Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Halloween Weekend Edition,”where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip! 🎃

Black Sabbath – ‘Black Sabbath’

Inspired by a personal experience bassist Geezer Butler had while obsessed with the occult, Black Sabbath’s ‘Black Sabbath’ – which, surprise surprise, comes from the album Black Sabbath – might be the most sinister song the Birmingham quartet ever made. In addition to Butler’s chilling lyrics of his experience with a Faustian figure, the main riff of the track makes prominent use of an inverted tritone – an interval often associated with Satan – and of course, that chiming bell will make anything sound far more terrifying than it should be.

This is the song that became the name of the band. They were playing clubs in Germany and using the name “Earth” when they realized another band had the same name. “Black Sabbath” was lifted from the title of a 1963 horror movie starring Boris Karloff that was directed by the Italian filmmaker Mario Bava.

The name change coincided with a new sound and image for the group. They had been playing blues (mostly covers), but started writing more original material and found a darker, heavier sound that defined them throughout their Hall of Fame career. Eschewing anything resembling R&B or psychedelia, they found a fan base hungry for something fiendish and new. Critics derided the band, but they quickly became one of the most popular and enduring acts of their time.

From Black Sabbath: The Ozzy Osbourne Years: “While rehearsing new material, the band formerly known as Earth experienced a supernatural experience. Geezer and Tony were playing new riffs for Ozzy and Bill when, much to everyone’s surprise, they both strummed the same notes at the same tempo – although neither had ever before heard the other one play the piece! Convinced that this was an omen, Geezer christened the song and the group Black Sabbath (after the movie).”

Tony Iommi on “Black Sabbath”: “We knew we had something; you could feel it, the hairs stood up on your arms, it just felt so different. We didn’t know what it was, but we liked it.” “Everybody started putting bits to it and afterwards we thought it was amazing. Really strange, but good. We were all shocked, but we knew that we had something there.”

During a July 2001 interview with Geezer Butler, Guitar World magazine explained that “having borrowed a 16th century tome of black magic from Osbourne one afternoon, Butler awoke that night to find a black shape staring balefully at him from the foot of his bed. After a few frightening moments, the figure slowly vanished into thin air.” Geezer continued to describe how he “told Ozzy about it. It stuck in his mind, and when we started playing ‘Black Sabbath’, he just came out with those lyrics. It had to come out, and it eventually did in that song – and then there was only one possible name for the band, really!”

Ozzy Osbourne says it was “Halloween every night” when Black Sabbath played the title track to their 1970 debut album live in their early days. It led off their self-titled 1970 debut album – and Ozzy says without that song, he wouldn’t have been given his famous nickname.

Ozzy said in an interview, “When we started gigging way back when, as soon as we started playing this song’s opening chords, young girls in the audience would fucking freak out. They thought we were Satan’s fucking friends or something.

“That’s when the whole Prince Of Darkness shit started. When people get excited about Halloween coming around each year, all I think is, ‘Well, we used to have Halloween every fucking night.’”

Type O Negative covered this, but changed the lyrics so that the song is from Satan’s point of view. The song was called “Black Sabbath (from The Satanic Perspective).” It was on the albums Nativity in Black: Tribute To Black Sabbath and Type O Negative’s The Least Worst of Type O Negative.

Geezer Butler told Jam! Music that this was his favorite cover of a Sabbath song. Said the bassist: “That was outstanding. They definitely got the spirit of that song.”

Black Sabbath: “Black Sabbath,” Release Date: 13 February 1970

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Halloween Weekend Edition,”where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip! 🎃

We have been posting some of the most scary, strange, dark and disturbing songs all month long for Spooktober month and I would be remiss if I didn’t add “Strange Fruit” to the mix. Strange Fruit: The most shocking song of all time? Billie Holiday recorded her iconic version of Strange Fruit on 20 April 1939. Eighty years ago.

“Can you imagine never having heard this song before and realising what the strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees is? That’s something that unfolds in the time of listening, so that image of bulging eyes and twisted mouth jumps out at the listener.” Cultural critic Emily J Lordi is describing the particular power of a song that still shocks 80 years after it was first performed.

On 20 April 1939, the jazz singer Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan in 1915) stepped into a studio with an eight-piece band to record Strange Fruit. This jarring song about the horrors of lynching was not only Holiday’s biggest hit, but it would become one of the most influential protest songs of the 20th Century – continuing to speak to us about racial violence today.

This was written by a white, Jewish schoolteacher and union activist from New York City named Abel Meeropol, who was outraged after seeing a photograph of a horrific lynching in a civil-rights magazine. The photo was a shot of two black men hanging from a tree after they had been lynched in Marion, Indiana on August 7, 1930. The two men are the “Strange Fruit.”

The original title was “Bitter Fruit,” and the song started as a poem Meeropol wrote. The poem was published in the January 1937 issue of a union publication called The New York Teacher. After putting music to it, the song was performed regularly at various left-wing gatherings. Meeropol’s wife and friends from the local teachers’ union would sing it, but it was also performed by a black vocalist named Laura Duncan, who once performed it at Madison Square Garden.

This was performed by a quartet of black singers during an antifascist fundraiser at a show put on by Robert Gordon, who was also working on the floor show at a club called Cafe Society. Billie Holiday had just quit Artie Shaw’s band and was the featured attraction at the club, and Gordon brought the song to her attention and suggested she sing it. Holiday played to an integrated audience at the Cafe Society, and her version popularized the song.

This was always the last song Holiday played at her concerts. It signaled that the show was over. (Thanks to Gode Davis, director of the film American Lynching for his help with these Songfacts. You can learn more about this song in David Margolick’s book Strange Fruit.)

In 1999, Time magazine voted this the Song of the Century. When the song first came out it was denounced by the same magazine as “A piece of musical propaganda.”

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Spooktober Edition,”where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip! 🎃

Throbbing Gristle were an post punk English music and visual arts group formed in 1975 in Kingston upon Hull by Genesis P-Orridge, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Peter Christopherson, and Chris Carter. They are widely regarded as pioneers of industrial music.

Hamburger Lady by Throbbing Gristle is generally considered one of the scariest songs ever recorded. The lyrics of the song are taken from a letter written by a doctor describing a woman who was a burn victim in a hospital ward. She has third degree burns covering the top half of her body. They called her the hamburger lady because her skin was so badly burned that it looked like hamburger meat.

This is the letter the lyrics were taken from:

“…By far the worst is the hamburger lady, and because of the shortage right now of ‘qualified technicians’, e.g. technicians who can work with her and keep their last meal down, Screwloose Lauritzen and I have been alternating nights with her, unrelievedly. If you put a 250-lb meatloaf in the oven and then burned it and then followed that by propping it up on a potty-chair to greet you at 11 PM each night, you would have some description of these past two weeks. Which is to say the worst I seen since viet napalms. When somebody tells you that there is a level of pain beyond which the human mind cannot retain consciousness, please tell them to write me. In point of fact this lady has not slept more than 3-5 minutes at a stretch since she came to us – that was over two weeks ago and, thanks to medical advances, there is no end in sight; from the waist up everything is burned off, ears, nose etc – lower half is untouched and that, I guess, is what keeps her alive. I took one guy in to help me change tubes and he did alright, that is alright till he came out, then he spotted one of the burn nurses (pleasant smiling zombies) eating a can of chile-mac at the desk, and that did it: he flashed on the carpet. It is insane is what it is…”

Throbbing Gristle: D.o.A: The Third and Final Report. Release Date: December 1978

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Spooktober Edition,”where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes is and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip! 🎃

Bathory was the name of a heavy metal band from Vällingby, Sweden, that formed in 1983 and disbanded in 2004, which is widely credited with creating the black metal and later Viking metal subgenres, who also dedicated the song “Woman of Dark Desires” to Elizabeth Báthory.

Lords of Chaos described Bathory’s first four albums as “the blueprint for Scandinavian black metal.”

Erzsébeth Báthory, born 7 of August 1560 and died 21 of August 1614, was a Hongarian Countess. She was also known as the Blood Countess.

The stories of her serial murders and brutality are verified by the testimony of more than 300 witnesses and survivors as well as physical evidence and the presence of horribly mutilated dead, dying and imprisoned girls found at the time of her arrest. Stories which ascribe to her vampire-like tendencies (most famously the tale that she bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her youth) were generally recorded years after her death and are considered unreliable.


(Under The Sign Of The Black Mark, 1987)

Across their first trilogy of albums, Sweden’s Bathory redefined just how evil metal could sound. Crudely welding the darkness of Black Sabbath to the roar of Motörhead, the sound mainman Quorthon came up with could freeze blood, and nowhere more so than on Call From The Grave. With all the atmosphere of a freshly-dug burial site at midnight, the diabolic, two-chord riff and Quorthon’s demented vocals make this a haunting paean to all things evil and hellish.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Spooktober Edition,”where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip! 🎃

Leonard Cohen, “Avalanche” (1971)

Songs of Love and Hate might be Leonard Cohen’s most depraved album, which is saying a lot. Accounts of suicide (“Dress Rehearsal Rag”) and infidelity (“Famous Blue Raincoat”) leave an undeniable sting, but the 1971 LP’s creepiest moments come on opener “Avalanche,” which finds Cohen playing his classic role of stygian bard to perfection. Over rolling flamenco guitar and swelling strings, he portrays a hunchback living at the bottom of a gold mine: “Your laws do not compel me/To kneel grotesque and bare,” he sneers. Even as the song edges into dark obsession and, eventually, pure horror (“It is your turn, beloved/It is your flesh that I wear”), Cohen’s voice maintains a trancelike composure. No wonder gloom-rock poet laureate Nick Cave has been covering the song for more than 30 years.

The lyrics are based on a poem he had previously written. He acknowledged in a 1992 interview with Paul Zollo that his “chop”, his unique pattern of playing classical guitar, is behind many of his early songs, and this one features Cohen’s trademark fast, syncopated classical guitar pattern as the accompaniment on the recording of the song.

Leonard Cohen: Avalanche Song Of Love And Hate Released March 19, is included 1971

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Spooktober Edition,”where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip! 🎃

“On a gathering storm comes a tall handsome man
In a dusty black coat with a red right hand”

There’s no shortage of bone-chilling songs in the discography of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. The man has an album titled Murder Ballads, for crying out loud! But his single “Red Right Hand” (off the 1994 album Let Love In) has become shorthand for “creepy mood” in television and film, making it the most well-known song of his catalog. The track was used effectively in the first three films in the Scream movie franchise, in an episode of The X-Files, and, well, in the movie Dumb & Dumber, which is scary in a different way. (Founding and former Bad Seeds member Mick Harvey told the NY Post, “That happened quite by accident… I’m not sure we would have wanted it in a film like that, but there you go!”) Most recently, the song has been the opening theme to the BBC crime show Peaky Blinders, resulting in a slew of covers, like the one by Cave’s former girlfriend PJ Harvey.

Unfortunately, Nick Cave is not exactly one to divulge what his songs are about. In fact, he apparently didn’t even plan this one out, admitting to Rolling Stone magazine in 1994 that he ad-libbed the lyrics in the studio:

That’s quite true. One of my great talents is ad-libbing, I have to say. I had the title, and basically I knew what I wanted to sing about, and it was a matter of just going in and putting it down. There’s certain lines in there, obviously, that aren’t off the top of my head, but there’s ones in there that definitely are. Aren’t I incredible?

And modest, too! In another 1994 interview with German magazine Spex, he dances around the idea of the devil:

Spex: But here you’re clearly talking about the devil.

Nick: I’m really not sure what about I’m talking there, to be really honest with you. I have to sing a few verses with the music that we have written together. I sang how it was in my head. So this is a somewhat mysterious song for me. I suppose, “Red Right Hand” is a hand, plunged in blood, you know? It is the Evil. It is about someone, who pretends to be the saviour, but he isn’t.

Spex: Consequently the Devil.

Nick: You can say that’s the Devil. But it is only a song about… it is only that, what it is.

“They never caught the man
He’s still on the loose
It seems he has done many many more
Quotes John Milton on the walls in the victim’s blood
The police are investigating at tremendous cost
In my house he wrote, “red right hand”
That, I’m told is from Paradise Lost

— “Song of Joy”, Murder Ballads, 1996

Cave grew up the son of a librarian and an English professor, so it’s no surprise that he’s inspired by literature. And while I can’t find a direct quote from Cave to confirm it, it’s treated as common knowledge across the internet that “Red Right Hand” was inspired by “Paradise Lost” by 17th century English poet John Milton, an epic poem with over ten thousand lines of verse on the Biblical story of Adam & Eve. The closest we get to a confirmation is “Song of Joy,” a song he described to Swedish magazine Pop in 1994 as “the pre-eminently most nasty, most implacable song” on his following album Murder Ballads. And in an essay on an old version of the Nick Cave website, Bad Seeds drummer Jim Sclavunos reveals:

Toward the end of Bad Seed (Ian Johnston’s autobiography of Nick Cave), a fleeting clue is dropped about a new song Cave was in the process of writing at the time. With the working title of “Red Right Hand II” it relates the tale of a father of three that murders his entire family — the very same scenario laid out in “Song of Joy”, the opening track of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds 1996 album Murder Ballads. The references to “his red right hand” and other Miltonian citations sprinkled throughout link the two songs; but the gory details in “Song of Joy” make it clear that Cave had left behind the baleful romantic brooding of Let Love In, and this was to be a more bloodthirsty successor.

It’s interesting that Nick Cave carried the idea of the “red right hand” to the next album, an album that sees the demise of 65 (fictional) victims (yes, someone counted!). So, maybe “Red Right Hand” isn’t about the “devil” himself, but about the devil that lurks within, that compells a man to murder his entire family.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Spooktober Edition,”where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip! 🎃

The Birthday Party (originally known as The Boys Next Door) were an Australian post-punk band, active from 1978 to 1983. Despite limited commercial success, The Birthday Party’s influence has been far-reaching, and they have been called “one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early ’80s.” The group’s “bleak and noisy soundscapes,” which drew irreverently on blues, free jazz, and rockabilly, provided the setting for vocalist Nick Cave’s disturbing tales of violence and perversion. Their music has been described by critic Simon Reynolds as gothic, and their single “Release the Bats” was particularly influential on the emerging gothic scene.

In 1980, The Birthday Party moved from Melbourne to London, where they were championed by broadcaster John Peel. Disillusioned by their stay in London, the band’s sound and live shows became increasingly violent. They broke up soon after relocating to West Berlin in 1982. The creative core of The Birthday Party – singer and songwriter Nick Cave, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mick Harvey, and singer, songwriter and guitarist Rowland S. Howard – later went on to acclaimed careers.

The Birthday Party – ‘Deep In The Woods’

There’s no denying that Nick Cave is the master of murder ballads, and in all honesty, any number of Bad Seeds songs could have made this list: ‘Song Of Joy’ is an obvious pick, and ‘Red Right Hand’ is an all-time spooky classic.

However, I thought it’d be more useful to spotlight another side of the beloved troubadour with The Birthday Party’s ‘Deep In The Woods’, with Cave showcasing his trademark creepy lyricism alongside the cataclysmic guitar playing of Rowland S. Howard to incredible effect. It’s a bit of an obscurity, but ‘Deep In The Woods’ is quite frankly terrifying from start to finish.

Birthday Party – Deep in The Woods. Album: The Bad Seed, 1983

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Spooktober Edition,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip! 🎃

One of, if not “The” most disturbing 10 minute recorded songs of destitution and insanity that culminates in total tragedy, ‘Frankie Teardrop’ is considered by many to be one of the most disturbing songs ever made, with High Fidelity writer Nick Hornby famously describing it as ‘a song you only want to hear once’.

Complete with jarring synth loops from Martin Rev and and Alan Vega’s twisted, contorted vocal performance, ‘Frankie Teardrop’ sees the electro-punk pioneers at their most insidious, and more than 40 years since its release, it still sounds just as ghastly.

Dominating most of the album’s second side, “Frankie Teardrop” is the dark, pulsating heart of Suicide’s self-titled debut of 1977, the most extreme statement on a record many listeners already found too extreme. With Alan Vega delivering lyrics like cut-ups from a Pop Art catalogue in his rockabilly hiccup, and Martin Rev sculpting droning washes of future-noise and bubblegum echoes from cheap keyboards and rudimentary rhythm machines that sounded like they were about to catch fire, Suicide sounded like nothing on Earth.

Formed in New York City in 1969 from a background of avant-garde jazz (Rev) and visual art (Vega), they were against the grain from the first. Their early shows were as much confrontational performance art as music performance, Vega attacking the walls of venues with a bike chain, when he wasn’t himself being attacked by the audience.

In retrospect, their two-guys-and-some-machines set-up drafted the analogue blueprint for music’s digital future, but at the time people reacted as though they were assaulting the very spirit of rock and roll. “We were breaking a lot of sacred rules,” says Rev today. “The amount of people in a group; the instrumentation; the theatre of it. And, of course, the fact we were called Suicide.”

“Frankie Teardrop,” though, was the song that sent people over the edge. A hissing, two-note, proto-industrial nightmare of hypnotic monotony, punctuated by Vega screaming like a man with thorns in his soul, it’s the ten-minute-plus tale of a 20-year-old factory worker who can’t afford to feed his family, cracks up, and kills them and himself: Bob Dylan’s “Hollis Brown”, reimagined by Travis Bickle.

“Yeah,” says Vega. “It got the reaction it was supposed to get. Frankie, Frankie…”

Suicide: Frankie Teardrop. Album: Suicide Released 1977

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Spooktober Edition,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip! 🎃

CARACH ANGREN is a Black Metal band from the Netherlands that was formed back in 2003. Their style is characterized by a prominent use of orchestral arrangements and Horror stories.

The band draws inspiration from books, movies, and general discussions about these topics when trying to form a new haunting story. As the story is a main element in all our releases, we really try to work hard on this and be fresh and innovative without losing our identity. I think the fans deserve something spectacular and new every time.

Today’s Psychedelic Lunch, Spooktober Edition featured track comes from the record, “This is No Fairytale.” Check out the official video for the killer track “When Crows Tick On Windows.”

Carach Angren: “When Crows Tick On Windows” Album: ”This is No Fairytale” Release Date: February 23rd, 2015

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Spooktober Edition,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip! 🎃

With Ending Life Slowly being inspired by death and decay that takes place during the latter part of Fall, starting the album with a song dedicated to Halloween was a natural first step. It marks an end to the most hallowed month of the year, and celebrates its macabre mayhem before we enter the cold void of November.

Autumn’s Eyes: Ending Life Slowly. Release Date October 31st 2017

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