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The Best Halloween Songs From Metal's Big 4 (+1)

by Terry Stevens

PHOTO CREDIT:  Goaliej54, Creative Commons License .
With Halloween upon us, you can't swing a black cat without hitting a "Top 20 Bestest Halloween Songz Evarz!OMG!!1!!11!!!" list.
"Try swinging me and see what happens, punk."
PHOTO CREDIT:  Puuikibeach, Creative Commons License
For this list, we're narrowing the focus a bit to The Best Halloween Songs from Metal's Big 4 (+1, but we'll get to that in a sec.) ______________________________________________________________________________ ANTHRAX - "Fight 'Em Til You Can't" 

Honestly, given the amount of Stephen King  inspired songs in Anthrax's catalog, I thought for sure that one of them would come out on top. 

"Misery Loves Company " - Inspired by Misery  (duh).

"A Skeleton in the Closet " - Inspired by Apt Pupil .

"Among The Living " - Inspired by The Stand .

Musically, though, the songs aren't as scary as the source material.  Maybe it's because 'Thrax has always had that fun, goofball vibe, but they never scare me.

They do, however, make me want to kick ass, in this case, zombie ass!

That makes this later entry in the band's career from 2011's SUPERB "Worship Music " THE Anthrax song for Halloween:

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MEGADETH - "Go To Hell"

I was sorely tempted to put "Good Mourning/Black Friday " or "Mary Jane " in here.

"GM/BF" is a psycho's rampage.  

"Mary Jane" is a ghost story (that's probably about weed too).

But, "Go To Hell"?  "Go To Hell" just basks in teh EVILZ!

The creepy samples of the kid praying?  Way more evil than James Hetfield's "Enter Sandman " prayer.

Speaking of prayers, how about Dave's line?

"Now I lay me down to sleep
Blah, blah, blah, my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
I'll go to Hell for Heaven's sake"

Or...

"My only friend is a goat with 666 between his horns"
Dave's gotten away from this sort of material in recent years.  (He's always been a Christian, he's just a bit more committed to it these days.)  Back when he was still willing to channel the darkness in to song, he was one of the best at it. ______________________________________________________________________________

METALLICA - "The Thing That Should Not Be"

Sandman vs. Cthulu ?

No chance.  Chtulu wins every...single...time (even if it's Neil Gaiman's  Sandman ).

The only other possible contender would be the Angel of Death from "Creeping Death ", and while I enjoy yelling "DIE!" over and over again when I see Metallica play that song live, it just doesn't have the sinister vibe of "The Thing That Should Not Be".

Obviously, the Master of Puppets version is a classic:

But I've always been partial to the version they did with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra on the S&M  album.  The orchestra ups the creep factor to 11.

I don't know if H.P. Lovecraft  would have been a metalhead, but he might have become one after hearing what Metallica did with his material.

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SLAYER - "Dead Skin Mask"

Trying to pick the most horror-soaked Slayer song is a fool's errand, but I guess I'm that fool.

It was a hell of a lot tougher that the rest of the Big 4, that's for sure.

The vampire marauders of "At Dawn They Sleep " and "Bloodline " presented strong cases, as did the real life monsters and Nazi scum of the entire "Reign In Blood " album.  "Black Magic ", "The Antichrist ", "Hell Awaits ", "Spill the Blood ", there were SO many contenders.

In the end, I made this pick because it's Slayer doing what they do best.

The big bad in "Dead Skin Mask" isn't a demon, devil, ghoul, or monster of any sort.

He's a human.  He's a guy who lived in the little town of Plainfield, Wisconsin.  People thought nothing of his eccentric behavior.

Then they discovered he was making lampshades out of their neighbors.

The scariest monster is the one who lives in the human heart, and that human might live right...next...door.

Throw in the spoken word piece at the beginning and the audio samples at the end, and Slayer's ode to Ed Gein  is the clear winner.

(FULL DISCLOSURE:  I actually live in Wisconsin just a few miles north of Plainfield.  Am I being a bit of a homer by choosing the Gein song?  Maybe, but I still hold that it's the most chilling song in the Slayer catalog.)

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+1

It's total B.S. that Metal has a "Big 4".

The number should be 5.

Why?

Look at this:

PHOTO CREDIT:  By Original Work by Adrian Wimmer, edited by Andy Blak (Image:Pentagrammblackn.PNG) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 

It's a pentagram.  Notice the number of points?

That's right, 5.

Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, and Slayer each deserve a point.

And so does this next band...

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TESTAMENT - "Disciples of the Watch"

Much like Slayer and Megadeth, Testament gave me a lot of options to choose from.

"The Haunting " and "Alone in the Dark " from the Legacy.

"Envy Life " from Practice What You Preach.

The pure hellfire of "Demonic".

In the end, Stephen King gets his due after losing out in the Anthrax round.

Based on King's "Children of the Corn ", "Disciples of the Watch" embraces its source material and makes it thrash the eff out.

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Agree with everything I just posted because you too are a scholar and a gentleman or gentlelady?

Butthurt that I didn't pick your favorite song?

Spambot that wants to sell "male enhancement" product or a "great deal on a mortgage refi"?

Leave your comments below!

*In addition to being seriously cheesed off that there isn't "Metal's Big Pentagram of 5""Scary" Terry Stevens is a radio host for Midwest CommunicationsYou can Book Face with him here.