds like a gaggle of ghosts and the continuous noise of a whip being cracked in the background, make this sound purely scary. And while I’m not usually a lyrics kind of guy, it’s hard to ignore these lines:
Deep in your eyes
I know they lie
As the night must die
To give birth to the day
So must all who die
To borne a hatred
Until now unknown
Every hell I know
I will make you feel
Deep, deep down you go
My love is your hell
To suffer and cherish
Deep, deep down in your soul
My love is your hell
Celtic Frost, “A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh” (download)
Starting here, you’re going to see a pattern of what really scares me: unearthly wails coming from the mouths of human beings. Those Cookie Monster vocals of death metal don’t do anything to scare me, but let out a wail as if you have the devil inside, trying to bust out, and you’ve got me. “A Dying God” was off Celtic Frost’s 2006 reunion album (after which they broke up for the second time), Monotheist. It’s around the two-minute mark where I was really startled the first time I listened to this, and it still kind of shakes me up to this day. The guttural wail of the lyrics “Frozen is heaven and frozen is hell / And I am dying in this living human shell” as delivered by Martin Eric Ain just gave me shivers again. And it was released as a single. A single!
Nine Inch Nails, “Erased, Over. Out” (download)
Trent Reznor is one of my favorite artists of all time and I listen to some “out there” music, but some of his early remixed stuff even I can’t get into. His newer remixed material tends to lean towards the dancier more structured end of the spectrum where his early remix albums tend to be of a more experimental nature. 1992’s Fixed EP, a remix of his Broken EP from earlier in the year, is almost unlistenable to me as it’s a shit ton of harsh noise. His remix album(s) for the classic The Downward Spiral, titled Further Down the Spiral, didn’t get any less weird thanks to remixes from some of the same artists on Fixed: J.G. Thirlwell (Foetus) and legendary experimental musicians Coil, whose contribution you hear here. It’s frankly amazing to me how much these guys could get out of the word “Erase” slowed down and extended, many times to the point where it doesn’t even sound like a word anymore. This song may only be six minutes long but it feels like 20 (and that’s a good thing).
Khanate, “Commuted” (download)
It took me until this June to finally pick up some music from Khanate. I had heard about them for a while thanks to being a fan of doom and drone metal but they didn’t really register on my radar until I starting looking into the works of the man who is probably considered the king of drone, Stephen O’Malley. One of the things I find fascinating about drone metal is how any human being can be interested in playing four notes for 24 minutes. One day, I’m going to make it to a drone metal concert just to see what the hell that scene is like. I of course exaggerate (only slightly) when I say it’s simply four notes because if you’re a fan you start to notice the subtleties of held notes, feedback and well placed single drum beats to act a buffer between parts that seem to jut out from left field at times. However, none of those things matter when your vocalist is Alan Dubin who sounds like he’s being tortured when he sings. I’ve never heard anything quite like Dubin’s nightmare-inducing vocals; the only person that I can think of that comes even close is Mike Patton on one of this more experimental days. “RED GLORY!”
Sunn O))), “Cursed Realms (Of the Winterdemons)” (download)
Simply pronounced “Sun” if you didn’t know, this happens to be the main project of Stephen O’Malley along with Greg Anderson (Goatsnake). Most people trace the origin of Drone Doom back to the early ‘90s with a band called Earth. While they may be the godfathers, Sunn O))) is the most well known leader in the genre and have taken it to a whole new level. They, along with pretty much any drone band are an acquired taste and while I’m the type of guy who likes to push people to listen to things outside of their comfort zone and expand their horizons a bit, even I won’t push this on anyone. Sunn O))) records can be rewarding, frustrating, beautiful and disturbing, sometimes all at once. Many of their tracks have sparse words or phrases here or there and many simply seem to just be one note held for minutes at a time. But I’ve come to enjoy them over the years though I usually only put them on when I just need to get away from things.
I vividly remember listening to this track for the first time a little over a year ago — September 25, 2008 — seven days after my son was born. My wife and son had come down with some infection during the birth and were stuck in the hospital. I had remained there with them for days and on this day I was heading home to get some sleep in a real bed. I was about a mile away from the hospital when “Cursed Realms” came on. The minute those agonizing screams came on, I literally jumped in my seat. This isn’t even an original. It’s a cover of a song by the black metal group Immortal. It’s kind of odd to think that someone outside of that genre could take a black metal song and actually make it creepier. However, to this day, I still think Sunn O)))’s “Cursed Realms (Of the Winterdemons)” is the scariest song ever recorded.