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Group Feature: Bands That Scare Us

As the days get shorter and the nights grow colder, you may feel an ominous gloom fill the air. Beware of horrifying creatures, wicked tales, and every frat house playing some rendition of The Chainsmokers. That being said, Halloween is here. At ACRN, the conventional things may not scare us (they do), but these bands are another story. Prepare to get shook.

Jon Fuchs, Music Director: Every Band on Psychopathic Records that ISN’T Insane Clown Posse

Halloween is the time of ghouls, goblins and scary face paint (I mean, just look at all the clowns running around!). But some people believe that it can work year-round, and no other label gets the “everyday is Halloween” theme more than Psychopathic Records, the label run by the one and only, Insane Clown Posse (sorry Gaywitch). With a roster full of weirdos covered in clown makeup and weapon paraphernalia, everyone on Psychopathic (as well as their “Juggalo” gang-related fanbase) is kind of terrifying; well, except the Insane Clown Posse themselves.

Because of the endless amount of strange films and cameos in various YouTube videos, the Insane Clown Posse never come off as scary or threatening: they’re corny. It’s two middle-aged men running around in detailed clown makeup, and it stopped being scary and started being weird, mainly because ICP is a well-known group in the cesspool that is American pop culture. However, who is Twiztid? What the hell is an Anybody Killa? How many felonies do I have to get to become a Psychopathic Ryda? The rest of the roster’s lack of personality and influence make them feel unknown and anonymous, which is all the more frightening. Call that an insult if you want (it is), but the rest of the label’s roster is just flat-out scary, mainly because you can’t tell if it’s all serious or not.

Devon Hannan, Features Editor: Angelo Badalamenti on Twin Peaks

It’s October, so that means that this is the only month of the year when I can religiously watch reruns of Twin Peaks. Sure, the plot itself is a mystifying thriller, full of demonic and inescapably scary undertones, but what complements this surrealistic 90s drama isn’t Kyle Maclachlan (okay, maybe it is), but its haunting soundtrack.

Composed by Angelo Badalamenti, The Soundtrack From Twin Peaks captures the creepy happenings in the show perfectly. Screeching clarinets and howling orchestration throughout the score mirror the essence of Killer Bob and reinforce the idea that “the owls are not what they seem.” The slow moving synthesizer in “Laura Palmer’s Theme” sends shivers up the spine. Melancholy vocals from Julee Cruise, specifically in “Into The Night,” complement Badalamenti’s instrumentation with an eerie, seductive element. What’s spookier (or more badass) than a woman singing softly on a soundtrack about the tragic, mysterious death of a small town homecoming queen?

That being said, Angelo Badalamenti’s score is enough to make anybody wonder, “Who really killed Laura Palmer?”

Charles Greenlee, Copy Editor: Pharmakon

Have you ever heard of Pharmakon? No? That’s probably because you haven’t heard of the genre "death industrial" until reading that. Anyway, one of the more popular artists of death industrial is Pharmakon.

I really can’t describe anything that is going on with Pharmakon. I also refuse to believe anyone else does either. Between the harsh synth and screams of literal anguish, I found myself disturbed by what I was listening to. Every time I listen to Pharmakon, I feel like I am in some weird progressive and artsy haunted house where there is some dialogue on a social issue that I am clearly missing because I am still scared of the girl screaming at me as she smothers herself in the blood from a phony pig carcass all over herself. That is pretty much where Pharmakon puts you and it is absolutely horrifying.

If you are really trying to disturb your guests at your Halloween shindig this year, Pharmakon will do the trick. Listen to “Intent or Instinct” and you’ll be convinced.

Cailynn Beck, Contributor: Swans

Swans is a band I’ve been able to appreciate for a really long time, but now that we’re ringing in the Halloween festivities, I’ve learned how much they truly spook me. I’ve never been a super huge fan of metal or industrial music per say, but Swans have always stuck out to me and gave me hope that there was a way to like experimental noise rock without being too terrified.

I still stick to this, but I sometimes I end up questioning myself. If I listen to Swans during this time of the year, I end up spooking myself too hard. I’d say the only ideal time to listen to Swans is when you’re feeling too angsty to have any holiday spirit or when you need to lighten up a bit.

If you don't believe me, go outside, alone in the dark, and lurk about on Halloween night with the sweet sound of Michael Gira’s bleak and haunting voice ringing in your ears. You’re bound to scare a few people, including yourself. It’s Halloween and if you just want to fit in and feel spooky, Swans will help. I promise.

Justin Cudahy, Contributor: Marilyn Manson

To this day, I still find Marilyn Manson as scary and disturbing as I did when I was young. His songs, music videos, public image and just about every other aspect of him is nightmare-worthy. I can still remember going through my parent’s CD cabinet, pulling out Mechanical Animals, and just staring blankly at the cover art for minutes. Seeing the pale skinned, androgynous naked figure staring back was all it took to scare the hell out of me.

Several years later, I’ve learned to appreciate Manson’s act as a whole. He serves as a figure head to outsiders, and is very much involved with charity work as well as being an advocate for some of today’s social problems. What people may not know is that he is also very bright, and it radiates every time you hear him speak. In other words, he’s a cool guy, but that still doesn’t change the fact that I think he’s terrifying.

Gabriel Dooley, Contributor: Aaron Dilloway

When it comes to bands that scare me, the first artist that comes to my mind is the noise musician, Aaron Dilloway. His music sounds like the soundtrack of a disturbing, surrealist, avant-garde film. His tape loops on the song "Body Chaos" sample dogs barking, babies screaming, and freight trains roaring and blaring their horns over dense fog of spooky ambiance. "Look Over Your Shoulder" is eighteen minutes of pure spookiness that I wouldn't want to listen to alone, but also wouldn't feel comfortable listening to with others.

I got to see Aaron Dilloway open for the band Clipping, and it was the first time I had seen a live noise performer quite like him. Nonetheless, I was confused and intimidated throughout his performance. Even having grown to love that style of music, between the sound itself and the dark, surreal album cover for Modern Jester, Aaron Dilloway gets me shook.

Claire Klodell, Contributor: Gorillaz

Any song that begins with maniacal laughter will forever remain ingrained within my mind. Not necessarily for a positive reason, the song “Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillaz encapsulates my childhood nightmares. I began to dread driving in the car with my father because he would shatter my eardrums with his tone-deaf karaoke. Who sings along to someone else’s laughter? That’s just weird.

Years after, I decided to search lyrical analyses of the song. Oddly enough, it is more cynical than I am. SongMeanings speculated that the lyric, "City's breaking down on a camel's back," portrays humility and submissiveness. Essentially, the city is disintegrating from society’s inclination to blindly serve without question.

If the song itself was not enough to haunt my thoughts, the music video further lost all potential for a shot at redemption. In an interview with MTV, the band confessed that this single was inspired by “dark, satanic mills and potato-chip-inspired daydreams.”

…Just in case I needed another reason to sleep with my eyes open.

Maria Lubanovic, Contributor: Twenty One Pilots

Bands that scare me? Besides the obvious choice of hardcore Christian bands, I’d have to say Twenty One Pilots. Why? Everyone is absolutely obsessed with them now. The tickets sell out immediately and everyone gets jealous of their friends who have been counting down the seconds until they go on sale to buy them.

I don’t get it. Attack me on this, fine. I don’t get “Heathens”; I don’t get “Car Radio”; I don’t get “Stressed Out.” I guess I’m stressed out, but only because this band makes kids cry and fight each other over for tickets. I guess the band doesn’t really scare me so much as the rabid fan base does.

Alexander Sherry, Contributor: Anklepants

The artist that scares me the most is Anklepants. Anklepants might be the strangest thing I've ever seen or heard. All you have to do to see what I'm talking about is a quick Google search; I don't know if it’s the animatronic penis on his face or the scythe he carries around, but just seeing the mask that Anklepants wears is enough to scare most people. I decided to dive into his music and really try and answer why he does what he does.

The first thing I did was go to his Bandcamp. I can safely say I haven't been this confused since I visited Frankie Cosmos’ Bandcamp page. That being said, there is no structure to anything this man does. The song and album titles are full of misspellings, strange symbols, random capitalizations, and made-up words.

The scariest thing of all, is the music itself. It is strange, but not in the way that you would expect. In fact, it’s strange because of how generic it is. Other than the pitch changes in vocals, Anklepants' discography is pretty much just really bad house music. If his music is so bland and uninspired, why does he act so strange? Sure there are bands that do weird things on purpose, but there is no reason, other than insanity, for Anklepants to do what he does.

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