Today’s the big day! It’s Halloween, that means one thing: heavy metal. The genre of music that breeds out of the wonderful atmosphere and ambiance of the month of October. Evil, demons, dark corners, vampires, pumpkins, and all other dark things of the night. This list is going to contain only one song per artist (but of course I found a way to cheat that). It’s my list, not yours, so that means if you’re a gargantuan Rob Zombie fan or you don’t like the Alice Cooper song I picked, go make your own list. Feel free to tell me what your top 10 would be, I’m always in the mood for more heavy metal.
Let’s get on with the show.
Because why not a little bit of bonus to go with your top 10 list. Here are some of the songs that didn’t make the cut, while still adhering to the “one song per band rule”.
The Misfits – Halloween
The Misfits definitely fit into the heavy metal archetypes, but I don’t consider them to be a full fledged metal band. Glenn Danzig’s wailing on this one goes a long way, but it’s just too short for me to put into my top 10. It’s a great tune though.
Type O Negative – Black No. 1
Type O Negative’s masterclass in vampires and whatever else Peter Steele was thinking of. The man himself has that vampiric look going about him anyway. This one will either get you in the mood to suck some blood or hand out some candy, I can’t tell you which one.
Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil
The classic Motley Crue song, “Shout at the Devil” is what put them on the map. It’s probably their only song of this ilk, but it’s classic heavy metal at it’s best. And yes, Motley Crue is metal for all of you out there. Fight me.
10. Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast
It was a hard choice to lead off the list with either “Number of the Beast” or “Fear of the Dark”. Due to the fact that the studio version of “Number of the Beast” is better, I went with that. But if you’re making a bigger playlist, I would definitely include both. The song makes great use of the lyrics by Steve Harris to paint a horrifying picture that’s perfect to lead off Halloween. If you want a closer look at the album Number of the Beast, check out Iron Maiden-A-Thon.
9. Fastway – Trick Or Treat
Here’s a curveball for you that you might not have heard. Originally done for the soundtrack of Trick or Treat. An over-the-top film from the 80’s that wasn’t well received at the time. The soundtrack by Fastway kicks ass and this is the perfect amount of spooky themes and hard rocking guitar to get you and your party going.
8. Judas Priest – Nightcrawler
Another tough choice from the Priest. It was a long list of either: “Sinner”, “The Ripper”, “A Touch of Evil”, “Dragonaut”, or “Painkiller”. At the end of the day, this song has all the elements of a Halloween classic. Speed, loud chugging guitars, and that middle section that will make your skin crawl. Rob Halford wrote this song in a way that it would make the listener think of all the imagery. A perfect song for the season.
7. Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon
Leave it to the Ozz-Man to make a Halloween classic that’s both creepy and fun. With a catchy chorus, those classic laughs from Ozzy, and a killer guitar solo by Jake E. Lee, this one needs to be on every Halloween playlist until the end of time. Honestly, there could have been a bunch by Ozzy on this list as well.
6. Mercyful Fate – Come To The Sabbath
Honestly, if you just wanted to crank up Don’t Break the Oath by Mercyful Fate and play that all night long, you’d get a pretty good Halloween out of it. Mr. Diamond singing on the album sounds like banshees wailing enough here. This one closes out the album in the perfect way with tons of Halloween imagery and that killer guitar sound from the early metal band. Bow down to the gods!
5. Ghost – Dance Macabre
Like some of the other bands on this list, and some coming up, I could just fill the whole list with songs by Ghost. “Dance Macabre” is the one that fills up the most of the imaginary checklist I had in my head for this list. It’s the perfect song that could slow down your playlist a bit for some slow dancing perhaps. But in classic Ghost ways, the song digs into your ear and even throws a spooky themed pun in the song. Watch the video for the full effect of the song. “Just wanna be, wanna bewitch you all night”.
4. Alice Cooper – He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)
Alice Cooper could have filled up 5 of these lists with his songs. His whole image is based around the themes of Halloween. This song is no different. Written for the soundtrack for Friday The 13th Part VI: JASON LIVES in 1986. That movie might not be as successful but Alice Cooper tells a distinct story here with some great keyboards, a killer chorus, and a beat that’ll make you want to get up and move. It’s a surprisingly upbeat song about such spooky material. Some other Alice Cooper songs that could have made it: “Welcome To My Nightmare”, “Feed My Frankenstein”, “I Love The Dead”, and “Ballad of Dwight Fry”. “WE’RE NOT WORTHY!!!!!”
3. King Diamond – Halloween
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how you break your own rule, without breaking it. King Diamond went solo outside of Mercyful Fate and somehow got even spookier and creepy. This song is no different and without the massive qualities of the next two songs, this should be number one. Everything down to the riffs, the lyrics absolutely belted by King Diamond, makes this one perfect for the most evil day of the year. Crank this one and you won’t be disappointed.
2. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
A song surely to scare the crap out of you when you listen to it. “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath doesn’t break my rule also, because Sabbath and Ozzy’s solo career are separate, so suck it. A song that features the birth of heavy metal and what could be the greatest riff ever written by Tony Iomi. Ozzy Osbourne set the stage for every metal artist to come after with this one. It’s due to personal preference that it’s number two on this list though. Keep this one for one of the last songs in your Halloween playlist to end the night on the creepiest note. Your guests will be unnerved and inspired all at the same time.
1. Helloween – Halloween
If you know my tastes in heavy metal music, you’ll know I love me some Helloween. The band on their sophomore album Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1, unleashed this 13 minute epic on the world. A then unknown 18-year old name Michael Kiske showed the world what power metal was. This is the perfect song to send your guests home with because it uses the most of the spooky atmosphere. Starting with light, happy lyrics and imagery, it quickly descends to the depths of hell itself. A battle with Satan and some kick-ass musicianship from the rest of the band including several moments where you might break your neck headbanging, set the song up for a crescendo like no other.
A band like Helloween, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, King Diamond, or Ghost could have filled this whole list up. What’re some of your favorite Halloween songs? If you didn’t find yours on the list, let me know in the comments. And most importantly, have a happy Halloween, and give out candy to everyone, even teenagers!
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