Halloween is a week away, and Cradle of Filth‘s legendary vocalist, Dani Filth, has shared his thirteen essential albums for the holiday online today. Here’s his introduction, “First off I’d like to bid you all welcome to my 13 essential albums for Halloween. Secondly, I’d like to say that this is my list. Just my humble opinion and not yours. So please no after-the-fact comments about ‘why is this song not on it?’ and ‘why is that song not on there?’ I don’t honestly care. It’s my f**king list! So with that said fervent pop-pickers, let’s pull back the blood-red curtain and unveil the stage…”
Samhain – November Coming Fire
Every year without fail, like the leaves falling from the trees, and whether out on tour or nesting in my cobwebbed Victorian dwelling, this album gets total religious airing. Why? The title pretty much says it all. It embodies everything there is about the great crepuscular Season of the Dead and showcases it midway through the record in ‘Let The Day Begin’ which takes a serious dark turn into ‘Hallowe’en II’ (a dirtier dirgier version of the Misfits’ classic), which then culminates in the anthemic title track. Glen Danzig is a bit of a hero for me in music and Samhain are the Misfits on a dissonant, creepier goth-tinged juncture to Danzig the band. As the headline title states, this is essential Hallowe’en listening.
Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break The Oath
King Diamond is another iconic frontman that I favour and in some bizarre twist of fate, this was one of the first Metal albums I ever owned. In fact, I was so taken with this album I actually believed that there were real ghosts singing on it. And stormy, windswept nights in rural England would find my fiends and I listening to this album with the light’s out and smoking cigarettes from my bedroom window. Everybody bangs on about the previous album Melissa -especially Metallica- but I think this record is superior in every way, from its insanely creepy production, to the intricacy and haunting melody of the songs, to King’s soaring falsetto that brings to mind Witches up to absolutely no good on the Brocken. And as I’ve always said, if it’s not Brocken, don’t try and fix it!
Emperor -In The Nightside Eclipse
Only the bloody best Black metal album in existence! Absolutely gargantuan and dripping in atmosphere (the soaring choirs and keyboards behind the maelstrom are unearthly), Emperor on this album are like a ravaging vampiric shit-storm unleashed from the churning bowels of Hell. Ignore the sometimes burial swathe of the production, it only lends itself to the beautiful turmoil of the music; an organic, moonlit phantasmagoria underlit in darksome Disney colours. Like Chernabog roaring atop Bare Mountain.
Type O Negative – Bloody Kisses
I first discovered this onyx gem when our record company guy possessed a four-track advance CD way back in ’93 and like every other fish who fell under their spell, I was hooked. Like Herman Munster crooning over an erotically gothic musical landscape that is as once designated by sound effects as it is noted, the first single ‘Black no 1’ became an instant Goth anthem. Even the Seals and Croft classic ‘Summer Breeze’ gets the Munster’s treatment, turning it from a Summery feel-good hit into an epic love song for monsters. And as much as I love the noisy post-industrial intermissions and the hardcore sarcasm, this is a Hallowe’en top 13, so best opt for the re-release with these bits removed in favour of ’Suspended In Dusk’, a nine-minute morose vampire ballad. And I will never forget the tour COF undertook with the band back in 2003. An absolute riot start to finish! RIP Peter Steele.
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Soundtrack (Danny Elfman)
It’s just not Hallowe’en without something a bit fun and ghoulish for the kids, and I’m not talking razorblades and candy cane. This has got to be every Goth’s favourite animation. ‘This is Hallowe’en, Hallowe’en, Hallowe’en!’
Paradise Lost – Gothic
The Autumnal season always conjures some beautiful memories for me. Like kicking my way through piles of golden leaves under leaden skies in rural, rustic England. Village shop windows crammed with creepy Halloween masks, pumpkins and multi-colored fireworks for Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night. Jack Frost nipping at your extremities. Conkers. Paradise Lost on the CD player, crushingly heavy, tearfully mournful, and overall just doing brilliantly what is written on the tin.
The Definitive Horror Music Collection – The City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Horror movie soundtracks should dominate a great Hallowe’en, if not the whole calendar. They are the musical spine that discolours the day, in a really good way. But for the sake of over-running my Top 13 (there are literally fifty great soundtracks that spring to mind), I thought it best to include a lengthy collection, one that features the creme da la face. It could be any orchestra playing these timeless film-score classics, but my drummer and guitarist are Czech, and the London Philharmonic are too posh for horror movies, so I guess that validates a strong allegiance right here for the City of Prague. Squirm favourites… Hellraiser, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Omen, Sleepy Hollow, Rosemary’s Baby.
The Misfits -Collections 1 and 2.
Okay, okay, so we’ve already encountered Glenn Danzig in this list, but who the hell cares? I’ve opted for the 2 Collections as they pretty much cover most of the original incarnation of The Misfits’s repertoire and this, I would guess, would be considered their grand Hallowe’en fiend party mix. Incessantly catchy horror punk from the original B-movie legends, this is sing-along, monster-mash mosh-music.
GGFH – Disease
What’s a get-together without a little psychotic serial killer music to liven up the evening? Absolutely nothing, that’s what. An industrial, techno, demented monstrosity punctuated by the clinical rants of a killer venting spleen on midnight airwaves, this is some pretty disturbing but groovy tuneage indeed. And I think that once upon a time I wrote a word-byte heavy review that made it into a sticker on the front of the band’s ‘best-of’. So that definitely proves I dig it. Like I do graves. Favourite ditties.. ‘Room 213’ (about the cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer), ‘DMDR’ (Dead Men Don’t Rape) and ‘Dark Powers’.
Diamanda Galas -The Divine Punishment/Saint Of The Pit
More a Satanic ritual than the traditional fare of jaunty musical tunes, both albums here on one convenient disc play out like twisted seances with the dead, with Diamanda (who has lent her vocal talents to a score of horror movie soundtracks) engaging in all manner of screams, screeches and ghostly caterwauls set to a deranged biblical diorama. Best described as an orgiastic coven of witches summoning some hideous neolithic demon to nail Armageddon to the face of the world, this is some really creepy shit. Which, in my books, is a good thing.
Slayer – Reign In Blood
Even if it wasn’t All Saints’ Eve, you really should be playing this album at a relentlessly loud volume irregardless. Such a precise, decisive, incisive, the devil advises, album of the highest calibre. 28 minutes of absolute satanic terror and brutality, that kickstarts your heart attack with the lethal injection that is ‘Angel Of Death’ and doesn’t let up until the dying strains of the apocalypse that is the title track. Strangely enough, my Mother bought me this on pre-order from the U.S for Christmas ’86 and then proceeded to shout at me to turn it down whenever I was playing it (which was a lot), which again smacks of irony seeing as she now loves the band!
Ghost – Opus Eponymous
True story. I preordered this album on a recommendation by Amazon (bolstered by the fact that I liked the Mercyful Fate comparisons and the Amicus horror cover art) and subsequently then went on tour. Christmas came swiftly on the tour’s heels and when I eventually got round to sifting through my accrued mail, i found this album at the bottom of the pile. I was so blown away that I literally rang everyone to tell them how great this new band i’d ‘discovered’ were. Ceaseless to say, everyone answered me with something along the lines of. ‘Yes we know twat-features, they’re on the front cover of Metal Hammer this month!” Whether my discovery led the band to superstardom or not, their debut album is a Seventies-inspired occult nightmare that for once isn’t Sabbath worship. It’s far more Mercyful Fate fingering the Blue Oyster Cult.
Bathory – Under The Sign Of The Black Mark
Dead of Midnight, Hallowe’en. Douse all save thirteen candles. Cut the bleating ram’s throat. Summon your demons. Listen to this album by the light of the killing moon (the original vinyl version, the remastered CD version is a shit sandwich, all top and cymbal fizz…).
And don’t forget to play ‘Thriller!’