Halloween is coming up this Friday (in case you forgot), so if you're looking for some spooky music to play at your Halloween party, or just something to play around the house that night for some atmosphere, check out these 13 albums.
1. Black Sabbath - Master of Reality (1971)
Any Black Sabbath album could conceivably make this list, but Master of Reality is the single purest document of the band's sludgy, doom-laden metal. In particular, "Children of the Grave" is in Black Sabbath's top five greatest songs, possibly even their greatest.
2. Misfits - Collections I & II (1986/1995)
This one is a bit of a cheat, because not only are these two different albums, they're also compilations. Still, the Misfits' two Collection albums offer the most comprehensive look at the band's groundbreaking horror punk style, with short, furious, yet melodic songs about ghouls, zombies, aliens, and Halloween itself.
3. The Cramps - Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980)
While the Misfits were churning out horror-themed hardcore punk, the Cramps were doing the same thing with rockabilly, taking guitar riffs that could have been sung by Buddy Holly or Carl Perkins and running them through distortion pedals, with lyrics about werewolves and zombies.
4. Christian Death - Only Theatre of Pain (1982)
How could a band called "Christian Death" be anything other than horrifying? Their debut album Only Theatre of Pain takes the spacious atmosphere and simplicity of Joy Division and filters it through a more gothic and perverse lens (perhaps not coincidentally, Christian Death singer Rozz Williams and Joy Division singer Ian Curtis both took their own lives in the same way).
5. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - From Her To Eternity (1984)
An album with both a Leonard Cohen cover and an Elvis Presley cover might not seem like the spookiest thing in the world, but during his '80s period, Nick Cave was absolutely terrifying. Before he was singing piano ballads about PJ Harvey's hair, Cave was screeching and moaning his way through meandering, atonal post-punk compositions like a goth-rock Jim Morrison.
6. Slayer - Reign in Blood (1986)
Out of thrash metal's Big Four, Slayer was by far the most brutal and demonic, and Reign in Blood is their greatest achievement. If there's only one day a year where it's socially acceptable to blast "Angel of Death" while driving around an otherwise quiet neighborhood, it's Halloween.
7. Death - Leprosy (1988)
If for some reason Reign in Blood isn't brutal enough for you, check out Death's sophomore album Leprosy instead, one of the earliest and finest death metal albums. While Reign in Blood was recorded by Rick Rubin with a completely dry, up-front sound, the reverb that covers Leprosy makes it sound like it's roaring up from the depths of Hell.
8. Slint - Spiderland (1991)
While a lot of the other albums on this list are creepy in a fun Halloween way, Spiderland is simply creepy. From the dissonant guitar riffs to the sudden explosions of metal catharsis to the mumbling, barely audible vocals, it's one of the most unsettling albums you'll ever hear. In fact, the album is so intense that one of the band members checked themselves in to a psych-ward after recording it.
9. Type O Negative - Bloody Kisses (1993)
Though Type O Negative is often classified as a metal band, their gothic atmospheres and melodic songwriting give them much more in common with the Cure than Slayer. If you wish The Cure were heavier and more consistently doomy, however, Type O Negative is your band, and Bloody Kisses is their best album.
10. Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep (1994)
If you're more of a hip-hop fan than a rock fan, 6 Feet Deep by Gravediggaz is an album you should check out for Halloween. It was co-produced by RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan, who takes Wu-Tang's already creepy production and pushes it to an off-kilter, cartoonishly spooky extreme.
11. The Ghastly Ones - A-Haunting We Will Go-Go (1998)
If all surf rock sounded like the Ghastly Ones, it would probably be the only music I'd ever listen to. Their debut album A-Haunting We Will Go-Go basically sounds like the soundtrack to a horror movie set at Vincent Price's Malibu beach house.
12. Frightmare - Midnight Murder Mania (2003)
Almost all of the songs from Frightmare's guttural debut album Midnight Murder Mania are named after classic slasher films, complete with creepy audio samples from the same films, so this album was pretty much made for Halloween. The fact that the album closes with a Misfits cover only cements this.
13. Scott Walker - The Drift (2006)
The reason why I described Slint's Spiderland as one of the most unsettling albums you'll ever hear and not the most unsettling is because Scott Walker's The Drift exists. This is an album that sounds like it was made to make you unhappy, an album that somehow takes that goofy Donald Duck voice and turns it into the stuff of nightmares.
What are some other great albums for Halloween? Let us know down in the comments section!