Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Havoc: Mick's Playlist

We're less than a week away from the ever glorious All Hallow's Eve and while I may not have any candy to dish out, I'd be damned if I didn't serve up some season-worthy tunes to perhaps help you enjoy this time of year more. Taking an old school pro-wrestling reference for its title, Halloween Havoc is now here at you some custom playlists to celebrate this transitional season.

I'm hard-pressed to think of any better way to start off my custom Halloween Havoc playlist than by featuring a band that truly epitomizes evil...Sweden's own Watain. While I certainly enjoyed the black metallers' latest effort from this year, The Wild Hunt, their previous effort, Lawless Darkness, is what I will be picking from. They are by no means an instrumental band, but the title track from Lawless Darkness captures the true and unadulterated evil that is at the heart of what makes Watain a band that will suck you into a sinister abyss in the best way possible.

Up next, also hailing from Sweden, is the band In Solitude. Much like Watain, In Solitude also released a new album this year, Sister, yet I'm opting to pick something from their previous release, The World. The Flesh. The Devil. The track below, "Demons," is a catchy more hard rock type tune that lyrically is about exactly what the title would suggest. Let this get stuck in your head, folks. Trust me that you won't regret it.

I think it's only right that we check off a song about werewolves next. The third track on this little playlist comes from American death metal act Six Feet Under. I've admittedly never been a huge Six Feet Under fan, but the tune below is hard to deny as being a great Halloween theme. Coming off of their 1995 album Haunted, "Lycanthropy" is a perfect example of how one single riff can be more than enough to carry a whole song. It's stupidly simple, but the beat will certainly appeal to your primal nature as your heartbeat syncopates to it.

It's always fun revisiting a track that acted as your gateway into a certain area of music. In the world of doom metal, "Hold This Woe" by Finnish band Swallow the Sun was that gateway for me. Heavy droning chords and heavy growls are complemented by entrancing piano lines that bring in a rather serene element to the mix. It's these kinds of tracks that make it okay to submit to the harshness of the midwestern autumnal, and eventually winter season.

Wrapping up my list is another staple band for black metal that also brings in progressive sensibilities...Norway's Enslaved. Their release from last year, RIITIIR, was top 10 material to my ears. One of the tracks that really stood out to me was the album's closer, "Forsaken." Few album closers actually feel adequate enough to make me think, "I couldn't have imagined a better ending for this album." "Forsaken" does exactly that and more. Walls of distorted guitar chords are balanced with powerful growls, synth buildups, and a truly chilling outro. It creates a breathtaking atmosphere that conveys much power but also is seemingly void of life from its coldness...perfect for an album closer on RIITIIR and perfect for closing out my Halloween Havoc playlist.  

- Mick

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