Oh, those pesky apocalypses, they always happen unannounced and whilst fighting zombies, rogue street gangs and mutated monster-animals, you never have the time to pick the right playlist for your iPocalypse. But fret no more because I assembled a nice and atmospheric list of songs that conjure up the doom and dust and weariness that quite possibly soon will be our constant companion.
By the way, most of these songs will lean more towards metal/rock because you need the muscular kicks of a rocksong to gather up your strength for the hordes of alien creatures that have destroyed the earth. Oh, and these choices will be super subjective and sometimes even random, so don’t even bother to complain about lack of congruence both in song choices and text.
Clutch – The Regulator
I still don’t know why rap and metal was such a big deal in the 90s and early 2000s (and I rode that wave as well…) whilst the much more beautiful combination of blues and metal never gained that much momentum. Well, gladly, that didn’t keep awesome bands from keeping true to it and gladly so, because otherwise we wouldn’t have this insanely fitting song by the alt-beasts Clutch who not only provide a good soundtrack but also look like the bunch of people you want in your gang when you face herds of the undead.
Black Angels – Young Men Dead
Whenever movies and tv-shows have a cynical and dark premise, they get drawn to this song which conjures up the sort of apocalyptic visions of angels and demons (some claim they are the same) who roam the earth to continue a long forgotten battle over the souls of humandkind! On the other hand, this song is a pretty heavy ode to The Doors and some of their more hallucinogenic songs that back then mirrored not only the tired and drug-fueled hippy-culture but also the shadows thrown by helicopters on the grounds of Vietnam.
Bat for Lashes – Glass
This song is perfect for the lone warrior with some kick-ass blades on their back who have ditched their weaker comrades or lost them in brutal fights with the shadow-beasts from the parallel universe whose gates got opened by naïve scientists. On their way to a hidden base where people can still live without the threat of the shadows devouring their life energy, these lone wanderers will fight the elements and their soulless foes.
Henagar Union Sacred Harp Convention – 277 Antioche
Amongst the wild groups of people, religious undertones will grow and become wild, untamed beasts that turn people into raging warriors, all in the name of a cruel and cold Lord who tests his sheep by having them shed blood. Fortunately for the lone warrior and the rag-tag group of outlaws, the eerie choirs can be heard from miles away and the ecstatic claps of writhing bodies receiving messages from God are the first sign to find a good place to hide for the Lord’s army does not spare a single sinner.
Shearwater – Rooks
Sometimes you will rest with a few strangers and everyone will gather round the fire and tell tales that once would have been considered myths but nowadays feel more real than anything that people can remember from their past lives, when the world was still intact. Amongst those stories are those of a single rider on a black horse. Over his head, a flock of giant black birds can be seen as they soar through the sky and look for the unfortunates left behind by their groups or deadly wounded in battle. ‘Beware him’, they say, ‘because before he kills you, he will take your soul.’
Royal Thunder – Blue
With the death of modern technology, politics and societal rules, the old belief-systems will be reborn and many people will go back to the dark ages full of magic and spells, potions and possessions. Although most of these newfound practitioners of the otherworldly arts won’t be of much help, some at least know how to tend to wounds and help the few women who are brave enough to bring children into this world. You better not leave them without proper pay, though, as some of them are whispered to be in cahoots with the devil himself.
Susanne Sundfor – The Silicon Veil
Most of the scientists and universities might be gone but their truths are not and so evolution finds its way in these violent environments. With passing time you can see more of them under veils and hoods, changed faces, larger eyes or thicker skin that glimmers in the candlelight like scales. Sometimes you will meet a lone wanderer whose face bears more resemblance to an amphibian or whose voice sounds more like that of a beast. They are still lonely minorities but their numbers are growing and you’ve heard of vicious groups with claws and teeth like tigers who will attack everyone who dares to cross their path.
Laura Marling – Devil’s Resting Place
Men are growing wild in these times and therefore it’s no wonder that many women stick together and only take to men when they want for children. Most of these female tribes are just as dangerous as their male counterparts, swift with blades and spears and imposing in heavy armor and frightful helmets with ravenwings and antlers. Dangerous, these ones are as their helmets will rip your guts out if you think you can take on some weakly wenches.
Health – In Violet
The worst hours are the ones before dawn. Most of the creatures that came from the depths of the oceans and caves know that men grow tired in the dark and tend to sleep in the early hours when it is so dark that you feel like you are blind. If you are out in the open, sitting next to a fire it can be hard to stay awake and the strange sounds from wild animals set you on edge as you try not to close your eyes for too long. They don’t always attack but when they do, no one will be left alive to tell the tale. It will only be told by the blood.
Queens of the Stone Age – I think I lost my Headache
Your sanity will grow weak and brittle with each passing day, each corpse on the road, each scream in the night. Apart from the nerves that feel like paper-thin walls towards the depths of hysteria, there is a sickness spreading that turns normal people into blood-lusty maniacs that are said to keep chasing you even if you put half a dozen bullets into them. They will tear at their own kind and rip them apart once afflicted and so far, there is no cure but death for this horrible disease.
Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun
Since it happened, most places are so hot that your skin burns if you stay out in the daylight for too long. The blisters it leaves are infecting and spread if you don’t treat them immediately and there are many sad souls who have lost their eyesight because they foolishly went out when the sun was high in the sky blinding them. Night brings not much relief as it is just as hot but at least it is dark and you can go outside to gather foods and other supplies.
Alice in Chains – Rooster
You have to grow stronger every day to make it, to survive. But many of us wonder if it’s worth it because day after day, it only gets worse. If this is hell, there is no worse place to go once you die, I heard a man say who had lost his family to the giant beasts. But hell is only a place without hope and as long as we have that, as long as we think that there might be some way to find a quiet place that is save from the attacks, I don’t want to die.
Metallica – Enter Sandman
Sleep is a luxury and even in your dreams, they can haunt you because they can see into your head, stretch their thoughts into yours like pale thin fingers roaming around your brain, tucking and scratching at the walls of your dreams, tearing them down and drowning them in blood. It took a while until the government realized what they could do and how they did it because all those crazy scientists, politicians and popstars just seemed to have caved in under the pressure of their jobs. When humankind finally realized that it was their dreams that were attacked, it was too late and most of the population had turned insane or simply died because their dreams had been corrupted.
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Before the cities were deserted, you could hear the church bells every single hour, announcing new deaths, new corpses filling up the cemeteries. That was before the dead returned and left the churchyards to invade our homes.
The Doors – The End
Farewell humankind, it was a short run, hasty and chaotic, brutal and beautiful but now it is time to go as the last lone wanderers cough blood and the last groups of outlaws have to carry their comrades, leaving too many trails for their bloodthirsty followers. Soon, there will be nothing left of us but ruins, burned cities and bones.
What, you didn’t get enough of Halloween-spirit from this post? Well, there’s much more because in contrast to basically everyone else, I don’t have friends to spend this day with and therefore have ample time to write even more lists.
2 thoughts on “Halloween song special: My big post-apocalyptic song list”
I love a good post-apocalyptic songlist….especially when The Black Angels, Black Sabbath, and The Doors are on there. If there was a Boards of Canada song on there I’d say lets head to the bomb shelter now.