Clash Picks: Music’s Scariest Moments

For your Hallowe'en listening...

There's something unique about the atmosphere of late October and early November.

It's something in the light, the way the night suddenly descends, with those sharp, clear evenings seeming to offer foreboding at every street corner – perhaps folklore has it right, perhaps there truly is a breach in the walls between the dead and the living.

Hallowe'en arrives tomorrow – October 31st – so a few Clash writers put their heads together to conjure the scariest moments in music.

Along the way, you'll encounter sonic manipulation, the pleas of abandoned children, Scott Walker's incantations, and outright cannibalism.

You have been warned…

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The Dillinger Escape Plan – 'Come To Daddy'

Aphex Twin’s nightmarish video for 1997’s 'Come To Daddy' is intense enough, but on The Dillinger Escape Plan’s cover version, guest singer Mike Paton truly curdles the blood with a sinister, electronically manipulated snarl to haunt your sleep for the rest of your life.

Will Fitzpatrick

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Scott Walker – ‘Jolson & Jones’

The entirety of ‘The Drift’ is pretty much one long anxiety dream, but there is nothing more harrowing than the sudden appearance of the braying ass around two and a half minutes through this Lynchian nightmare, unless, of course, you keep on listening.


– Josh Gray

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Slint – 'Good Morning, Captain'

The entirety of Slint's only full length album 'Spiderland' is like a rusty nail being driven in to your spinal cord, but 'Good Morning, Captain' is perhaps where the tension finally snaps, and the darkness becomes overwhelming.

Transposing the pain of divorce and family fragmentation as viewed through a child's eyes into a kind of post-rock Ancient Mariner, it's a harrowing plea for connection made as the oceans finally come to reclaim them. Bleak enough, but its strange, dream-like atmosphere somehow transcends all this, delivering something of a quite staggering intensity.

Robin Murray

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The Velvet Underground – ‘The Gift’

It’s a classic romantic setup: boy meets girl, girl goes to college, boy gets suspicious, boy hides himself in a large cardboard box and posts himself to girl, girl struggles to open package, girl’s roommate stabs through the box (and boy’s head) with a sheet metal cutter.

Told over eight minutes in John Cale’s wonderful Welsh brogue, the final minute is a truly skin-crawling experience.

– Josh Gray

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White Room – 'Cannibal Song'

Love and cannibalism aren’t usually themes that you would pair, but White Room did so perfectly in their 2017 banger, 'Cannibal Song'.

As the band’s name suggests, twisted and manipulated themes are not unfamiliar to this band. With their sadistic song writing and deathly vocals, they take what should be the next big docuseries for Netflix and manipulate the audience into falling in love with this crazed protagonist in their pursuit of love. “Got a taste for you” takes on a new meaning and yet still we become ignorant to the danger that is posed and fall down the rabbit hole, taunted by their desperately longing tone.

Whilst the song continues its search, the video offers closure as we see two cannibals join together over a sweetcorn cob gagged victim and a glass of wine. It certainly shows that there’s someone out there for everyone, but in a far more sinister way than your traditional ballads.

– Megan Walder

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After a deceptive opening three minutes of gentle percussion and muted pianos, Kristin Hayter takes out her axe and starts hacking the song to pieces.

"HOW DO I BREAK YOU, BEFORE YOU BREAK ME?" she screams in torment as the track breaks up into skittering fragments around her. Not one to stick on your Hallowe'en party playlist, I’m afraid..

– Josh Gray

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Dr Dre – 'Deep Water' (ft. Kendrick Lamar, Anderson Paak., Justus)

The clip of the guy drowning that opens the song and comes back three and a half minutes in is genuinely distressing. He keeps begging for help with such desperation that you feel complicit, like you’re ignoring his pleas.

If you’re listening to the full album then thankfully he gets saved at the beginning of ‘One Shot One Kill’, but if you’re listening to it on it’s own then that shit will haunt you for days.

– Josh Gray

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Got a pick of your own? Tell us on Twitter.

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