The dark, sweet sound of death

Modern Halloween rock that’ll turn your hair white

 By Nick Schwab

Photo: The KVB//Always Then and Immaterial Visions 


“I remember ———Halloween,” goes the chorus of that classic Misfits song; a staple of their discography that is also named after that festivity. It is also a sentiment that can be the very spark of creativity that has prompted this list of dark rock music for the upcoming holiday.

This list is obviously not totally comprehensive – I have limited myself only to modern and not-very-well known bands. You won’t find a band on this list that everyone and their ghoul knows, because a list of bands you have heard before is frankly boring.

I also did not limit myself to one subgenre of rock, as you will find a lot of variety on this list: from dark-and-gloomy post-punk, some gothic-shoegaze, funeral metal and demented noise-rock.

It’s now time to reveal the soundtrack for full moon nights and to set the atmosphere of dire ominous and death for all to listen, rock out too, and maybe even be scared of. All must worship this magnificent madness! If you don’t, the trick with no treat might be on you!


The Lost Rivers//Sin and Lostness

This psychedelic/noise-rock-laced band from Germany is the type of feedback-laden music that can peel the paint of walls and is the soundtrack for climbing up the walls and chewing the floors. These noise-terrorists also take heavily from shoegaze to make them yet another one of those bands that seems to create art by the motto, “Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to.” The album, Sin and Lostness, is the perfect Halloween soundtrack that sounds like a bad acid trip. Scary stuff, indeed.


Night Sins//New Grave

These gothic-rockers from Philadelphia play the type of skull-and-crossbone tunes that recall The Sisters of Mercy’s doom-laden singer, Andrew Eldritch, with the typical exuberant, albeit deeply involving, emotional atmosphere of a band like The Mission.

They also have some great, dread-with-a-smile lyrics, too. Take one of their benchmark songs, “Playing Dead,” with its killer line: “Like a fuck in the evening for a bit of a thrill/ An entire life of time to kill.” It’s the type of stuff that will put a smile on your lips … or rather carve one with a switchblade.


Crooked Necks//Alright is Exactly What it Isn’t

This lush and beautiful Virginia band – formerly known as Frail – one can admit is an odd choice to have on the list, as the music is simply some of the more beautiful black metal you can hear. However, they have harsh vocals, list The Cure as one of their main influences and consider themselves dark-pop music in interviews. They find beauty in oppressive darkness.


Ceremony//Safranin Sounds

When the Joy Division-esque shoegazerse Skywave broke up, one of the members created A Place to Bury Strangers, while the members that chose to stay in Virginia rather than move to New York formed Ceremony, also sharing the name with another modern hardcore-punk band, but is totally different … in, well, everything. Often described as taking a Factory Records-influenced approach to their noisy, but very melodic, aesthetic, their album Safranin Sounds works as a good best-of compilation and is a great introduction to the band. One listen and you will hail this marvelous, depressive brilliance. However, just don’t start drinking heavily after hearing it.



The KVB//Always Then and Immaterial Visions

Cold wave was always France’s moody, brilliant, ice-cold answer to the post-punk and gothic sounds coming out of the States and Britain In the 1970s and 1980s. The KVB is ironically a British band that updates the cold wave sound with more modern technology with a pulsating and ominous creation. I read a review of Always Then a while back on that summed it up perfectly by saying that the band,”‘Makes Joy Division look like wishful thinking.” After hearing it, I totally agree. This is the type of band that can have you in straps by the end of the record.


The December Sound//The Silver Album

“It’s like ear rape, man.” I said while explaining their sound to one of my friends. This is a noise-rock band – or cult of noise terrorists, as they describe themselves – that makes one feel violated, yet you don’t even have call them to make up in the morning. Yet, at the same time, it’s organized chaos and harmonic, even catchy. The droned vocals and the instruments’ hypnotic pounding create visions of not being in Kansas anymore, baby. Evil? Yes. Without a soul? No.



Their self-titled LP through Wierd Record is quite spooky stuff. An extremely experimental combination of punk, industrial and electronic music, with screamed vocals and drums that speak right to the boundary-pushing language of rock ‘n’ roll. Hear their song “Burning Spirits” and hear how their sound can reach the apex of cool and wickedness. Rosenkopf put the REDRUM back into the genre. Dark music lovers wouldn’t have it any other way.

Reach DCP freelance writer Nick Schwab at


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