CoS Exclusive FeaturesList 'Em Carefully

The 13 Scariest Rock Songs

on June 13, 2014, 8:35am
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Artwork by Kristin Frenzel (Buy Prints + More!)

I’ve always considered Friday the 13th a lucky day. In the past, I’ve aced tests, made great sandwiches, hooked up with wonderful people, and found lucky pennies in my closet. Okay, so maybe all those examples are just freak coincidences (though, the jury’s out on that last one — sheesh), but still, there’s something to be said about the illogical “holiday” that’s only popular because of a dated ’80s horror franchise.

Yes, thanks to the murderous, over-the-top rampages of Jason Voorhies, we’ll always point to Friday the 13th on a calendar and either smirk or shiver. If you’re the former, good for you — superstition alludes you. If you’re the latter, however, then here’s a list that’ll add to those chills and thrills. As promised, we’ve compiled the 13 scariest rock songs for your listening nightmares. Get it? Thirteen songs, Friday the 13th? Whatever.

We suggest playing these at night, preferably close to the hour of 3 a.m., when there’s nothing but the nagging silence beckoning you to either sleep or … lose your fucking mind. Here’s your soundtrack.

And please, feel free to share your scares in the comments below.

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28 comments

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Fernando Ferra
July 13, 2014 at 6:12 am

As far as I see, you don’t know Mars Volta.

Daniel
July 11, 2014 at 11:46 pm

I’m suprised there’s no Tool on here. There’s a terrifying “song” (in the same way Hamburger Lady is a song) called Mantra. At first listen it’s creepy as hell but perhaps it loses something after learning it was just singer Maynard James Keenan irritating his cat. Also there are so many NIN songs that belong on here. Anything off Downward Spiral. The title track comes in mind.

Cedric Buckingham
July 11, 2014 at 10:03 pm

No Bauhaus, really?

Anonymous
July 11, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Holiday In Cambodia by the DK’s needs to be on this list, they blew it.

eyevocal
July 11, 2014 at 5:16 pm

The lyrics to “Hamburger Lady” are actually in their D.o.A. album. It’s text from a letter from Al Ackerman about the difficulties in taking care of a woman who was badly burned from the waist up.

It might be a stretch calling it “rock,” but “Historical Pt. 2″ by Illusion of Safety scares the breakfast out of me like few songs can. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5TCb3ZC_Sk

daily good tunes
July 11, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Quite a bit of radiohead songs belong here actually… Mostly kid A songs. How to disappear completely is lovely but lyrically scary, Everything in its right place, treefingers (instrumental, but still), et cetera. From OK computer, fitter happier is even scarier, at least from my point of view.

Anonymous
July 11, 2014 at 5:33 am

Diamanda Galas – the litanies of satan and vena cava.

Mike
July 11, 2014 at 12:44 am

There was only one song in mind that I expected to see on this list, and that was “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath. Debate all you want if it’s technically metal, but at the time of Sabbath’s debut, there was no music term that we now know as “heavy metal”. It was just rock.

Christopher Aloysius Mariotti
July 11, 2014 at 12:39 am

Slayer’s “Dead Skin Mask” is the only song that literally made me shake. Particularly terrifying is when the kid starts talking to Mr Gein, then that scream to be released: fuck.

Mike
July 11, 2014 at 12:46 am

“Dead Skin Mask” is a great (scary) song! I wouldn’t have included it in this list because Slayer was metal (although you could argue that metal is a “subgenre” to rock). Although I’m slightly contradicting myself because I was expecting to see “Black Sabbath” on this list, but alas. In my defense though, at the time of Sabbath’s debut, the term “heavy metal” didn’t exist in the music world and Sabbath was only considered to be rock.

Christopher Aloysius Mariotti
July 11, 2014 at 11:44 pm

“Black Sabbath” is an excellent choice. Haunting tri-tone. Haunting vocals. Haunting gallop-outro. Perfection.

Sarah Lorraine
July 11, 2014 at 12:28 am

I’m assuming that they did not want to include industrial / electronica (save Throbbing Gristle) as it would be an unfair curve. If so, then Aphex Twin. Come to Daddy. Scariest song ever made.

RAD SEGA TAPES (@radsegatapes)
June 17, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Anonymous
June 16, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Anything by the Paper Chase – “said the spider to the fly”

Kyle
June 16, 2014 at 6:45 pm

I’m pretty partial to “Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up”, which is a reworked version of “Careful with That Axe, Eugene” done for Zabriskie Point:

Anonymous
June 16, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Bloodrock “D.O.A”

Anonymous
June 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm

I think the exclusion of “Man-Size (Sextet)” by PJ Harvey was quite an oversight.. The brutally scary strings and uneasy tension never let up in that song. I have to listen to that song sitting bolt upright with my eyes wide open.

Mr Meursault
June 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Anything from Skinny Puppy

Stefan
June 16, 2014 at 9:46 am

Yes! and… RESIDENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dani B
June 15, 2014 at 11:48 am

I have to say “Womb” by Wumpscut is pretty creepy, not just the shrill troll like word play, but one of the references “I Am Your Child An Unwanted Child, I Do Not Care About Anything Else But Me, And You Think About Killing Me” – yeah, disturbing.

JJ
June 15, 2014 at 10:19 am

Song 8 ‘cutw’ by radiohead from what i have read is about a program over in the UK where mental patients deemed rehabilitated would be placed in a halfway house in the normal community. Sometimes they weren’t necessarily ready and they would leave the homes. Supposedly some would break into people’s house. There was an alarm system that could be rang to get them picked up, but my guess is you were probably so scared that you didn’t know what to do. Supposedly that’s what the song is about. Very creepy

Nooge
June 14, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Ween — Spinal Meningitis should have been on here. There’s no excuse for excluding it. I always thought Dog Fashion Disco – Silent Fun was a really creepy song too. But spinal meningitis is creepy right from the beginning.

weebzam
June 14, 2014 at 6:46 am

That’s funny, I was just listening to Spinal Meningitis as I was reading this article and was really hoping it would be on the list. Thanks, Spotch. Also, for me and lyrically anyway, The Beatles’ “Run for your life” and dEUS’ “Sister Dew” are both pretty creepy. We could also find room for some Tom Waits in here as well, something like “What’s he building in there”, I don’t know…

Josh Lesser
June 13, 2014 at 5:53 pm

How about Violent Femme’s “Country Death Song”? At one point I had to excise it from my iTunes because it freaked me out too much just to hear the opening notes

Michael Roffman
June 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Oh man, that is a good one. So is this Ween one below. I love these suggestions. Keep ‘em comin’!

Spotch
June 13, 2014 at 10:01 am

Zelmo Baum
June 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm

I completely agree that Spinal Meningitis should be here. Also, for some reason Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk always scared the crap out of me as a kid.