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Music is the universal language. What this song says in every language is "RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU FUCKING CAN!!!"
YouTube comment on a song from the soundtrack for Akira.

Some noises while sleeping wake you up. Some noises while awake make you not sleep right.

For the images related to songs, see the Music Videos section.


Sub-pages:


Metal

  • Puritania by Dimmu Borgir. Nuff said.
  • For those interested in cocaine, alcohol, and tobacco, Type O Negative made Sinus, Liver, and Lung, respectively. This is especially disturbing as they were made to be as accurate as possible. The lead singer, couldn't stand listening to Sinus in particular due to his cocaine habit- it was like foreshadowing as the habit eventually killed him.
  • While many of the songs from the little-known (and arguably under appreciated) band Cradle of Thorns could probably apply, special mention should go to their song "Behave" because of the beautifully creepy way Ty's screams mingle with Tamera's lovely voice. Not to mention the song is about a sophisticated, church-going, college graduated serial killer that murders just to see his work on the news.
  • Wide-ranging example: this is the whole purpose of the Funeral Doom Metal genre. Example.
  • Haunted by the ghost of a dead actress by The Plasmarifle. It's an enjoyable song..But it quickly turns unnerving when the whispers start. Listen to it at midnight with no lights on and tell me it's not terrifying.
    • Better yet, 2 AM, because at midnight there's still activity of the late night crowd. At 2 AM, the late night crowd has mostly gone to bed and morning is so far away that the early risers aren't up yet. It's done DEAD time (Incredibly Lame Pun intended).
  • Avenged Sevenfold's "Bat Country". C'MON! The lyrics are based on the bad acid trips experienced by Raoul in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
    • How about a "Little Piece of Heaven"? A brief summary: A man loves his girlfriend, so he proposes to her. She rejects him. In a rage, he murders her, preserves her body, cannibalizes parts, and has his way with what is left. She goes back from Hell, and murders him for revenge. They meet up in the afterlife, and they realize the error of their ways, and get married, at which point they go on a killing spree.
  • Cattle Decapitation create some truly horrifying songs. As with all deathgrind bands their lyrics can be potentially vomit-inducing at times with the over the top gore, but their song Regret and the Grave is the most unsettling. The piercing shriek of the guitars is a sound that will keep you awake for hours and that's not even counting the inhuman sounding vocals.
    • How about Testicular Manslaughter? The intro? That's audio from a video of a Russian soldier being beheaded with a knife. The lyrics can be considered HONF too, though the fact that they're about castrating a rapist may take the edge off for some.
    • Their new album kicks it a notch further. First off, there's the downright traumatizing video for Kingdom of Tyrants. It's not just that, though; pretty much every single song on the album has some sort of deeply unsettling moment. The absolutely terrifying chorus of "Your Disposal" takes the cake, however.
      • Oh, and one more thing. While Travis Ryan is a very mellow, down-to-earth person offstage, he IS this trope onstage. Uncanny Valley is his specialty.
  • Days of the Weak by Nuclear Death. Not only is it a particularly unhinged and apocalyptic death metal tune, but the lyrics (NSFW) are some of the sickest ever put to music.
  • If the Satellite 15 part of "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier" by Iron Maiden doesn't make you feel like some shit is about to go down, you are insane beyond belief.
    • Dear Lord, Satellite 15. It will break anyone still sane after being able to listen AMOLAD in its entirety. Essentially, it starts off with an extremely bizarre bass riff that becomes the underlying riff for two whole minutes, followed by a tribal drum riff being repeated over and over. Then doom-metallish guitar chords kick in, where suddenly a second three beat drum riff kicks in and loops over and over for a minute while a bizarre The Hell Is That Noise guitar riff plays. The drums and guitars stop eventually, only for a few guitar chords and Bruce singing about being lost in space and desperate for someone to hear his call ensue. Then suddenly a double bass drum riff and military drum line kick in, only for it to end with four Scare Chords (for some this is where the intro really gets kickass). Then, of course, the rather upbeat and positive title track happens. Apparently it's a demo that Adrian Smith handed to Steve Harris and it appears on the album as is. One must wonder what the HELL that H was smoking when he made it.
      • The band topped themselves in terms of HONF with the intro for the 2011 Final Frontier tour. As Satellite 15 plays, the intro video consists of shots from the The Final Frontier video, random shots of an EQ, exploding nebulas, grotesque X ray imagery, a CG Bruce who looks slightly deformed singing, Eddie roaring in the audience's faces, melting film and explosions. Meanwhile, the band stays in the dark with sullen facial expressions remaining unnaturally still, and could only be seen by camera flashes and quick glimpses of light as the lights shine outward. Then Bruce runs to the mic stand and thus the awesomeness starts. Seen here.
    • Maiden have some pretty creepy tunes in general. Try listening to "Dream of Mirrors" and not getting unsettled by its lyrics.
    • Rime of The Ancient Mariner's slow and creepy middle part is the last thing you want to listen to at midnight with the lights off.
      • The fact that a brief snippet of that part is played over a photo of the band staring at the camera (with creepy stares too) on a brief segment of the documentary on Disc 2 of Live After Death doesn't help either. (2:33 in this video).
  • "Twist" by Korn, which can't help but evoke the image of evisceration by a wolverine with rabies. However, the song could also be considered the Crowning Moment of Funny in this video.
  • Faith No More (and Mike Patton) are known for covering some unconventional topics for such a big-name band, but the track "Jizzlobber" from Angel Dust has got to be one of the most horrifying songs ever, for its themes as much as its music. Patton has stated it's about his fears of going to prison (and therefore, a very adult-orientated nightmare fuel), and the song may even be about Prison Rape.
    • Anyone willing to get themselves scared shitless should listen to Mike Patton's Adult Themes for Voice album late at night with the lights off; it features 40 minutes of him making some of the most fucked-up noises you will ever hear. If you make it all the way through you will be a different person.
  • Come now, we can't forget Marilyn Manson can we? For starters (rather literally, first track on the album Smells Like Children) the Hands of Small Children is nothing but distortions of children crying, nursery rhymes, an inexplicable unearthly moaning, and buzzing sounds. Portrait of An American Family also starts off with Marilyn reading the quite disturbing dialogue from the tunnel sequence from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and a good deal of the albums are chronicles of an apocalypse that loop perfectly if left to run on their own.
    • Manson's rendition of Tainted Love can be rather terrifying as well.
    • Listening to Antichrist Superstar all the way through while in bed with the lights off - not exactly nice... If none of the actual songs scare you, the hidden track "Empty Sounds of Hate" should do the trick: it's a collage of mechanical-sounding distorted voices saying things like "If you are hearing this, there is nothing I can do", "Something has grown in my chest... it is hard and cold...", and "When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you".
      • It doesn't help that "Empty Sounds of Hate" plays a good while after the final song on the album -- which means that an unsuspecting listener who might leave the CD playing on a computer or stereo would become quite startled when their machine suddenly starts whispering eerie messages and murmurs of death. And, of course, the fact that the track contains a clearly audible layer of backmasking adds Paranoia Fuel to the creepiness of it all.
      • The first statement sounds like "Aaa Air freshener!" when played backwards.
    • "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This")... so wrong but ooooh so right.
    • "Man That You Fear", with its air of ruin and hopelessness. It seems to be about a Complete Monster confronting someone who loved him before his Start of Darkness. "Pray your life was just a dream..." The song can also be kind of a Tear Jerker, with its mournful air and the fact that Manson seems to always be on the edge of sobbing... and then the horrifying cacophony of sound after the lyrics end scares the hell out of you.

 The world in my hands,

There's no one left to hear you scream

No one left for you

When all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed

    • Holy Wood has its fair share of scary as well, with "The Fall of Adam" being reminiscent of "Man That You Fear".
      • That track starts off as an acoustic lament with muffled thunder in the background as Manson sings of the revolution carried out in the previous tracks falling apart; "When one world ends, something else begins, but without a scream... just a whisper, 'cause we just... started over again." Then comes the the heavy, palm-muted guitar, with Manson going from a gentle half-whispered lament to a screeching, angry tirade. And the end isn't any less scary, with all sound fading into the buzzing of flies, a lead-in to "King Kill 33".
      • That track is a half-whispered, half-shouted declaration of war through a strange voice filter, meant to display a possible interpretation of the Columbine killers' twisted rationale.
      • Hell, all of Holy Wood is supposed to be based off of the Columbine Massacre. So take a good look at the lyrics. Every song is, in some way, supposed to be Klebold and Harris's thoughts, actions and beliefs. This can be either extremely depressing or extremely terrifying. Possibly a mixture of both.
    • This is Halloween! This is Halloween! Pumpkins scream in the dead of NIGHT!
    • "Suicide Is Painless": the M*A*S*H theme, originally a somewhat pensive song, now with distorted noises in the background that almost touch being something you can identify, but not quite, and a creepily level and unemotional lead voice.
  • Remember kids. Having your alarm on "random song" may seem like a good idea. And then... Nightwish's "Cadence of Her Last Breath".
    • Or maybe it is. At least you won't be tempted to reach for the "snooze" button after waking up to that...
    • A few other good Nightmare Fuel songs include... let's see... "The Kinslayer", "End of All Hope", "Feel For You"... heck, a lot of their songs could be considered this if you ended up listening to them at the wrong time.
    • "The Poet and the Pendulum". Selected lyrics include:
      • "I’m afraid. I'm so afraid. Being raped again and again and again."
      • "You live long enough to hear the sound of guns / Long enough to find yourself screaming every night / long enough to see your friends betray you."
      • "Cut in half - infanticide."
      • And remember this is the song that practically saved the songwriter from committing suicide! (since the song is about him)
      • Also the weird screeching noise followed by what sounds like a snapping chain midway through the song.
    • Their latest album, Imaginaerum, gives us such creepy gems as "Ghost River" ("He will go down he will drown drown, deeper down...") and the aptly-named "Scaretale".
  • Malice Mizer, "N.p.s. N.g.s. (No pains no gains)." Any song containing the line "so I ate him" said by a high-pitched female voice is just begging to be listed here.
      • The high voice is Kami, the drummer, talking into a voice distorter. Given that Malice Mizer suffered from Kami Existence Failure not too long after the song was released, that doesn't really help.
    • From the early days: "Baroque" (It's just photos; there's not a music video). If you didn't know what the song meant, you wouldn't get too freaked out right away. Yes, the singer's tone seems rather desperate, but it's not until you realize that he's singing to the corpse of the woman he has just strangled to death that things get truly unnerving.
  • Dir en Grey. Go on, go look up Obscure, Mazohyst of Decadence, Raison D'etre, or Agitated Screams of Maggots. We dare you.
    • And, just for kicks, Agitated Screams of Maggots Acoustic. It doesn't even need a music video to be extremely creepy.
    • Dir en Grey is a Japanese band, so it's all in Japanese. What I propose is that everyone reading this right now, look up the English translations for these songs, especially "Obscure." Hell, the singer screams the words "Bloody Baby Sacrifice" in English a number of times.
  • "The Virus of Life" by Slipknot is one song that should never, ever be played while you're lying in a dark bedroom trying to fall asleep.
    • Other creepy Slipknot songs are "Prosthetics", "Tattered and Torn", and the 15-minute nightmare epic, "Iowa".
    • Frail Limb Nursery also deserves a mention with that eerie monologue, but the worst one they have is Scissors, where Corey screams himself into a delirium and breaks down for real in the studio.
  • "Dead Skin Mask" by Slayer, a song inspired by murderer Ed Gein, can be quite unsettling, especially towards the end, as the lyrics are interspersed with the frightened cries of one of Gein's young victims. Reading about Ed Gein himself makes the song even creepier.
    • On that note, "Angel of Death" is a song about Josef Mengele, a Nazi "doctor" who performed awful experiments on people during the Holocaust. The song describes some of them in extremely graphic detail, making this possibly their most terrifying song for those who aren't used to their sort of music.
    • Also, "213" is about Jeffrey Dahmer (a serial murderer famed for copulating with corpses) and contains such delightful lyrics as "Erotic sensations tingle my spine/a dead body lying next to mine/Smooth blue-black lips/I start salivating as we kiss..."
    • "Unit 731" is about the eponymous Japanese unethical medical experiment group set up during the Second World War. They're in the Real Life section.
  • Black Sabbath's self-titled song. A pure and prime example of "Diabolus in musica." The song was inspired by a nightmare of "Geezer" Butler's. After reading a book about the occult, he fell asleep and woke up a bit later to see a silent creature with a black face staring back at him. And when I say black, I mean pure black. No eyes, mouth, anything - only black.
    • "Hand of Doom" has frighteningly explicit lyrics about drug addiction, especially in the last part of the song, coupled with occasional, brief bursts of guitar feedback that sounds like a drill entering your skull.
    • How could anyone not even bother to mention War Pigs? The first and third part of the apocalyptic anti-war lyrics are accompanied with eerie silence save for the regular guitar hits.
  • The lyrics to the Rammstein song "Stein um Stein", which describe the process of building someone into a wall. While they're still alive. See for yourself here.
    • On the subject of Rammstein, "Mein Teil" also deserves a mention. Partly because it's about the real-life case of Armin Meiwes - indeed, the lyrics are preceded by Meiwes' ad for a young man to be 'slaughtered and then consumed' - and partly because in the middle eight, there's a noise in the background that sounds like dying screams.
    • Rammstein generally have either lyrics about sex or murder or both. There are two songs about plane crashes, one about an insane man shagging his decaying dead wife, "Wo Bist du?" (Where are you?) about a man searching for someone in order to knife them. "Ich Tu Dir Weh", so bad that the German government has put it and the album on which it appears, Liebe ist für alle da, on the Index. This means it cannot be sold to minors. (to be fair, the artwork shows them killing and eating women.) And "Haifisch" (Shark) is based on the chorus of "Die Moritat von Mackier Messer" (The Ballad of Mack the Knife).
  • Reverend Bizarre has a little known single version of their song "Slave of Satan", which has a satanic speech in the beginning not featured on the album version. It may be Narm to some people, but personally I find it distinctly unnerving, while demonic voices chant "Shemhamforash" in the background while the man rants on against all things Christian. Brrrgh.
  • Try having a good night's sleep after listening to "Dinner at Deviant's Palace" or "Venus in Fear", both by Cradle of Filth. Extremely unsettling.
    • In all seriousness, every song in their discography could be this trope. Dani Filth's unnaturally shrill screams are just terrifying. He sounds like a female murder victim from a horror movie at times. But every single vocal technique he uses always sounds eerie. His deep voice sounds like Satan himself.
    • As a bonus for curious tropers, here's Dinner at Deviant's Palace in reverse. Christians probably shouldn't click on the link.
  • Opeth. This isn't the only song of theirs that's creepy, but something about that bit is chilling, especially when it leads into the sinister, repetitive outro.

 Deliverance

Thrown back at me

Deliverance

Laughing at me

  • Most of Cannibal Corpse's music could go in here. With song names such as "Necropedophile" and "Meat Hook Sodomy", there really is no need to explain.
    • The lyrics of their earlier stuff tend to be a lot more nightmarish (especially "I Cum Blood" and "Entrails Ripped from a Virgin's Cunt"), although the lyrics have been toned down in their extremity since about the mid-nineties, when they got Corpsegrinder as a vocalist. In terms of actually terrifying songs, "Devoured by Vermin" and "Blood-Drenched Execution" definitely fit the bill. Of course, some of their stuff could easily be considered Nightmare Retardant.
    • "Orgasm Through Torture" has Cannibal's signature gory lyrics, but the song itself is HONF period. Listen to the main riff alone at night. I dare you.
  • Sunn 0))) has very disturbing songs, even if the vocals don't say much (They're usually just screams). The sheer darkness of their music is enough to give nightmares. See for yourself.
    • There's also Sunn O)))'s "Bathory Erzsebet". For those who don't know, this is a song in which famed black metal vocalist Malefic was recorded while performing vocals inside a coffin. Malefic is claustrophobic. The microphone outside the coffin records his vocal performance - one inside just records his terrified breathing.
    • The entire subgenre of "drone metal" (which is what Sunn 0))) belongs to) is pretty creepy, too. However, there is one band from that genre that is much, much more terrifying than Sunn 0))): Khanate.
  • The discography of the black metal band Blut Aus Nord fits under this trope. Their music consists of atonal screams, atonal guitars, atonal everything else. And, dear god, is it terrifying.
    • That is, their later, industrial music inspired output. "Ultima Thulee" and "Memoria Vetusta I" are more conventional, melodic black metal works.
  • Black metal band Wewelsburg's "Fatal Futurism Factory". It begins with some mysterious, atmospheric noises... a dog barks... then a man ranting under his breath about there being no escape. It is very unclear what he's trying to escape from. A demonic voice tells him, "Where are you going? It's too late for you. We can see you. You're going to die." And then, a Creepy Child voice lamenting, "Everything is dark here! Why did you let me die?" Eep.
  • Most black metal bands try to be scary but just fail hilariously. But along comes a band like Anaal Nathrakh which is pure terror personified in a musical form. Just listen. The fact that the misanthropic screams are juxtaposed with the ominous clean vocals only adds to the terror.
    • Regression to the Mean is a great example - it has a heavily distorted air-raid siren blaring, a choir in the background offsetting that, and Attila Csihar's ominous growls, which were then distorted even more.
    • This song is easily one of the scariest things that you'll ever listen to, even if you're a fan of goregrind, death metal and extreme music in general. It's not the most brutal song of all time, but it's a good contender for most TOTALLY FUCKING NECRO song of all time.
      • I hate you! I hate you! From the very first second my heart was pounding and it still wont stop and it's been ten minutes now. Worse still, I loved the song so I'm too tempted to listen to it again.
  • On the album Once Was Not by Cryptopsy, there are at least four songs worthy of this trope. "Luminum" and "The End" because they're just so damn haunting, and "In The Kingdom Where Everything Dies, the Sky Is Mortal" and "Endless Cemetery" because they're, for lack of a better word, apocalyptic in nature.
    • There is a group for "real metal fans" on last.fm, where one of the criteria for getting in was to "fall asleep listening to Cryptopsy". Needless to say, few people got in...
  • Celtic Frost's Danse Macabre (and to a lesser extent, Tears in a Prophet's Dream) is a literal musical embodiment of this trope, featuring horrifying sounds of violin strings scraping, distorted, layered whining voices, and eerie voices speaking something that sounds like "come to me." And those are only some of the horrors you will hear in this nightmare of a song.
    • Pretty much the entire album of Monotheist is pure Nightmare Fuel. Especially "Dying God Coming into Human Flesh," featuring strange, unidentifiable sounds, reversed vocals, layered feedback, and lyrics that form an ominous mantra. But the song that really takes the cake is "Tottengot," which is German for "Dead God," and features disturbing lyrics sung in a terrifying hiss.
  • Megadeth's "Good Mourning/Black Friday" definitely falls under this. The song is about being possessed by a demon and then going out and murdering people with a hammer. The way Dave sings "And I will cut you down" is horrifying.
  • Metallica's "The Memory Remains". You're lying if you say that the old woman (Marianne Faithfull, a famous English singer and actor) singing and playing the accordion isn't going to keep you up at night. Something like this.
    • "Fight Fire With Fire" can also be pretty terrifying. It's a song about a nuclear holocaust. The sound of a bomb going off at the end doesn't help.
    • Try listening to "One" and not imagining yourself in that situation. Watching the video is even worse. In the book it's based on, the soldier doesn't want to die, but, in a CMOA and CMOH, to go on a speaking (well, signalling) tour to show the inhumanity of war.
    • "The Thing That Should Not Be," with the unsettling chorus guitar and Kirk's lead giving the impression of a wailing beast, also fits in this category.
    • Am I the only one now intensely terrified a sandman will break into my house and kill me while I sleep? "Enter Sandman" is half Paranoia Fuel, half Fridge Horror.
  • The Axis of Perdition, a British industrial Black Metal band. Here are some examples for you all.
    • Kind of comes with the territory, since they are a Silent Hill tribute band.
    • The term "blind idiot god" in in the lyrics of the song on one of those links, So Cthulhu Mythos as well. Here have a link to Lovecraft's page.
  • The entire genre of Grindcore seems to exist solely to create nightmares.
    • With that said, a lot of grindcore can count as Nightmare Retardant, basically being the musical equivalent to cheesy horror movies (Your Mileage May Vary, though). But then, bands like Pig Destroyer (NSFW) come along. The album Terrifyer is appropriately named.
      • Pig Destroyer's lyrics are also incredibly nightmarish. David Lynch doesn't have squat on JR Hayes.
        • And then there's Pig Destroyer's Natasha, an EP taken up by a single, 37-minute long song named "Natasha". It's so totally fucking unpleasant and nihilistic it's almost painful to listen to.
        • The reprise of Jennifer that follows Piss Angel (starting at 2:34) is just horrific. You drift away listening to that awful CG-voice narrating and at some point you snap out of it, noticing that the horrible sound in the background is growing louder, and then it says "...She knew that sooner or later they would realize that the ride wasn't stopping and they were all going to die." and shuts up, but the sound doesn't stop, and then your brain clicks and you realize that he was talking about you realizing that "the ride" isn't stopping and-
        • Hell even the album cover is disturbing as fuck, depicting a man hacking his own limbs off with a saw.
  • Admiral Angry, a bottom heavy sludge metal band from California. Think Queens of the Stone Age instrumentation slowed down to a crawl with shrieking Sunn O)))-esque vocal stylings. Never has a band name been so fitting. The majority of the album Buster was written by the guitarist while he was dying of complications from Cystic Fibrosis, and it shows in the sheer atonal profound hatred of man.
  • The Welsh death metal band Desecration fits this, especially their debut album Gore and Perversion. It was so bad that authorities arrested band members and destroyed almost all copies of the record, including the masters.
  • The song "Premonition of Pain" by 3 Inches Of Blood. "THE TYRANT IS HERE, TO TAKE UP YOUR THRONE, TO TAKE OFF YOUR HEAD, BEFORE TAKING YOUR CROWN!!! THE MYSTIC HE LAUGHS, YOU SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO ME, BUT NOW YOU BEG FOR YOUR LIFE ON YOUR KNEES!!!" Then it ends with "The price... paid in blood... the price... paid in blood... just pray that the blood is not yours."
  • Amon Amarth's "Where Death Seems to Dwell". It's about a dead man mindlesssly wandering the freezing void beneath the earth until he reaches the gates of hell, and the even worse fate that waits within.
    • It gets worse if you know the accompanying mythology, which dictates that he will remain, in agony, in this freezing hell until Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse, when the God of Chaos will conscript him into an army comprised of the rotting remains of the inglorious dead and march on Asgard, leading to a battle which ends the universe. Then, maybe, he will be granted the mercy of fading from existence.
  • Early albums by Intestinal Disgorge just barely sound human.
  • A few bands spring to mind for some metalheads:
    • The first is Xasthur. Recently ended, this ambient black metal project created what can only be described as slow-burning dissonant hellscapes.
    • The next is somewhat more intense than Xasthur; the Sludge Metal nutcases Black Sheep Wall. Think Meshuggah slowed down to about half the speed, with the hatred dialled all the way up.
    • Finally, and perhaps most obviously, Portal.
  • Most of the band Anacrusis's discography qualifies as this. Perfect music to walk through an abandoned asylum in the dark, no lights, because that's what real men do.
  • Disturbed's "Inside the Fire". Mostly if you know what the lyrics are about and have experienced the pain.
    • The breakdown of "Down With the Sickness," depending on who you ask.
  • The Trivium songs "Unrepentant" and "Entrance Of The Conflagration" are based on absurdly disturbing events in which parents murdered their own children. Read up on them and watch your hands get sweaty for the rest of the day.
  • Stalaggh. Oh good lord, Stalaggh.
    • To elaborate, this vaguely Black Metal-related noise project consists of the sound of insane people straight out of mental wards locked up together in cathedrals, toppling over each other frantically while shrieking endlessly and inadvertently evoking the sound of the complete chaos, confusion and all-consuming sorrow lurking in the most base end of the human psyche... and pretty much the most unnerving thing you could ever hope to listen to. The "performers" supposedly consented to take part in these recordings, though it's been called into question whether anyone that far gone into mental instability can really consent to being exploited for art in this way; thus, Stalaggh has always been a very controversial act and is often name-checked among Black Metal acts known for their (often exaggerated) crimes against humanity. (Oh, and if you're wondering how this counts as Black Metal, there are trem riffs hidden in the cacophony... occasionally... but they don't serve as much more than window dressing for obvious reasons).
  • Pageninetynine played mostly run-off-the-mill grindcore in their early years but their fascination with the macabre combined with musical experimentation and the effect of living in The Deep South led to some music that had no screaming or thrashing in it but made up for it in sheer creepiness. It's like if Faulkner played punk rock. However, due to the unconventionality of their music it is a definite case of Your Mileage May Vary.
  • Doom Metal supergroup Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine have the song "The Smiler", where vocalist Lee Dorian gives an incredibly tortured vocal performance which sounds like a man on the edge of a dreadful acid trip. Listen to that and tell me it doesn't rattle your spine.
    • Also theres "He Who Accepts All That Is Offered", from the same album, a scarily realistic monologue of drug abuse and its consequences.
  • Either this or a Tear Jerker, German Folk Metal band Saltatio Mortis gives us "Koma", a song from the perspective of a person who lies in a coma, describing his sufferings, growing insanity and longing for salvation. Unless you understand the lyrics, it is probably not that bad... until the end.
  • "Eaten" by Bloodbath. It seems like standard Death Metal fare and nothing exceptionally creepy for the genre, but then you read about the story behind the song.
    • The song is about the Armin Meiwes case, and is also the basis for the Rammstein song "Mein Teil", which is mentioned above.
  • Acid Bath runs on Nightmare Fuel. Despite the over the top amount of death and gore in their songs, they avoid Narm through a combination of lyrical imagery that runs the gamut from Surreal Horror to things that should not be done to the human body, and vocals that switch between slow and melodic Stoner Metal, classic black metal snarling, and distortion effects just barely on the wrong side of the Uncanny Valley. All of this is often juxtaposed with images of youth, beauty, and innocence. Here are some lyrics for the viewer's enjoyment:

 "Jezebel": "She screams bloody murder as they chop off her fingers. So this is how it feels to die"

"Scream of the Butterfly": "She runs through fields of daisies. Yeah, it's just a shame that they eat their own babies."

"Venus Blue": "I eat the razor, a mouth full of God's flesh. Sweating this blackness, I'm shitting this cold death."

  • Deadsoul Tribe's "Some Things You Can't Return"; while the music is Darker and Edgier than its lyrics, its lyrics imply that every time someone visits your house, they leave a shadow-image of themselves behind - and that these shadows are malignant.
  • The screamed vocals in Burzum can be downright terrifying.'
    • Even more frightening is Varg himself. Keep in mind, a lot of Black Metal artists talk tough about murder and such, but don't have the actions to back themselves up. Varg Vikernes not only killed a bandmate, but also burned down multiple churches. In his interviews he shows no real remorse or regret for the acts, even joking about the arsons. The fact that a cold-blooded killer can be so honest and stark was quite chilling to this troper's friends.
  • The majority of the songs by Macabre. Why? Every song they do is inspired by and about the serial killers of the world, and often goes into lurid detail about their crimes. It would be Nightmare Retardant if it wasn't for the fact that it all actually happened.
  • The Torsofuck song 'Raped by Elephants'. Yeah, it sounds funny at first. Then you'll hear the intro. Oh dear God, the intro.
  • By default, most of Meshuggah's music is scary to listen to: churning guitars tuned slightly above a bass guitar, indecipherable screams, and rather nightmarish lyrics, usually about death, technology, or some combination thereof. What truly is terrifying, however, is their video for "Bleed"; random cuts between a disheveled man, a dying insect, a blood-stained man chained to a wall, and something that looks like an evil albino Shiva, all over a riff that manages to sputter along in not quite 4/4, which just adds to the unnerving "I should be able to see a pattern here" part of the brain.
    • Some other examples include "New Millenium Cyanide Christ" especially when reading the lyrics along with it and imagine them, about a man who ruins himself to become a cyborg demi-god in order to lead the human race to a similar fate. (despite the video being intentionally hilarious [1] The note bending riffs towards the end are spine chilling. Also worth mentioning is near the middle of the very long 1 song Ep I, where it has a very strange sounding acoustic section deliberately off key and sounding like a broken ice cream truck jingle, then the scariest, most furious intense riff of the song bursts out of nowhere...
    • Another potent example is Mind's Mirrors off of Catch Thirtythree. Listen to that in a dark room alone, and try not to get freaked out, especially with the extra low, distorted bass in the beginning. Brrr.....
    • No mention of Elastic? The song starts out like any other Meshuggah song, but ends in a breakdown/solo thing with a dreadful-sounding guitar, then devolves into about 6 minutes of drone ambiance, then proceeds to play every previous song off of the album Chaosphere (including the aforementioned New Millennium Cyanide Christ)...at once.
  • "Livin' Like a Zombie" by Mortification, possibly because it was in BME Pain Olympics.
  • Fantomas' album Delirium Cordia is a horror concept album. The entire album consists of one track over an hour long entitled "Surgical Specimens From the Museum of Skin". The track contains a myriad of unsettling sounds, from surgical instruments to melancholic, monotonous piano. Further driving the point home: the interior artwork of the album consists of photograph excerpts from The Sacred Heart, a book of surgical photography.
    • Director's Cut is an pretty unsettling album too. Some of the songs can be considered pure paranoia fuel, with the way the theme changes from heavy to light and back to heavy again constantly.
    • Hell, everything Fantomas has made goes under this category.
  • Battle of Mice is not the best band to listen to when one does not enjoy nightmare-inducing music; the vocals are downright creepy all the time. Two songs that take the cake are "Bones in the Water" and "At the Base of the Giant's Throat", the latter getting special mention because of the 911 phone call at the end.
    • Even KNOWING that its origins are comparatively innocent doesn't make it anything other than intensely disturbing.
  • One after one... by the star-dogged moon... and I heard nor sigh nor groan... with a heavy thump... a lifeless lump... they dropped down one by one. "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is most likely Iron Maiden's creepiest song. This may be because the poem the song was based on is pretty creepy itself.
  • "Excuse Me While I Kill Myself" by Sentenced. The name is bad enough, but the fact that the song is so upbeat and catchy when it's about shooting yourself in the head is just evil.
  • Star Of Ash's song "Drag Them Down" (from the album 'the Thread') is a very peaceful instrumental song... if you disregard the half-heard, oppressive and irregular drum beat in the background (almost like a heart slowing down) and the sound of a car trunk slamming down, followed by the barely-audible jangle of keys. Coupled with the rest of the album, you just know what's in that trunk. (on second thought, nearly all Star Of Ash songs have some sort of potential for HONF)
  • James LaBrie's solo album Elements of Persuasion has one such song: "Drained". It's about a man stalking himself in his home, often returning to the room he just left, and being completely aware of (and somewhat welcoming toward) the fact that he's losing his mind.
  • Zero Hour albums, "A Fragile Mind" and "The Towers of Avarice" are both this. The former deals with a man who, after having brain surgery (that drives him insane since the anesthetic somehow doesn't take) gains the ability to jump into people's bodies (erasing their personalities in the process) and promptly uses it on the woman he loves. The latter tells the story of a future where gigantic, mechanical towers are all that's left, humans are worked to death in them and their corpses are used to feed the towers; a rebel named Subterranean is free, and he hatches a plan to destroy the towers. After failing and finding himself inside the towers, Subterranean finds out that the towers are actually run by men, who are slowly drawing the free people into the towers to be enslaved by the machinery forever.
  • The Evergrey album In Search of Truth. It tells the story of a man who is (or thinks he is) constantly being abducted by aliens every night. He is tortured, physically and psychologically (often stripped bare and sexually abused). He's further isolated as even those closest to him don't believe his claims about what's happening to him. In the end, it turns out that he was the subject of some sort of an experiment and his tormentors were human all along.
  • King Diamond. Sure, Your Mileage May Vary, but albums about living paintings, corpses made into puppets by a deranged magician (and are very, very aware and alive), ground glass in dinner... his album concepts are pure Nightmare Fuel.
  • Finnish doom metal band Oak has only released one demo so far, but nonetheless they've made some creepy material. Unfortunately, I have only listened to one of their tracks via YouTube, The House on Reed's End Road. The title basically says all with that song, and the eerie, haunting opening riff doesn't help. The vocals emit whining, dramatic and a ghastly moan, with some lyrics depicting a classic haunted house scenario to boot. Though I have only listened to that song, I've got a feeling the others are just as terrifying, what with titles like "The Witch, Cross and Stream" and the ever chilling title of the final track, "In Graveyards, On Darkened Nights". I hope I can get my hands on these tracks as well.
  • Some Ocean Chief songs fit this trope. Most are just straightforward stoner doom metal songs, such as Galleons from the Sun. However, 12 minutes into the song, we get a Jaws like, somewhat creepy melody, and at 13:10, when you least expect it, a FREAKING MONOLITHIC riff tears through that could startle Chuck Norris with ease. And after it goes back to the Jaws melody, you keep expecting it to get heavy again, but it just loops over and over, and fades out of existence. Tobias' creeping chanting of "I am the one..." at the end doesn't help much, either.
  • Peccatum songs "Desolate Ever After" and "Stillness" (both from the same album) were engineered to fuel nightmares. The former is better by the fact that its lyrics were meant to be a Tear Jerker, while the latter is pure nightmare fuel incarnate. Here's a passage:

 Sickening, sickening place

Framed snapshots of buzzing stillness

Noisy polaroid faces

With tick, tack, clock, with tick, tack, clock voices

  • Want chills? "Our Solemn Hour" Reversed. Use your imagination while listening.
  • Alice's Inferno by Spanish Gothic metal band Forever Slave is about a teenaged girl confined to a mental hospital for killing her parents. What follows is basically a journey through her tortured subconscious, based on Dante's Inferno and Alice in Wonderland. The whole thing is such a perverted blend of beauty, innocence, arcane rituals, drugs, and diabolical evil revealed through death growl vocals, Gregorian chants, and a soaring soprano. "In the Forest" and "Aquelarre" are great examples.

 Ceremonies for an ancient ritual

Cawing sounded in the chancel

The cellist was a black crow

Death conducts this orchestra

 Black witches I send out

You can't escape

You better start to shout

Vienen a por ti

No puedes escapar

Comienza a gritar

  • The mostly-unknown mexican brutal death band Disgorge have, for reasons unknown, decided to put this quite unfitting and haunting melody at the beginning of Raise the Pestilence. Just check your sound levels before playing it.
  • Gaza's I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die. Sure, it may sound fairly normal at first (for metal), but that quickly fades away to a bombardment of noise with terrifying tortured screams. Have fun sleeping at night.
  • Pretty much anything by black/noise band Gnaw Their Tongues. Their music might as well be the soundtrack to your nightmares.
  • Ingested. What the fuck.
  • Velvet Cacooon's album Genevieve is predominantly fairly conventional ambient black metal with hints of shoegaze. But the last track, "Bete Noire", is 17 minutes of the most paranoia- and anxiety-inducing ambient electronica you will ever hear. Here's the first and second halves.
  • Suffer Age by Fear Factory. If the lyrics based upon the murders committed by John Wayne Gacy don't scare you, the ominous guitar riffing at the beginning will.
    • Christploitation is a good 5 minutes of the band reminding you that God doesn't exist, the afterlife doesn't exist, and you will become nothing after death. Also, pianos are still creepy as all hell.
    • Controlled Demolition Takes you right back to 9/11 complete with a 911 call from inside one of the towers.
    • The outtros to pretty much all of the closing tracks are pretty unnerving, especially "A Therapy for Pain" and "Final Exit".
  • Howling of the Jinn by Nile is the epitome of this trope. The lyrics combine almost every primal fear (being covered in insects, voices of madness, suffocation, and being devoured by snakes). That's not even getting into the scream near the middle of the song.
  • Ministry's album "The Land of Rape And Honey" might not be very creepy or disturbing in itself musically (Your Mileage May Vary), but try to figure out what the abstract album art really do resemble in the middle of the night. If you see it, it cannot be unseen.
  • "Untrue" by Katatonia. It begins with a slow, mournful riff played on clean guitars, which is repeated many times, then suddenly explodes into a heavy death-doom passage accentuated by Mikael Åkerfeldt's growling vocals...and then the heavy part is over as suddenly as it began, and you're back to the non-distorted riff until the song fades out.
  • "Itty Bitty Titty Girl" by Deadsy. Despite the humorous title, the song is quite disturbing, since it's sung from the perspective of an obvious pedophile. As the song progresses, the music and vocals become more and more distorted, adding to the creepiness.
  • "Triumph of Death" by Hellhammer. You're welcome.

  "When...you... / Have...been... / Down...in your grave... / ALIVE!!!"

  • Ozzy Osbourne utilizes this trope to the extreme in Let Me Hear You Scream.
  • I wonder why death metal band Gorguts hasn't been mentioned... just listen to Obscura, especially the linked song, Sweet Silence. The last minute ALWAYS catches you off guard.
  • In black metal, a genre based around being all kinds of terrifying, finding the most terrifying band is always going to be difficult. But I present to you Deathspell Omega. They sound nothing like a human band and everything like a sonic reinterpretation of the many layers of hell.
  • Living Colour was always kind of a happy go lucky band during the eighties, but took on a much darker tone on 1993's "Stain", which included the nightmarish "Hemp", a spoken word bit that can best be described as sounding like a Pedophile reading deranged poetry to his drugged-up victim.
  • Silencer. A Swedish suicidal black metal band who released one album, fronted by one Nattramn, who has a very *interesting* backstory. He's a paranoid schizophrenic who was institutionalized. There are also rumors that he attempted to kill a six-year old girl with an axe, took psychiatric ward workers hostage, tried to kill himself and the cops and that he cut off his own hands and replaced them with pigs' legs. The last is only supported by a well-known disturbing picture of Nattramn though, so it's false, but who knows what other fucked up things he has done. He also has the most deranged and psychotic vocals you'll ever hear.
  • On the topic of disturbed artists, there's the infamous Mayhem. While any song that Dead wrote counts as this, a special mention goes to "Life Eternal" a song about finding immortality and fulfillment in death. What separates this from the usual transylvanian horror fare is that the song was most likely autobiographical- Dead was speculated to have Cotard's Delusion, meaning that he felt that he was already dead and trapped in a false life. Dead found his way out when he sliced open his wrists and blew his brains out with a 12-gauge. Knowing that makes the song itself sound like Dead's suicide note.
    • On a side note, there's Dead's bandmate Euronymous. When he found Dead's body, his first reaction? Take pictures, and swipe some pieces of the skull before the cops could show up. One photo was the cover for the 1995 LP Dawn Of The Black Hearts. It really makes the album that scarier.
  • The title track from the 1992 Motorhead album March Ör Die. It features among other things a creepy organ that brings Funeral Doom to mind, extra gritty vocals from Lemmy and ultra depressing lyrics describing how the world will be destroyed through militarism, predatory capitalism and social unrest, like "Sword and shield and jackboot heel, we love to kill, we love to kill, we love to taste of our own blood, squirm in our own gore" and "For earth to heal then we must die, no one deserves it more"
  • Fear Factory's song 'Slave Labor'. The song itself isn't really that scary, save for the synths in the main riff, but the subject matter is about self-immolation, which means burning yourself alive. The chorus actually has the line, 'Help me pour this gas on me!'.
  • "The Ripper" by Judas Priest, a song from the first-person view of Jack The Ripper, filled to the brim with Paranoia Fuel and a bridge that, at one point, has a guitar mimicking the screams of one of his victims.
  • Some of the lyrics to Linkin Park's Figure.09 are strangely unsettling.

 You've become a part of me

You'll always be right here

You've become a part of me

You'll always be my fear

I can't separate

Myself from what I've done

Giving up a part of me

I've let myself become you

Progressive

  • Porcupine Tree has a ton, but a standout is "The Creator Has A Mastertape." The lyrics are absolutely terrifying and those wailing drones

Wilson's guitar makes in the chorus do not help.

    • That isn't his only song about children murdering each other, either. Porcupine Tree's "This is No Rehearsal" was inspired by a real life example. Just a bit of Fridge Horror for you, considering the song itself sounds pretty happy.
    • Not a song, really, but "Space Transmission" from On the Sunday of Life is terrifying, from the angry whispered delivery to the disturbing images contained within. Protip: Do not listen with headphones at night.
  • Magma, when they aren't a source of Narm can definitely be the soundtrack of your worst nightmare. "Mûh," the last track of their debut album, tells the story of the Kobaians unleashing their most devastating weapon on the Earth, complete with horrific, agonized screams. And it's all sung in an invented language for added creepiness.
  • Almost all intentional backmasking. Especially in Electric Light Orchestra's "Fire On High". "The music is reversible, but time is not. Turn back! Turn back! Turn back!" Backwards! Shudder. There's something about a recognizably-human voice producing noises that no human could ever make that's just creepy.
  • Coheed and Cambria's "Three Evils" has what is probably the most disturbing Ear Worm ever. "Pull the trigger and the nightmare stops, pull the trigger and the nightmare stops..."
    • Coheed's "Welcome Home" video qualifies as well. And "Blood Red Summer" too, thinking about it.
    • Claudio also made a (quite graphic) Willing Well IV: The Final Cut[1] video which shows himself (not in Real Life) torturing his (Real Life) girlfriend...creepy...
    • "Ten Speed" doesn't have a very frightening music video, but the song itself is about a man arguing with his bicycle about killing off a fictional character based on his girlfriend. In the interlude, if you listen closely, you can hear a bit of their conversation.
    • The Willing Well II: "You'll burn in hell while they're diggin' you out!"
    • I've always considered pretty much everything by Coheed to qualify as nightmare fuel, what with the lyrics about murder and all (even if it is in the context of an epic science fiction story).
  • Scenes From a Memory by Dream Theater is incredibly unsettling. It begins with a very calm hypnotist and then his patient relating information. All of the spoken word aspects are very monotone, but the singing sounds strangely upbeat and then the background noises start getting harder to ignore.
    • "Open your eyes, Nicholas." * THUD* * static* Gaaah. Really, all of "Finally Free".
      • Especially disturbing as the "Open your eyes" comes up earlier in the song: " * BANG* * SCREAM* "Open your eyes, Victoria" * BANG* ". The whole murder scene is incredibly creepy simply because it's related with sound rather than lyrics.
    • There's also the last 2 minutes of "Misunderstood". Last-Note Nightmare indeed.
    • Panic Attack. The lyrics are disjointed and the music is chaotic to symbolize a panic attack... nnd hot damn. It makes you feel as if you're having one.
      • The thing is, if you're prone to panic attacks, you'll know that it's pretty accurate.
  • Van der Graaf Generator's 1971 album masterpiece, Pawn Hearts, is possibly the best example of theirs. These (shouted) lyrics from "Man-Erg" just about sum it up:

 "HOW CAN I BE FREE? HOW CAN I GET HELP?

AM I REALLY FREE, OR AM I SOMEONE ELSE??"

    • There's also these lovely lyrics from "Lemmings":

 "Cogs tearing bones, cogs tearing bones

Iron-throated monsters are forcing the screams

Mind and machinery box-press the dreams."

  • Sleepytime Gorilla Museum's entire discography could be brought up. Particularly disturbing are "The Creature" in which someone licks his lips in the background for most of the song, and "Sleepytime (Spirit is a Bone)" in which the lead singer creakily sings "Sleepytime" repeatedly followed by a haunting interlude.
    • Although nearly all of their songs are creepy to an extent, many on their album 'Of Natural History' go far beyond the normal interpretation of terrifying. The use of atonality, harsh vocals, and custom instruments are quite effective in painting a picture of anti-humanism and violent horror. Not to mention the lyrics to songs such as this.
  • The music of Kayo Dot features some of the most obtuse lyrics of any band ever. Try the line "In the hallway outside my bedroom door, I heard the old dead sleigh gliding to its restful drones, purposely knocking the pictures off their nails. With a vacancy ogling my sober inhalation, our curator's rocking to the rhythm of the rain on her carved hair here in this room, with the inverted torches at its barrier, where materia vibrated out" for confusing and disturbing imagery.
  • The Gorillaz have some doozies when it comes to Nightmare Fuel. There's the upbeat, prideful tone of Superfast Jellyfish... Which also happens to be about disastrous overfishing and polluting the sea until nothing's left alive.

  Overload, overload, overload, comin' up to the overload...

  It's all good news now, because we left the taps running for a hundred years...

  • Almost every album by Devil Doll (the original avant garde band, not the rockabilly one). Creepy piano music set to the paranoid gibberings of a madman obsessing about something following him through an empty house, subliminal messages, and terrifying descriptions of the apocalypse, just to name a few of the themes the band deals with. And just to make it better, most of their songs go for about an hour or so. That Mr. Doctor sure is a deranged man.
  • Steven Wilson's song Only Child certainly qualifies, with lyrics like "A raven holding to narrow wrist/Pull it tight/Clothes are torn and the body twists/A single light" "An only child/A winning smile/A killing trial." The song seems to be about a child who gets away with (brutally?) murdering a sibling.
  • Just about anything by Univers Zero, but especially the Heresie album, qualifies as some of the creepiest music ever. Although after Heresie, their music got somewhat lighter in tone.
  • The Mars Volta has quite a few songs that fall into this territory. However, this one takes the cake, along with "Eunuch Provocateur" which contains two instances of backmasking: First, a distorted voice singing Itsy-Bitsy Spider, and then the voice of a Creepy Child saying "Mommy or Daddy ever had to spank you?".
    • Another terrifying case is "Cassandra Gemini Part VII" which, when listened to at full volume with headphones on in your bed with the lights off, detached from the rest of the song cycle, just makes you think that someone's coming up to you and is going to kill you as you lie there.
    • Learning the story behind Deloused at the Comatorium makes *the entire album* nightmare fuel.
  • Arena's "The Butterfly Man", while mysterious and ominous in its instrumentalization, is told from the perspective of a man who has been kidnapped by a cosmic being (dubbed 'The Butterfly Man') who keeps souls/beings and has a collection of them. The worst part isn't that the victims (or "trophies") are aware/immortal, that they themselves allowed the Butterfly Man to kidnap them/went directly to the Butterfly Man for one reason or another (implied to be desire or greed).
  • More or less all of progressive folk-rock act Comus' First Utterance. The music often sounds very malevolent for being largely acoustic and folk-influenced. The lyrics deal with murder, rape (in two separate songs), hanging, and being put in a Bedlam House. Even "The Herald", which is about daylight coming and making everything peaceful again, is still pretty eerie sounding thanks to its prominent use of theremin.
  • Most, if not the entirety of Red by King Crimson. The intro to "Starless" alone can suck the warmth out of any room with its Mellotron intro and creepy lyrics which seems to be talking about suicide, and even though the listener is taken to the heavens at the end of the song, the same intro is played one more time, only with a sharper, more menacing edge. Then there's "Providence", which is one of the most unnerving pieces of music ever to grace human ears. The first half alone will have you looking around the room, convinced that something is staring at you. It's fucking terrifying. Finally, the ominous "Red" itself, particularly in the middle section with the creepy cello, and the distorted guitar and bass which sets the tone for the entire album.
    • "21st Century Schizoid Man" lives up to its title, with it's screaming guitars and saxes, a start-stop section and apocalyptic lyrics:

 Blood rack, barbed wire

Politicians funeral pyre

Innocents raped with napalm fire

  • It's also listed on the Crowning Moment of Funny page and does have good Black Comedy value, but one has to recognise Frank Zappa's "The Torture Never Stops" can also make great HONF. The entire arrangement is performed at an oppressively slow tempo and stretched to 9 minutes, with the music being largely minimalist riffs and drumming topped off with reverbed slide guitars, Scare Chord-like trills, and female screams of pain (or the opposite). Zappa's lyrics describing the sadistic Torture Cellar are gruesome but funny in a Refuge in Audacity way, but his vocals are close-miked to the point that you can hear the breathing and salivating, and he delivers them in the album's typical low near-growl, making him sound like "an insanely calm mad scientist" (to quote Allmusic).
    • Other examples come from Freak-Out!, his first album: namely 'Who Are The Brain Police?', in which it seems that the record itself questions the existence of your thoughts and the validity of relationship with art (with a midsong break of pure terror, including someone chanting 'I'm going to die...'), and 'It Can't Happen Here', a demented barbershop quartet in which 4 of the strangest men you will ever meet assure you that 'it', whatever it is, can't happen here....right?
    • "The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny", which closes We're Only In It For The Money. The piece is a sonic interpretation of Franz Kafka's In The Penal Colony, filled with car horns, strange hums and the evil laughter of the insane, decaying individuals running the place.
    • "Jonestown", the final track of "The Perfect Stranger", a haunting composition inspired by Jim Jones' mass suicide killings in 1978.
  • The Godspeed You! Black Emperor album F sharp A sharp Infinity, which is an album ruminating about the apocalypse. The first track of the album, "The Dead Flag Blues" includes the lyrics "The car is on fire, and there's no driver at the wheel/And the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides" spoken in a somber monotone. The second song, "East Hastings", was used extensively in the movie 28 Days Later, whose director claimed that he had the song in mind when making it.
    • "We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine/and the machine is bleeding to death"
      • That drone underneath it all is creepy in and of itself.
    • Or, how about just Godspeed You! Black Emperor in general? Every album, every track.
      • YMMV on that. Lift Your Skinny Fists is actually pretty upbeat.
      • Skinny Fists is the band's brightest album as a whole, but the track "Static" deserves to be here. To hear a guy babbling on about seeing the face of God and dying over a beautiful, somber violin solo creates a Soundtrack Dissonance that is quite disturbing. And then there's the second half of the track, "World Police and Friendly Fire/The Buildings They Are Sleeping Now", whose eeriness can't be easily described in words.
  • Another post-rock example, Slint's Spiderland, which includes "Don Amon" (Don stepped outside.) and "Good Morning, Captain" (I MISS YOU!), two songs that can ruin any night's sleep.
  • Mogwai. Like Herod. No further explanation is necessary.
  • Sigur Ros has (perhaps unwittingly) been a perpetrator of this. I dare you to listen to Vaka alone, at night, and not get a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. Watch the music video for extra terror!
    • Their first album, Von, is full of creepy ambient noises. Special mention goes to the intro track with its ghastly screaming sounds.
  • "Red Sector A" by Rush. It is about someone trying to survive during the Holocaust. 'Nuff said.
    • Agreed 100%, especially considering that Rush are usually so upbeat. It becomes extra terrifying when you know that Geddy Lee's parents were Holocaust survivors, so it's all based on his mother's experiences. In fact, the whole Grace Under Pressure album is pretty dark, though with that hopeful twist that Neil Peart does so well.
  • Many Blue Öyster Cult songs. If you hear them, many of them sound happy and upbeat. But if you listen listen to the lyrics.... Here's an example. In the background of "Harvester of Eyes" during the solo you can hear some stuttering, but it's really hard to make out what it says:

 I'm the harvester of eyes

I'm just walkin' down the street

I see a garbage can, I pick it up

I look through all the garbage

To see if there are any eyes inside

I'll put 'em in my pink leather bag

And take all their eye balls

And I bleed with 'em

As I plead with their eyes all night

So if you see me walkin' down the street

You'd better get out of the way

And put on your eye glasses

'cause I'm gonna take your eyes home with me...

    • Joan Crawford. Mother's home, indeed!
  • Lawrence Gowan's A Criminal Mind definitely qualifies, due to the fact that the narrator is an unrepentant criminal who pretty much prides himself on what he's done (oh, and by the way, he never actually SAYS what he's done, leaving it for you to guess), but the real horror is in lines like these:" I've spent my life behind these steel bars/I've served my debt in time, but being brought to justice/THAT was my only crime", "These prison walls secure me/and I'm numb to pain"
    • The gentle piano music at the beginning could qualify on its own; there's almost a Silence of the Lambs thing going with Gowan singing about "They tried to reform me/but I'm made of cold stone" while playing that really brings it home....
    • In each chorus of the song, he tells the listener "Ask one who's known me/if I'm really so bad" followed by a menacing whisper of "I AM."
    • Even worse, the final bit: "Some people struggle daily/They struggle with their conscience 'til the end, I have no guilt to haunt me/I feel no wrong intent"
    • As the song fades out, Gowan begins echoing the "Made of cold stone" line, and at one point, he literally screams "JUST LIKE YOUR PRISON WALLS!" To reiterate: Prison hasn't done anything to reform him---it's made him even worse.
    • After the first chorus, Gowan goes from singing softly to an almost harsh-sounding voice---just listen to the earlier line starting with "I've spent my life behind these steel bars", and you can hear equal traces of hatred, pride and something else in his tone as he continues.
    • There's something about the synth riff on this song (the one between the second chorus and the final verse)...the only word I can use to describe it adequately is "haunting". Take that in whatever way you will. Oh, and those synth-drums that kick in after the first chorus....anyone else think they sound a bit like gavels?
    • During the line "I'd like to say a few words/here in my own defense", there's this weird synth-like sound in the background; something about that noise just creeps me the hell out.
    • One final note: This is the ONLY TRACK ON "Strange Animal" that isn't a happy, pop-radio-sounding song; everything from "Cosmetics" to the title track (and even songs like "Desperate", "Keep the Tension On" and "Guerilla Soldier") is upbeat, catchy and very easy to sing along to...but "A Criminal Mind"---the LAST TRACK ON THE ALBUM---will stick with you LONG after you've heard it.

Punk

  • The Ramones classic "Teenage Lobotomy". First off there's the whole Lobotomy thing in the first place, which may or may not have been caused by exposure to massive amounts of the pesticide DDT, or may have been used to control symptoms of the DDT poisoning. Then there's the implications that he's trapped in his own mind and that there's something frightening in there with him.
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees. "Not Forgotten"? With the creepy moaning in the background, not to mention the lyrics. "You buried it so deep/So safe in hidden sleep/But like a telltale corpse/Rises to the surface/Over ripe and bloated" -shudder- And "Spellbound"... "When you think your toys are going berserk/It's an illusion/You cannot shirk/You hear laughter cracking through the walls/It sends you spinning/You have no choice!"
    • Their radical reinvention of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" is taken (it would seem) from the perspective of the Charles Manson-inspired Tate-La Bianca murderers. The jagged guitar intro sounds like Psycho knife-slash music, the lyrics are chanted like a disturbing litany, and the whole thing works up into a speeding frenzy until it suddenly stops dead and plunges into silence...
    • Also the wordless "Pure" from the same album ('The Scream'), which would make perfect theme music for the opening titles of a horror movie.
    • 'An Execution'. Just a fucking creepy piece of music/narration.
      • Which according to The Other Wiki, is inspired by Elizabeth Báthory
    • Nobody's mentioned Eve White/Eve Black yet? It starts out with a creepy arpeggio followed by some soft, eerie singing. Then about a third into to the song, there's a horrifying scream, and anyone listening becomes too paralyzed with fear to skip to the next song.
    • "Pulled to Bits", the B-side to "Playground Twist", may easily be the wrongest song ever recorded, it starts with the sound of playing children, present in song's A-side. Then, the bass kicks in, followed by a jittery chord from an acoustic guitar. This continues through the entire song. Then, Siouxsie joins in with her horrifyingly graphic lyrics.

 Pulled to bits--in silence

left rotting on the ground

Slowly pulled to bits--in silence

without a sound, without a sound

      • Also, about halfway through the song, there's this deep droning noise (which frankly sounds like some sort of Eldritch Abomination) that comes OUT OF NOWHERE. This sound is never played again in the song, but eventually, Siouxsie delights the listeners with the following:

 Young lungs snapping coming up for air

the mindless ones yapping, slashing through the thoroughfare

one by one, one by one

oh one by one without a fucking care

  • Ska-Punk band Reel Big Fish usually makes upbeat and fun Ska songs. Then they got this one. Sweet dreams...
  • The uncensored version of Die Artze's music video for Junge, in which several people are messily consumed by zombies. Eventually the band has to fight off the zombies with anything at hand - guitars, beer cans, crossbows - before a mass of zombies drag the lead singer down and then graphically eat his intestines.
  • The Leather Nun "Slow Death EP" contains the heartwarming song Slow Death, which intones over and over "90 percent burns, 55 hours to live" with some really horrific noise droning behind it. Considering that the live version of the song guest stars Genesis P-Orridge (of Hamburger Lady fame) and Monte Cazazza, its inclusion here fits perfectly.
  • "Broken Witch" by Liars. The most bone-scrapingly unnerving song since Revolution 9. We are the army you see through the red haze of blood...blood...blood...blood...blood....
    • "This Dirt Makes That Mud" from "They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top" is even worse. It starts fairly disturbing, as all Liars songs do, but then it locks into a pattern, and all sounds fade out but this creepy riff and a steady, never changing drum beat. And it goes on. And on, and on, and on. You start to get annoyed. Then you filter it out and ignore it. Then you think you hear something that wasn't there before. For almost thirty minutes.
      • Oh, it gets worse. The 30 minute version from the CD is just to give you a taste of the true horror the vinyl release, which ends in a locked groove, meaning it will continue to play forever, slowly erasing itself from existence.

 (or, you know, until you remember to turn it off)

  • Orchid, an extreme punk(-ish) band from circa 2000, played music that literally sounds like nightmares. Take a listen.
  • How could we forget about Black Flag? Damaged I initially started as your typical title track off of a seminal punk recording, until Greg Ginn decided that the backing track be played at a slower tempo to suit Henry Rollins vocals, making the final result, well, upsetting to say the least. There's also "Armageddon Man," off of Family Man, and "I Can See You," which could very easily be a candidate for one of the creepiest songs of all time, both musically and lyrically. Add this to the fact that the band has a reputation amongst troubled teenagers who like to sit in their rooms and listen to their music over and over again, and it is not hard to believe that Greg Ginn, who wrote most of Black Flag's songs, could be the devil incarnate. None of these have been uploaded to youtube, but if you're curious (and you presumably have little to no intentions of sleeping tonight) you could always just go to Grooveshark.com and type in the names of the songs you want to listen to. Sweet dreams.
    • The entire second side of My War seemed designed to outdo the claustrophobic sludge of the Damaged version of "Damaged 1", as it featured three incredibly slow, heavy songs, each clocking in at over 7 minutes. YMMV on how effective it was, but the songs featured some particularly feral Rollins screams and guitar leads that were atonal even compared to Gregg Ginn's normal playing style.
  • The Misfits and Samhain, both fronted by Glen Danzig, often have quite disturbing lyrics.
  • Public Image Ltd have quite a few creepy songs.
    • Annalisa isn't the worst, but there's something about the fact that it just keeps going, that really weird, disorientating flange/delay they put on everything towards the end, as well as some of Lydons more guttural screams. Oh, and that it's about a girl with mental problems being starved to death during a botched exorcism? Did I mention it's a true story?
    • Then there's Careening, a twisted Dub song about The Troubles, with one of the most ominous sounding synth lines ever. I don't know if the fact that it was Levine trying to recreate the sound of the clearly distressed vending machine in their rehearsal studio makes it more or less scary.
    • Also up there is Poptones, about a woman locked in the boot of "a fast German car" and driven into the woods, with full knowledge that nothing good can happen when the car stops. All the while, the driver is playing the same song over and over again on the car stereo. Did I mention that this one also happened?
    • Most of the songs on Metal Box and Flowers Of Romance qualify for least as the lower grade, but the aforementioned "Poptones" and "Under the House" from each respectively are nigh-indisputably terrifying.

Other Rock

  • The Killers have what can be construed as a song cycle about murder: "Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf", "Midnight Show" and "Jenny was a Friend of Mine". The last one mentioned would seem to be the killer's statements while being interrogated by the police. ("There ain't no motive for this crime, Jenny was a friend of mine," but "she couldn't scream while I held her close"...)
  • "Gnik Nus" spooked me when I had my iTunes on shuffle at night.
  • Alice Cooper has got numerous songs like this include "Wind Up Toy", "Devil's Food", "Welcome to my Nightmare", and "Black Widow". "Wind Up Toy" has that bit at the end with the creepy voice whispering; "Devil's Food" has several nightmarish things about it, especially the end monologue performed by Vincent Price as the curator of a museum describing the black widow spider; and then there's the entirety of the "Black Widow", including its chorus.
    • However, these are lullabies compared to two other tracks off 'Welcome to My Nightmare': "Years Ago" and "Steven". And this video makes it much creepier. Damn you Vincent Price!
    • "I Love the Dead" could also qualify, given the subject matter and the orgasmic moans in between the "Hey Jude" style choruses.
      • While we're on the subject of dead things, let's put "Dead Babies" on here too. It's bad enough that the verse portion of the song consists of a creepy as hell proto-grunge riff, but you also have the lyrics of Little Betty consuming the entirety of her mother's medicine cabinet, without anyone there to watch over her. Doubles as a Tear Jerker, considering that her parents didn't even care that she died.
  • Simple Minds' Real To Real Cacophony album, and some songs written around the same time. The most obvious is Scar, the closing track of the album, which starts off relatively upbeat before it is revealed that the song is actually about a particularly gruesome car crash. The lyrics "Travelling through, flashback to you, fire, I see fire" and chorus being "Car passenger, fate at the wheel, Quick kiss of death." seem to describe this quite bluntly.
    • The first track on the album "Real To Real" is known to start off ominously enough before becoming very creepy a minute in. "Naked Eye" which follows contains some very odd lyrics and later on, "Carnival" contains the classic trope of creepy circus music to contrast with the anger of its chorus. "Factory" paints a very dark picture of someone stuck in a hopeless job who has a nervous breakdown. "Film Theme", an instrumental, seems to have been written to evoke Vampirish films. Even though it's one of the most upbeat songs on the album musically, "Calling Your Name" seems to be someone mourning a dead lover.
    • Without question, however, the most nightmare inducing song on the album is Veldt, a sound collage of creepy noises, jungle sounds and ominous hidden voices "Don't go back there". If this doesn't creep out the listener, the way the tune suddenly drops into an even creepier section will.
    • Also, Kaleidoscope, the main outtake from the album begins with an already creepy waltz piano, and the lyrics reveal that the character is a sociopath to say the least "Friends of mine, who ask to stay, they can turn around and walk".
    • Finally, there is Garden Of Hate, a previous B Side, which many consider to be the bridge between the band's first album and this one, their second. The difference between styles is enormous- their debut album being a mostly upbeat punk album, and this one being a creepy post-punk album . As a result, this is a dark guitar based song with the upbeat organ contrasting. The song features such charming lyrics as "A girl I know got cut up one night, I don't know if I care, she was in my garden of hate, so many others are there". The way the song ends is extremely terrifying, with laughter fading into a rising synth section before coming to a somewhat abrupt stop.
  • The video for Queens of the Stone Age's song, "Sick Sick Sick". Nightmare Fuel to everyone but the vore fetishists.
    • And that's only the music video. The song itself has more of a domination "You own me" sort of vibe. QOTSA has a few other HONF songs, such as "Battery Acid", "Better Living Through Chemistry", and "The Sky is Falling". "Battery Acid" is seemingly nonsensical, serial-killer type twisted lyrics set to one of the darkest riffs by them, "Better Living Through Chemistry" is about an epiphany of religion through the Matrix, and "The Sky is Falling" is about people's fear of the nonsensical. And then there's "Burn the Witch", which is about how we used to deal with people we just didn't like.
    • "Run, Pig, Run". Listen to it with the lights off. Go on. On a related note, some of the diction in "Mosquito Song" is really fucking freaky.
  • From A Perfect Circle (who has the same singer - Maynard James Keenan - as Tool), there's a few that stand out, the bulk of which come from the album Emotive:
    • "Annihilation" starts off the album with a whisper throughout the entire song, with a creepy instrumental playing in the background.
    • "Imagine" (yes, that "Imagine") immediately follows. The instrumental is nowhere near as happy as the original version.
    • "Gimme Gimme Gimme" comes close to the line (if it doesn't barge clear across it), what with it sounding like the rantings of a crazed drug addict. The lyric saying he has problems that can't be solved "with an atom bomb" should illustrate it for those that are still capable of paying attention to the lyrics.
    • "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums" will break anyone still sane after the rest of the album. 5 minutes 36 seconds of Nightmare Fuel-laden Mindscrew comparable to Tool's "L.A.M.C." (Los Angeles Municipal Court), only this time there's an actual rhythm. There's always the strange, moaning, only vaguely human voices in the background, the ragged breathing, the intermittent screaming and gasping, the singer's alternate crooning and shouting, the incessant, harsh beat throughout, and then - "GO TO SLEEP GO TO SLEEP GO TO SLEEP GO TO SLEEP." The subject matter isn't exactly Sweet Dreams Fuel either.
    • "Hao Lullaby". Pay NO attention to the title, it is NOT something you want to listen to before you go to bed.
  • The title song on Meat Loaf's album Bat out of Hell III: Monster is Loose has several things about it which make it nightmarish, including its madness and insanity inspired theme.
  • With a few exceptions, the Manic Street Preachers' third album, The Holy Bible, is aural Nightmare Fuel. The chorus of Archives Of Pain is a list of serial killers, and begins with a sample from a relative of one of the Yorkshire Ripper's victims; Mausoleum describes a place where there are 'no birds' and the sky is 'swollen black', and contains a sample of JG Ballard saying, 'I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit and force it to look into the mirror'; 4st 7lb graphically details a woman's body going into decline while suffering from anorexia; and the penultimate track, The Intense Humming Of Evil - about the Nazi death camps - is possibly the most terrifying thing the Manics have ever recorded. Even the cover, a Jenny Saville painting of a morbidly obese woman, is downright terrifying. It goes without saying that guitarist and songwriter Richey Edwards was in a very bad place at the time. He disappeared a year later and has not been seen since.
  • Sure, you might think My Chemical Romance is just full of Narm, but go listen to "Mama" in the dark in the middle of a storm. No, really. You'll get freaked out.
    • Then there's their song Blood, which is a cheery little ragtime tune that seems to be about mass murder.
      • I'm pretty sure "Blood" is about the Patient (the main character of the album) undergoing constant blood tests (he's supposed to have something wrong with his heart, after all), and it seems like the tests will never stop.
  • PJ Harvey practically runs on nightmare fuel.
    • "Down By the Water". No one's quite sure what this song is about. Murder, rape, child abuse, infanticide, sexual abuse, jealousy, shame, incest, some horrible combination of any of those: the theories are out there, but what everyone can agree on is that this is an extremely dark song on an extremely dark album. What makes it even worse is that this track was actually used as a radio single.
    • Hearing Polly Jean belt out the titular lyrics of "Long Snake Moan" counts as Nightmare Fuel and Fetish Fuel at the same time.
    • "Catherine" is perhaps one of the creepiest songs Harvey has recorded and that is saying a lot. Her voice in the entire song never rises above a whisper as she murmurs a prayer for the death and damnation of the titular women.
    • While not an overtly creepy song, some of the theories surrounding "A Perfect Day Elise" give cause to mention it here. Just what exactly goes on in Room 509?
    • "Horses in My Dreams" is to be avoided if horses already creep you out.
    • "We Float" also know as nightmare fuel in a song.
    • White Chalk, the entire album.
    • "Pig Will Not" from her A Woman A Man Walked By album.
  • Murder Ballads by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The whole thing, but especially Song of Joy and The Kindness of Strangers. Of course, if you listen to an album called Murder Ballads NOT expecting to be creeped out, then you probably deserve everything you get.
    • Stagger Lee started off nice, but then near the end, when the lyrics finally kick in and he just starts screaming...
    • There's also 'The Curse of Millhaven.' (Warning: loud.) Doesn't help that it's so catchy, either.
    • Try 'Deep In The Woods' by Cave's earlier postpunk band The Birthday Party. Sung in first-person,it's about a self-pitying sex-murderer, and is one of the creepiest things Nick Cave has ever done.
    • 'Night of the Lotus Eaters' is another very creepy Nick Cave song, from the album 'Dig Lazarus Dig.' Soft, repetitive and ominous. Really, half of Nick Cave's music has some Nightmare Fuel aspect to it.
    • The Carny, anyone?
    • 'From Her to Eternity' is deeply unnerving as well. Besides being about a stalker who lives in the apartment underneath that of the woman he's stalking, it's musically chaotic and the disturbing lyrics are mostly slurred.
  • The Decemberists are very, very good at this. Culling of the Fold deserves a special mention, but The Mariner's Revenge, Cautionary Song, and Odalisque are all up there too.
    • Culling of the Fold definitely deserves a mention. This is a band that sings about rape, murder, scandal, et cetera without batting an eye, but Jenny Conlee (the band's accordion/backing vocals) downright REFUSED to have it put on the main track listing for its album. You can only get it by buying it from iTunes or redeeming a code from the inside of the album.
    • Odalisque is creepy enough, but then if you look up the etymology of the title, it gets worse.
    • Leslie Anne Levin. mother FUCKING Leslie Anne Levine. Try listening to this song in the dark sometime. The "shake my rattle bone" line in particular serves as potent Paranoia Fuel.
    • Shankill Butchers is pretty nasty too.
      • The Rake's Song from The Hazards of Love, their rock opera, sees the Decemberists topping their previous attempts; the main villain of the album tells how he murdered his children because he prefers the single life; drowning and poisoning his two daughters, and burning his son alive. One of the last songs, Hazards of Love 3/Revenge is a cheerful but aptly named reprise sung by the murdered children with accompanying screechy violin. "Father, I'm not feeling well, the flowers me you fed/ Tasted spoiled, for suddenly, I find that I am dead/ But father don't you fear- your children all are here/ Singing, oh, the hazards of love."
        • The band has hinted that it's a prequel to the song "Leslie Anne Levine." In that, he doesn't kill her, but carelessly abandons her when she gets pregnant. She and the baby die shortly after birth, are left in a ditch, and the daughter's ghost haunts the city. So, if anything, that makes it worse.
    • Hazards of Love in GENERAL is pretty nightmare-fuely. Evil rake that kills children and kidnaps pregnant women with the intent to rape and murder them? Creepy, rise-and-fall-voice possessive, possibly pedophile-esque queen of the forest? Sounds like a nightmare to me.
        • "The Chimbley Sweep". It could be about male prostitution[2], or it could be about the much-less-risque chimney sweeping, which is potent nightmare fuel all on its own. Chimney sweeping was an incredibly cruel form of child labor that lead to many if not most sweeps developing black lung by the time they reached adulthood. Besides black lung, the profession put sweeps at risk for various cancers (not just of the lungs) and a number of other medical conditions that are high nightmare fuel in their own right. And then there was always the chance of falling and breaking your neck...
          • The fate of "The Chimbley Sweep" may have been mentioned in "Leslie Ann Levine": "The only love I've known's a chimney sweep/Lost and lodged inside a flue/Back in 1842" That's...that's a pretty horrible way to die.
    • Sons & Daughters at first could strike some as a flight of fancy from some Portland Bohems, but after reading a theory that it is, at least in part, about children who were sent away from London during the blitz, it's moved into the nightmare fuel section of the Decemberists' catalog.
    • July, July probably deserves a mention too, since it basically talks about a gut-shot uncle holding his innards in with his hands. Also blood running down shower drains.
    • And, you know, The Mariner's Revenge Song, which tells the lovely tale of two men trapped inside the belly of a whale, one of them incredibly bloodthirsty for revenge towards the other. Whoops.
    • The Bagman's Gambit could possibly surge over into Paranoia Fuel as it talks about a political sex scandal and the resulting consequences.
    • The Tain, too. Oh, The Tain.
  • Intention of Slide by the Dresden Dolls = mildly creepy; Effect of Slide by the Dresden Dolls = really incredibly terrifying!!!
    • ..."THE ORANGE MAN'S GOT YOOOOOOOOOOU."
      • On the sheet music, she's got the final note listed as, "The saddest note in the world."
    • "Lonesome Organist Rapes Page-Turner". And the fact that Amanda gets manic at various points in the song doesn't help.
    • Don't stop there. While Amanda Palmer has said that Half-Jack was about far more than one subject, it could also be about a split personality in her (who just happened to be an authoritative male figure) who was forcing her to suicide.

 "It might destroy me

But I'd sacrifice my body

If it means I'll get the Jack part out

AH-OH! AH-OH!"

    • Mrs. O is pure terror about Holocaust denial from a teacher. Coupled with the bright chords that Amanda uses, it creates a nightmarish effect rivaling Coin-Operated Boy.
    • "Missed Me" could be about either child molestation or an Enfante Terrible manipulating an adult. Either way, it's terrifying.
  • Muse album Absolution is pretty standard fare Hard Rock, until the latter half of the album, where it just gets darker, and darker, and darker, culminating in a song arguably about murder-suicide and conspiracy theories; "Ruled By Secrecy".
    • What really gives that song its impact is the piano solo around the 3 minute mark. A youtube commenter put it best, in words that can (and are) also applied to the rest of the song: "It's so delicate and beautiful, but sinister and ugly at the same time..."
    • "Screenager," from their earlier album Origin of Symmetry. Tom Waits-inspired percussion featuring real bones, lyrics about disconnecting from other people and self-harm ("hide from the mirror, the cracks and the memories; hide from your family, they won't know you now," as well as the oddly disturbing line, "Stop your screaming, no one can hear...") Even just the generally quiet, subdued way the song is performed is somehow very eerie. "Spiral Static" and "Recess" both also have a somewhat eerie sound to them, as well.
      • Not to mention Space Dementia. Never mind the lyrics, something about that song, and the tortured quality of Matt's voice makes it sound profoundly wrong.
      • That whole song is ridiculous, from the breaking quality of his voice to the last few seconds with the sinister piano/guitar outro and the fuzzy distorted moan that oozes out like in a space vacuum or something. Micro Cuts is also horrific with its ear-splitting falsetto and completely creepy lyrics.
    • Regarding Absolution: a lot of people are also creeped out by the second-last song, "Thoughts of a Dying Atheist". Scares the hell out of me, and the end is all I can see...
  • The entirety of Primus' Pork Soda could be nominated for this. It's a combination of the twangy, horror-movie basslines, the layers of guitar distortion, the cymbal timing, and the singer's campfire-story lyrics. Any song on this album will make you feel dreadful.
  • Any album by Neutral Milk Hotel. Ever. "Two-Headed Boy" is probably the worst offender.
    • Pree-Sisters Swallowing a Donkey's Eye. Just listening to the endless repeating drone you feel like dying.
    • "Sailing Through" ends on a Careful with That Axe moment that actually made one of my friends - a hardened 4chan addict, by the way - turn white. It is utterly harrowing.
    • The first guitar strums in "Oh Comely" are innocent enough until you've heard the song through a few times. Then they become the most terrifying sounds imaginable. "I will be with you when you lose your breath," indeed.
  • The Pulp songs "Freaks" and "Aborigine". With regards to "Aborigine": the slow decay of a relationship into murder to the point where he sits and smokes a cigarette while watching his family burn in a car wreck is extremely unsettling.
    • There's an equally Squickworthy line in The Night That Minnie Timperline Died (detailing the last night of a murdered girl). Out of nowhere Jarvis hits you with the lines: "And he only did what he did / 'cos you looked like one of his kids..."
  • Black Hole Sun. Such a great song, but that one lady watching the pot boil over... even Beavis and Butthead panicked. Similar fuel later with Lipstick Lady, but you're probably a bit desensitized by then...
    • The melting Barbies... oh God, the melting Barbies! And the stretchy faces... Awesome song, though.
  • The Offspring's "Hammerhead." The video is even worse.
  • Alice in Chains' "Angry Chair". Hell, almost every song on their Dirt album falls under this or Tear Jerker.
  • Kate Bush's "Under Ice" is gently sinister, and is followed immediately on the album by the frankly disturbing "Waking the Witch". Nice arrangement.
    • It's part of a song cycle ("The Ninth Wave") about a girl drowning in the ocean. Sweet dreams.
  • The unanswered phone call and resulting voicemail message that open Poe's album Haunted (the fact that it's titled "Exploration B" helps very little). The album has other instances that are more just unsettling that outright scary, like the audio samples of Poe's late father Ted Danielewski talking about...er, something or other...
  • Lou Reed's "The Kids." It's about the authorities taking the children from a woman who, we're told, really has no business raising children. For several verses, he goes into detail about everything that makes her an unfit mother - the drugs, the promiscuity, the violence, and by the time he's done, you're pretty much happy for the children to be leaving the "miserable, rotten slut." Then the instrumental bit comes in and is quite gentle, acoustic guitars and flute... and two young children crying and screaming "MOMMY! MOMMY! MOOOOOOMMMMMYYYYYYY!!!" in absolute agony for several minutes. The unofficial story goes that producer Bob Ezrin locked his own kids in the studio, told them their mother was dead, and taped the results.
  • Quite a lot of music by Tom Waits, particularly songs like "God's Away on Business", "Army Ants", and "Earth Died Screaming". From the names alone, guess how frightening they are. Then there's "Dog Door", which doesn't have a particularly disturbing title. Even apart from the lyrics, there's the simple fact that they're performed by Tom Waits, who could sing "Happy Birthday" and have it sound like a death threat.
    • This is parodied by Bill Bailey in his interpretation of how Tom Waits would perform the nursery rhyme "Three Blind Mice": "Blood on the cheese! / Little mousey running for his life / You goin' t'Hell / In a mousetrap..." Which is itself a bit Nightmare Fuelish, if you think about it.
    • Look up his version of Heigh Ho. Yes, the Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs song. Within 20 seconds, tops, you'll be convinced that Snow White was much better off with the evil queen.
    • There's nothing explicitly scary about "What's He Building," but the whole thing is just incredibly creepy. And the fact that it's spoken completely deadpan and monotone somehow makes it worse.
    • And then of course, you have "Underground". This was the tune playing in Madame Gasket's chop shop in Robots. There used to be a real good video of the song synced to scenes involving Lockdown from Transformers Animated... and it is scary.
    • How about the song "Poor Edward" - the kid has a siamese twin face on the back of his head that whispers horrible horrible secrets of hell to him at night. He goes crazy and kills himself, and she TAKES HIM TO HELL WITH HER. Even creepier when you find out there may be a small amount of truth to this story, and that siamese twins like this happen sometimes.
    • Tom Waits has lots of songs with disturbing lyrics, but the really impressive feat is his ability to scare you just with instrumentals. And I'm not talking about songs with sudden Scare Chords and the like---Tom Waits will scare you with quiet instrumental music. Listen to Black Box Theme or Oily Night from The Black Rider and see how well you sleep. Knife Chase gives me a start every time I play it.
  • Anything at all by Grizzly Bear, but especially "I Live With You". Do NOT listen to this song late at night when you're home alone.
  • Dr. Blind by Emily Haines and The Soft Skeleton. The music itself is extremely eerie.
    • And then you add in the music video. Running from a store at night? Fine. Going into a store at night? Okay. Store Closes While Shopping and Suddenly Is Empty? Okay, you're freaking me out a bit. And then Nightmare Fuel sets in: Oh my god, the store isn't empty, everyone is dead and lined up like dominoes. OH MY GOD OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP.
  • Tori Amos' "Juárez" is about the Mexican desert's perspective of the unsolved murders of hundreds of females that happen in Cuidad Juárez every year. It also sounds like someone's blasting the song in their car. Other creepy songs are her covers of Slayer's "Raining Blood" and Eminem's "'97 Bonnie & Clyde".
    • Amos' '97 Bonnie and Clyde needs its own entry. It's bad enough when Eminem does it, but Tori actually puts it to what sounds like a horror film theme. Then consider the lyrics in general: "Where's Mama? She's takin' a little nap in the trunk. And that smell? Daddy musta run over a skunk."
      • Not to mention that Tori sounds like a psychopath. Rumor has it that Tori takes the perspective of the dead wife.
    • What about "Me and a Gun"? There are very few songs that encapture the horror of rape like it. It's made even worse by the fact that Tori Amos herself was a rape victim.
  • Procol Harum's "The Dead Man's Dream". It's about a Dying Dream which is also a nightmare, and includes this part:

 The graves were disturbed, and the coffins wide open

And the corpses were rotten, yet each one was living

Their eyes were alive with maggots crawling

  • Emiliana Torrini's "Gollum's Song" from the second Lord of the Rings soundtrack definitely counts. It's a nice, sad, mildly creepy ballad from Gollum's perspective... until the end, when suddenly she hisses in a gravelly voice, "Kill them all!"
  • Pavement's "Hit the Plane Down". The first two lines? "I'm up on a hilltop where I/Keep you in sight my little toys," sung in a voice more deranged than you could imagine possible.
  • Try waking up from a terrifying nightmare at 3am. Then decide that you're too freaked out to get back to sleep. You think: "Maybe I'll just sit in bed and listen to some soothing music before I naturally drift to sleep". You turn to a basic, non-threatening Top 40 radio station. The year is 1985. You turn on the radio and try to relax. All you hear is: "RAIN ON THE SCARECROW! BLOOD ON THE PLOW! RAIN ON THE SCARECROW! BLOOD ON THE PLOW!"
  • "Limousine" by Brand New (MS Rebridge). It describes the events in which a seven year old girl was killed in a drunk driving accident, and her mother still carrying her head upon arriving at the hospital
    • Could also serve as a Tear Jerker, especially with the "seven loves you" refrain.
  • The final track of Coven's debut album consists of a 13-minute recording of an "authentic" Satanic mass performed by the band. Even those who consider the idea of Satanism to be plain silly have found it terrifying and uncomfortable to listen to.
    • Jinx Dawson's wordless singing at the end of "Coven In Charing Cross", also from Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls, is another. Doesn't help that the song is about a cult who kills an entire family.
  • Ludo's The Horror of our Love. It's clear that he's a serial killer. It's not clear whether she's a victim, a vampire, or a corpse. "..the awful edges where you end and I begin."
    • The video to Love Me Dead is a tad unnerving as well.
    • "Lake Pontchartrain". The creepy harmonies and dynamics are bad enough. The story of what happens is bad enough. Its appeal to someone's fear of large waves is bad enough. But those last few lines that imply that the whole story is totally made up as a cover for the fact that this guy murdered his two friends is just...agh.
  • "El Muelle de San Blas", by Mexican group Mana. The song is about a woman who waits for her sailor fiancé and how she becomes old and irreversibly insane in the process. The insanity began with her wearing every day the same dress she wore when he left ("so he didn't get her wrong"), and is implied in the end that she died alone in the dock.
    • In the music video That's exactly what happened. At at very advanced age she put out her white dress, made a small boat containing her beloved picture and set it to float away and finally went further into the sea to drown herself.
    • On the subject of Spanish songs, there is an old ballad named "Penelope" that can be absolutely terrifying. It is about a beautiful young woman who, after her beloved left to war, froze in that moment, waited for him for years, and forgot that she and he would age accordingly. When he finally comes back, she's waiting at the train station, but denies that he is her fiance because he is much to old to be him.
  • Jack Off Jill's "Witch Hunt" is terrifying to listen to late at night in the dark. It comes complete with creepy carnival music, crackling fire sound effects, a scary nursery rhyme type thing, a stream-of-consciousness speaking track and agonized screams along the lines of "OH MY GOD, I'M BURNING, HELP ME PLEASE, I'M BURNING!"... all overlaid on one another.
    • For bonus points, the creepy carnival music? Cribbed from Silent Hill.
    • There's also the speaking track, which includes such bizarre nightmare fuel as "the clouds are full of poison, and they fall on my skin, making tiny holes..."
  • Turns out that "One of Us" really isn't all that typical of the work Joan Osborne does. Most of it is really spooky. Her song "Spider Web" opens with her saying "I dreamed about Ray Charles last night, and he could see just fine" in a soft, intimate voice. In the dream, she sings, at one point "Ray took his glasses off and I could look inside his head./Flashing like a thunderstorm, I saw a shining spider web." It's supposed to be a positive thing, but hearing that for the first time at three in the morning can really spook you out. Then there's "The Man in the Long Black Coat", which might be about a woman going away with the Devil or Death, or just a nice case of Nothing Is Scarier, but something scary happened there (actually, now that I'm hunting for it on Youtube, it turns out to be a Bob Dylan song Osborne covers, and his version is even weirder).
  • A lot of music by The Residents count, but the best example would probably be their disturbing cover of "I Can't Get No Satisfaction", which mentions that the narrator stabs and kicks whenever he can't get popcorn at the movies, among other things.
    • The Residents' "Die In Terror" on their "Commercial Album.
    • The Residents' 'Third Reich And Roll' album contained forty disturbing cover versions of top forty songs from the 1960s. Among many bizarre warpings, the bitter-breakup garage-pop standard 'Hey Little Girl' becomes a genuinely chilling piece with a mocking, serial killer-like vocal and grimly march-like music which features plenty of ominous buzzing, droning and rumbling noises in the background (power tools? Brrr...). It must have been a very bitter breakup, indeed.
    • The entire final section of Baby Sex, when not incredibly silly - hell, even when incredibly silly - is pure Nightmare Fuel for the uninitiated.
  • Soundtracks For The Blind by Swans can only be described as damaging. Songs like the 15 minute "Helpless Child" can drive you to paranoid hallucinations.
    • From the same band, "Blind Love" from the Children Of God album (1987). Big, slow, thumping drums then a deep, cracked voice stirs, moans and begins to share some distinctly disturbing thoughts. Then huge clashing chords section off the verses. It sounds like the Frankenstein Monster formed a band.
    • Heck, most of the stuff they do qualifies.
    • If you're feeling bold, check out their reworking of "I Crawled" on their live album Swans Are Dead. The song was already creepy enough, but the gradual buildup and Jarboe's tortured vocal performance (sounding like a little girl being raped) is seriously chilling.
    • More from Soundtracks for the Blind:
      • "Her Mouth Is Filled With Honey" combines incomprehensible layered vocals with a tape of Jarboe's father discussing seeing his daughter, unbeknownst to him, having her first LSD trip.
      • "Volcano", a slightly fractured dance tune from the perspective of a psychopath stalking and then cannibalizing a rock star.
      • The climax of "Animus", in which Michael Gira's wordless vocals are overwhelmed by a torrent of droning viola and pounding percussion, sounding not unlike a whiteout. In light of Gira's last actual words, this is terrifying.
      • "The Beautiful Days" contrasts a little girl's song with difficult-to-place synth noises and a woman describing working as a phone sex operator.
      • "I Was A Prisoner In Your Skull" consists of, at first, a massive dissonant orchestral swell, which subsides into electronic noises and finally slide whistles, over which a very bizarre monologue appears...
      • "I Love You This Much", a weird concatenation of hallucinatory samples and musical fragments including a pitch-shifted series of excerpts from a choral piece by György Ligeti. Yes, the Shining guy.
    • "Your Game". Holy bejeezus, go out and find the lyrics...
    • Anything on Greed or Holy Money.
      • As stated above: Live, even more so. Go out and listen to the version of "Another You" from Public Castration Is A Good Idea and try to sleep. Or better yet, "Coward". Or "A Hanging".
    • Michael Gira's side project The Angels of Light had some doozies too, ranging from slow-burners like "New City in the Future," to the satanic street parade backing "Rose of Los Angeles," to the Swans-like mechanical stomp of "Black River Song."
  • Sebadoh's "As The World Dies, The Eyes Of God Get Bigger", which is a seven minute epic about being raised by a neglectful, drug addicted family, then vowing to go on a murdering spree. By the end of the song, there's multiple overdubs of Eric Gaffney screaming "BLOOD ON THE WALLS! BLOOD ON THE WALLS!". To top it off, it's reported to be based on Gaffney's actual childhood.
  • The entire discography of Texas band the pAper chAse certainly counts. "Go ahead, good friend, scream all you want to/You're legless and limping and lost and that's just how they like you/And I can feel your tender bodies coming near/I see them hanging from the crystal chandelier...You're going down, good friend, so I'm letting go of your legs/The laughing, the poking, the prodding, the pushing you over..." The fact that they name their songs things like "the kids will grow up to be assholes" and "This May Be The Last Song You Ever Hear" doesn't really help. And then you see them live.
    • If it helps, lead singer John Congleton doesn't actually mean what he says - he started the band as an outlet for his frequent panic attacks, and is by all indication a pretty nice guy. There are those who love them and can even sleep through a lot of their noise-rock stuff... their ambient pieces, however? Fucking terrifying. Go to last.fm and listen to a sample of "I Tried So Hard To Be Good". Go on.
    • If you think THAT'S bad, try any of the ambient songs on "Now You Are One of Us". Anything from the ever-so-lovely titled "Delivered In A Firm Unyielding Way Lingering For Just A Bit Too Long To Communicate The Message 'I Own You'" to "We Will Make You One of Us" (which, by the way, utilizes that radio show clip in Tool's "Faaip De Oiad") is pants-shittingly disturbing, especially to those first introduced to the band.
  • "The End" by Blue October is rather freaky, from the descriptive lyrics to how Justin's voice gets more and more angry and frantic as the song goes on.
    • "Dirt Room" is a lively song about executing revenge by burying someone alive "You started screaming through the duct tape. Don't ever think I'm letting you go."
  • Despite the title, Alien Sex Fiend's "Black Rabbit" has nothing to do with Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit." It's much scarier. You got beautiful eyes...you got beautiful dark eyes....
    • Not that "White Rabbit" is a very lighthearted song itself. The rising beat in the melody and the drug imagery make it unsettling too.
  • Heavens seems to enjoy this. Most notably "My knife wants to hide deep inside of you", and, later in the same song, "Want to take you aside, and softly whisper questions at you / As you slowly die, gripping at my shirt". Not the only example, either. About half of that album could classify as rock horror.
  • There isn't a whole lot that's scary about video game cover band The Megas' Get Acoustic... except the album art. Please don't let the zombie robots eat me...
  • "The Bird and the Worm" by The Used is pretty fucking creepy. Even without the even more terrifying music video to help it along.
  • Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen. Sounds innocuous at first, until you realize it's a true story about Charles Starkweather, who went on a violent interstate murder spree for no other reason than "there's just a meanness in this world." Seriously disturbing.
  • For that matter, the Ballad of Hollis Brown by Bob Dylan. A both incredibly sad and incredibly disturbing tale of a poor farmer driven to desperate measures.
  • Westfall by Okkervil River: "and when I killed her/it was so easy/that I wanted to kill her again".
  • The song "The Devil In Mexico" by Murder By Death (the band, not The Movie). The devil-screeching (courtesy of Gerard Way) will get to you.
  • The scream in The Cure's "Subway Song". Try travelling alone at night listening to it.
    • "Lullaby" is also really creepy, especially if you've got arachnophobia.
  • "Sleep" by Stabbing Westward. The creaky, clanking rhythm backing up the singer's mournful recitation of the lyrics is a little unsettling. It rapidly becomes apparent what the song is about - a little girl subjected to near-nightly rape by her father - and the song becomes outright disturbing. The sense of dread and desperation conveyed is nightmarish, and the chorus includes the raspily-whispered line, "Wishing one of them were dead/So this hell can finally end."
  • Bauhaus? Anyone? Anyone? Bauhaus? As well as a few ("Low Room") of Peter Murphy's solo songs, Bauhaus can creep the heck out of a fair few people. Those screechy, nails-on-a-chalkboard guitars and weird drums will get you every time, not to mention Murphy's vocals. The guy sounds like a crazed baptist preacher that constantly has spiders crawling through his shirt.
  • "Night Prowler" by AC/DC. Even without the "Helter Skelter"-ish notoriety associated with it, the song's pretty creepy in itself with Angus Young's ominous slide guitar and one of the most chilling vocal performances Bon Scott ever put to tape. Then you have the lyrics:

 Too scared to turn the light out, cause there's something on your mind

Was that a noise outside the window? What's that shadow on the blind?

As you lie there naked, like a body in a tomb

Suspended animation, as I slip into your room!

 "There's nothing out here nothing out here nothing out here nothing out here nothing out—"

  • "Who Was In My Room Last Night" by The Butthole Surfers. Try listening to it without it invoking a very disturbing mental image of a man trapped in an underwater submarine pod which is slowly breaking and cracking, letting in more and more water with no escape. This, combined with the static and other noises at the end only serve to make this image even more HONF, as it sounds like someone struggling for air over a radio.
    • ...Which is arguably nothing compared to some of their earlier works, like "22 Going On 23". Although one thing that lessens the horror somewhat is that the band claim the woman being sampled was most likely making the whole story up - she'd frequently be heard on the same call-in show telling different, completely contradictory accounts of abuse.
  • I Want You by Elvis Costello. Starts off sounding fairly innocuous, if a little creepy, and then descends into full-blown Nightmare Fuel, with the suggestion that the guy in the song is stalking his ex, and someone is going to end up dead. Fittingly, one writer described Costello as sounding as though he were 'on the end of a noose'. Lines like 'I'm afraid I won't know when to stop' and 'You've had your fun, you don't get well no more' do not help.
  • Slowcore band Low has more than a few of these.
    • Their album with the highest octane rating is Trust, which is largely about heroin addiction and was recorded in a desanctified Catholic church. It features:
      • "The Lamb": Ghostly voices singing "sha-na-na," percussion that sounds like chains being slammed against a concrete floor, and the lead singer shouting "I AM THE LAMB, AND I AM A DEAD MAN!"
      • "John Prine." What it has to do with John Prine isn't clear, but its lyrics are soaked in self-loathing and it ends in a terrifying, repeating "na na na na."
      • "Shots and Ladders." Lyrics about someone who's chronically ill, if not dying. The music itself sounds like the recording equipment was falling apart as they were using it.
    • Secret Name is by and large about the sacrifices that people make for their faith. (Two out of three of the band members are Mormons who are married to each other, and the name of the album references a concept in the Mormon wedding ceremony.)
      • "Don't Understand." Dissonant tape loops and lyrics that are apparently about a child abductor.
      • "Home." Just a simple, slow guitar line and a falsetto voice singing "Everybody wants to go home, even when they're old, even when they're small." Terrifying.
    • Their B-sides compilation includes a number of songs apparently too terrifying for albums, including a Jandek cover where the singer sounds half dead.
  • This Heat were an experimental post-punk band with strong progressive leanings and a penchant for using bizarre sounds and recording methods, usually to put across some kind of political point or just scare the crap out of their audience. Quite often, they succeeded on both points, as wonderfully demonstrated with the anti-war dirge "The Fall Of Saigon".
  • Ludus, another politically-minded, avant-garde band of the late '70s/early '80s, released an LP called Danger Came Smiling as a kind of culmination to their experiments in free improvisation and psychological self-analysis. At its most listenable, it's very, very odd; at its least, it is completely terrifying.
  • "D.O.A." by Bloodrock, which describes a man dying from injuries from a plane crash while his girlfriend dies beside him--and that's just the single edit. In the complete album version, they both go to Hell and get chased around by demons.
  • The entire album Flood by Boris. It starts off with what sounds like two guitars playing the same chords, but at different times. Eventually they become more and more synchronized. Then, while that's happening, you hear this loud sound, almost like the footsteps of a monster. The monster sounds grow louder and more frequent, like it's giving chase. It then occurs to you that the guitars almost sound like a man running away. And that's only the 1st song out of 4. I've been too scared to continue.
  • The multinational '80s goth rock band Belfegore's general ethos was that of trying for music that was at least a little menacing, but perhaps the epitome of their creepy musical output was their semi-instrumental (and self-referencing song) "Belfegore", off their 1985 album of the same name. Totally brings chills up and down your spine!
  • Depeche Mode aren't typically known for creepy or otherwise sinister music, but the final track on their 1987 album Music for the Masses is this very sinister song called "Pimpf" that will scare the bejesus out of you if you listen to it in the middle of the night with very little light to illuminate the room you're in.
  • British band The Move included this on their 1968 debut album.
    • "Walk Upon The Water", also from their debut. It's a happy little tune, until you find out it's about a group of friends who got high and decided to take a swim in the ocean, only to get swept up and drown. If that wasn't creepy enough, it's implied that the group was totally unaware that they were drowning in their intoxicated state.
  • The Smiths Meat is Murder. Morrissey, who is a hardcore vegetarian, sings about how killing innocent animals for food is really no different from killing other people. Throughout the song, there is a very creepy riff from Johnny Marr, and depressing piano. Also, at the beginning and ending of the song, the are the noises of what sound like power saws... and screaming animals.
    • Could also be Narm for some.
  • Mr. Bungle have driven into this territory quite a few times
    • First we have Dead Goon a 10 minute long song about a boy accidentally killing himself while performing auto-erotic asphyxiation complete with noose creaking sounds and dying gurgles.
    • Then there is Violenza Domestica, a song about domestic abuse in Italian, it sounds like a song that would fit in a David Lynch joint.
    • And then there's The Bends another 10 minute song, this one about suffering the bends, it ends with a bunch of Batshit Insane sounds
  • Whatever the fuck that is at the end of Infinity Land hidden way behind "Pause It and Turn It Up" comes from hell.
  • The music video for the Chad Van Gaalen song Molten Light Hell, the song itself is creepy as hell, but the music video takes it to another level.
  • Jimi Hendrix's "Machine Gun" and, to a lesser extent, his version of "The Star Spangled Banner". One of the few times he channels horror, and does it a tad too well.
    • Similar to the The Beatles' "Run For You Life", (see their Nightmare Fuel page for that one), Hendrix's version of "Hey Joe", about a man telling his friend that he gunned down his wife and the man she was having an affair with. However, where other bands (e.g The Byrds, The Leaves, Love) usually played the song in a brisk, proto-punk style, Hendrix played it as a slow, ominous, blues number, making an already creepy tune even creepier.
  • Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, guitarist and leader of The Mars Volta certainly touches this territory. On his first solo album A Manual Dexterity Soundtrack Volume 1, a song closer to the end titled Of Blood Blue Blisters usually causes most people a jump on the first listen http://youtu.be/zVwtFqxEkic
  • The song "Poor Harold" by the band White Magic, sound like a mix between a circus show and a panic attack. The iTunes review describes it as "an acid-damaged parlor song, written for the sitting area of a circus performer's trailer. It features vibraslap, a crinkly snare drum by Shaw, a nightmare piano, and melodica with whooping, off-the-rail singing and tempo changes that will make the listener dizzy."
  • The first side of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown's self-titled album. "Nightmare" is about a man having a bad trip and begging to be let into hell, "Time" is an eerie ballad than ends in a fit of madness (especially in the mono version), and the conclusion of "Fire" has Brown shouting "Burn!" over and over at the top of his lungs to the point of laughter.

Electronic/Industrial

  • Pendulum's songs, for the most part, aren't so much scary, as they are too fast-paced and energetic for night listening. However, they have a few songs which make for good examples:
    • Through the Loop. As if the fact that the music is unsettling, it samples the psychedelic boat ride from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.
    • Tarantula may sound So Cool Its Awesome at first, but if you closely observe the lyrics, you realize the song musically resembles a bad heroin trip. Not to mention the song begins with a funky reggae part, then breaks down into fast paced Dn B.
    • Still Grey. it's so calm yet so... Nerve wracking.
    • The video for Propane Nightmares. Enough said.
    • Comprachicos. As if the fact that the song sounds creepy and that Rob sounds like he's begging to live as he sings isn't bad enough, the song is about a kid repeatedly being abused by his parents, to the point where they drown him.
    • Similar to Tarantula, Witchcraft is awesome musically, but the lyrics are about a guy finding his girlfriend dead from an apparent murder.
  • Rubber Johnny. The basic gist of the video is, apparently, a night-vision documentary on a massively deformed young boy that's been set to the music of Irish electronic musician Aphex Twin. Trust us when we say that it sails straight past Uncanny Valley into Ultimate Nightmare Fuel Unleaded.
    • The initial character is some kind of puppet- and Johnny himself is played by director Chris Cunningham.
    • Aphex Twin is an electronica artist who broke new grounds (and several minds) with the infamous Rubber Johnny. Being batshit insane, Aphex Twin is known for compositions like this. Some say it's a masterpiece of dark electronica, an it is, but it's also really disturbing.
    • Another nightmare-riffic Aphex Twin/Chris Cunningham collaboration: Monkey Drummer
    • Try the videos for Come To Daddy and Windowlicker.
    • Richard D. James can be a pretty freaky guy himself. Let's not forget his trademark grin.
    • The spectrogram of the end of Equation could be considered scary, also.
    • Another AFX/Cunningham video: Flex.
  • Television... Rules the nation... It's the bizarre distortion about 0:32 seconds into the song that does it. And as for what the refrain implies... * shudder*
  • Skinny Puppy, especially live.
  • Orbital's The Box (28 minute version), especially the second movement.
  • Autechre's album Confield is unsettling in a very cold and mechanical way. The songs were produced using generative (computer algorithm rather than human performer based) sequencing which creates a subtle and terrifying feel to the whole album that contorts your mind.
  • "Earth Intruders" by Bjork. After listening to it a few times, it does get admittedly less creepy... but still. The intro is mainly the squelching of footsteps in mud and some very primitive-sounding drums. Then Bjork starts singing such lovely lyrics as "grinding skeptics into the soil/Shower of goodness/Coming to..." [I can't quite make it out.] Not to mention the occasional shrieking of "TURMOIL, CARNAGE!" Just to top it off, the album version ends with about a minute and a half of soft, eerie alarms and foghorn noises. The music video is essentially a tableau of primitive figures with spears, superimposed on Bjork's face. Then about halfway through the video... the figures get machine guns, and whoever's listening to the song runs away.
    • "An Echo, A Stain". Not many lyrics in it, but it's enough to make some creepy imagery - "I'm sorry you saw that," and the way it finishes with a half-whispered word "...complete."
  • 'Frankie Teardrop' by Suicide (band). It's just a primitive lawn-sprinkler drum machine, two obsessive notes on a cheap keyboard, and an increasingly-neurotic guy telling you a nasty story, yet it gets so tensed-up and uncomfortably creepy that the genuinely shocking, bloodcurdling screams almost come as a relief.
  • Roisin Murphy's "Ramalama (Bang Bang)". Do. Not. Listen. To. It. At. Night. And for all of your sakes, do not listen to it at night with the lights off.
  • Venetian Snares is an incredibly prolific breakcore artist whose albums frequently induce utter horror. Within a genre that is already disconcerting at its most benevolent, Venetian Snares manages to alternate between very conflicting moods on all his albums: at times he's approachable and lighthearted (Songs About My Cats), but in contrast, he can be fucking terrifying. For confirmation, just listen to Doll Doll Doll (centred around child abduction, involving mere passing references to brutal murder); Winter In The Belly Of A Snake (death and despair); Rossz Csillag Alatt Sz ületett (more despair, one track samples the aforementioned Gloomy Sunday) Meathole (stalkers, psychopaths, and serial killers). Even if his albums contained no samples or non-musical themes, Snares' breakneck pace, disorientating time signatures, and relentless dissonance ensure that this music should soundtrack your nightmares.
    • From Doll Doll Doll: All the Children are Dead.
    • "Find Candace", the follow-up to Doll Doll Doll, is equally terrifying. Just look at the cover art.
    • The Gloomy Sunday sampler isn't even the scariest song on the album; I will never hear the word "pigeon" the same way again: Második Galamb
  • Just about all the dark ambient styles, which all mostly involve collections of disturbing sounds more than anything else, though of course there's variation between styles, artists and individual "songs" in terms of scariness. Many people upon first hearing something by Lustmord will have to stop after a few seconds, and they'll feel physically odd for several minutes afterwards. Even after getting used to that, some still haven't been able to listen to some other styles, such as the clinical ambient bit at the end of this.
    • I found Lustmord's "Infinite Domain" particularly scary upon first listen because at one point the "music" drops out, leaving just an unidentifiable hollow rhythmic noise that sounds a lot like someone beating something against a wall, like a tennis ball. Or someone's head. (And if you've seen The Shining, the tennis ball option can be a terrifying sound.)
  • Some of the songs by industrial grindcore band The Berzerker definitely fit this trope. One notable example would be "Burnt". The scariest part of the song would have to be the midway point, where a man lists a number of torture methods accompanied by incredibly twisted industrial sounds. Not only that, but later in the song, the man's monologue is played again, in case you didn't hear him the first time.
  • #1 Crush by Garbage is one goddamn freaky song... basically, it's an Obsession Song which starts off as vaguely OK ("I would die for you" then, a bit later, "I would sell my soul for something pure and true/someone like you") and then gets considerably darker ("I will burn for you/feel pain for you") and then she lists all the stuff she would do for this guy. It's a long list.
  • "Happy Birthday" and "Blue" by The Birthday Massacre.
  •  :wumpscut: has some songs that go over the HONF territory. Examples: "Autophagy Day", which involves a man eating his own body; "Blood Bathing Tub", which speaks for itself; "Siamese" which involves one of the Siamese twins killing the other; "The Boo" where the main character's father does untold things to him and he takes revenge years after, much in the same fashion.
  • 30kft by Assemblage 23. "So I'm calling for one last time to say that I love you." Brr.
  • Front Line Assembly has some pretty good Nightmare Fuel, in particular Humanity (World War Three) is pretty damned creepy, as is the song Mortal, whose only dialogue consists of rather disturbing clips of post-apocalypse from some movie, possibly Through the Eyes of Madness.
  • Funker Vogt have more than a few moments - chiefly because most of their songs deal with actual events and aftermath. When a Child Dies, which dissects the discovery of a murdered girl and backtraces it to sexual abuse by a family member is right up there, as is Suspended Animation, which tells the tale of a man who wakes up to discover he's been buried alive:

 I'm crying now, but nobody's there

The air is scanty, my voice is decreasing

My mind is confused

I'm knocking on the coffin

  • Breathing Water by Inhale. It's an eight-minute-long track that isn't so much a song as a nightmare being quietly related over creepy ambient sound. The "singer's" voice is mechanically slurred into the Uncanny Valley, so the emotion seems detached and disjointed, and it's hard to even tell its gender at parts. It details slow death by drowning, but with parts so surreal as to truly ring true as a nightmare, like there being presents floating everywhere, and the singer trying to hold onto them to keep from sinking. The beginning and the end are slow fades in/out to the sound of buoys clanging rhythmically...heard from underwater. You can hear it for free, courtesy of the artist, here.
    • Hold the phone: "...presents floating everywhere, and the singer trying to hold onto them to keep from sinking." Here's the Point Pleasant, VA bridge collapse of December 15, 1967. Rescuers' hearts were broken by the sight of scattered holiday presents on the water. The song itself is creepy on its own; that it might be inspired by a particular event just amps it up. Also, for extra creep, this event is pivotal to the serious nightmare fuel The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel.
    • The voice actually IS the sheriff from "Prophecies" telling the leading man about a dream she had which ends up coming true
    • ALL of Inhale's songs are like this. '4x10+ 10+ 4' is the scariest one, making Longfellow's nostalgic poem 'My Lost Youth' sound like the speaker confessing suppressed knowledge. 'Lotus Wings' takes the greatest speech from 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' and warps it so darkly you're left screaming for someone to turn the bad bad sounds off. 'Crooked Creaking Universe' has...well, whatever the growling creature is, but if it came from a dark dark hallway, it wouldn't be surprising. Often the lyrics are so mechanically distorted you're left not knowing what exactly what the speakers are singing (or in some cases weeping)...and you don't want to.
    • Try listening to 'black' just before going to sleep. We dare you.
  • "Down In the Park" by Gary Numan.
  • Dead Eyes Opened by Severed Heads has been permanently traumatising for some.
    • There is a short tale called Accusing Eyes of Vengeance from 50 Great Horror Stories that has the exact same narrative as the above song. Creepy as hell.
  • The Russian band Otto Dix has the creepiest songs you can find. Their videos are pure Nightmare Fuel that make you want to curl up in fetal position weeping like a baby. Click at your own risk.
  • Think Tree's Doh tells the heart-rending story of a girl who was forced to watch her whole family be massacred by soldiers, then ends with a frantic woman running in fear, getting calls from a person who wants to kill her.

 My baby sister, Nguyen,

Fresh from her mother's womb,

Her face was left a garden

for bullets' bulbs to bloom

Right before my eyes.

  • Both the song and music video for it entitledLower State of Consciousness by ZZT. One word: Ants. Full Stop.
  • Midnight Syndicate is a gothic band that creates some of the creepiest instrumentals. A lot of their music is used to create atmosphere for haunted house rides. It's probably best not to listen to their music at the dead of night. Their use of sound effects is exceptionally frightful.
  • Stress by Justice. Allegedly, the thriller movie sample used in the music is triggering a subconscious zombie association. Also, the video is scary enough by itself.
  • The entire Dark Psytrance genre can be described as such for most people, probably the reason it is so unpopular - it's generally designed to upset and scare a normal person. Of course, some people find it extremely relaxing and enjoyable, so as with anything related to fear, Your Mileage May Vary.
  • Some of Visual Kei/Darkwave band Velvet Eden's instrumental pieces, such as And Schism and Confession, can be pretty terrifying. The videos make it about 10x worse.
  • Sopor Aeternus and The Ensemble of Shadows (which despite its elaborate name, is made up of a grand total of one people) has a few disturbing tracks - this one, for instance.
    • A few? More like every track, even the ones that are just calm melodies are spine-chillingly haunting. And look at her! She looks like fuck'n Nosferatu!
  • White Noise's "Black Mass: An Electric Storm In Hell" - the first minute or so is an attempt at Ominous Latin Chanting that induces a little bit of Narm, but then it explodes into six minutes of chaotic phased drum soloing, strange electronic noises, and tormented screams of agony.
  • The Diary of Dreams song "The Curse" is told from the perspective of a man who is being tortured; made worse by the chorus implying that the mental part of the torment is considerably worse. ("Plastic needles in my skin/don't ask me what they're for/no clue except for pain and shock/you tied me to the bed to mock/my eyelids kept wide open/so I can see all that you do...")
  • Ohm Sweet Ohm by Kraftwerk (on the Radioactivity album). With the looped synthetic voice and the funereal organ, it's like a computer singing longingly about its own blood. Maybe it'll come for yours next.
  • Einsturzende Neubauten's early work. Case in point, "Armenia".
    • Hell, they could be described as the soundtrack for Nightmare Fuel. And some of their later stuff is still pretty damn creepy.
  • You thought Madonna's "Justify My Love" was scary? Try Front Line Assembly's remake.
  • Coil breathe Nightmare Fuel, but sometimes they outdo themselves. Take, for instance, "Queens Of The Circulating Library", a nearly fifty-minute track mostly composed of resonant drones. There is very little that is particularly eerie or odd about the latter half of the piece... Until you take into account that the last line of the at-first-blush rather silly opening lyrics is: "It's in the trees... It's coming..." Add to that the tone in which the line is delivered. Namely, with suppressed fear. Remember: Nothing Is Scarier.
    • Their side-project Zos Kia has "Rape", which was based on the actual experience of that group's vocalist Min. It becomes very intense very quickly.
    • In a similar vein, "The Tenderness Of Wolves", if only due to the looping infant screams. Oh, dear.
    • "Blood From The Air", especially the sudden rush of strange, high-pitched noises halfway through. That, and the lyrics, which are for all intents and purposes very high-quality Scenery Gorn.
    • The Music To Play In The Dark duology is ripe with HONF, with "Strange Birds" and "Where Are You?" being especially disquieting.
  • This song by Ministry. The song itself is strangely catchy despite being made to be obviously creepy and that's what makes it even scarier.
  • The Deviants were always a pretty unsettling band. The scariest song they ever did, however, was Nothing Man. If you're listening to it for the first time, you think it's going to be a sort of creepy song. But it becomes a spoken-word description of a nihilistic, hateful man. There's no real music in the background, either, just lots of frightening sounds. It starts out pretty quiet, but it all culminates in the last part, where Mick Farren lists all the people the nothing man hates. It's pretty scary, especially if you find yourself on the list of people the Nothing Man hates. I've heard plenty of songs. This is the only one that truly frightens me.
  • Chiron's album "Bleed" has a closing track, "Nikki" which is seemingly about a gal named Nikki coming back to take revenge on a guy that has wronged her. Hell hath no fury. It's pretty standard, until it hits the 03:58 mark. With the line "They're never gonna get me alive" previously on a rocky tune, it suddenly shifts into a moodier music, and words/expressions begin. Each expression is repeated several times, one in each ear. These include: "Control, control, control!", "You found the answer! YOU found the answer!", "Staring at me, staring at me, STARING at me, STARING AT ME!", "They will see the real me! They will see the real me!", "Touch me! Touch me!", "I can't stop shaking! I can't stop shaking!"
  • Many IDM songs, which can overlap with the aforementioned dark ambient genre.
  • Negativland, while mostly humorous, has some serious Fuel if you're not prepared for it. One of the tracks from the live album It's all in your head feature jarring, repetitive industrial rhythms as a woman talks about killing children. Yeah, it's not a wise choice to listen to going to sleep.
  • Renard's creations under the Lapfox Trax label can oftentimes be creepy without even meaning to be, but his ambient horror album Silence, made in the style of Silent Hill 1, can be difficult to listen to for just how creepy it gets, and the occasional spots of things getting "close" to you. See how much you can bear to listen to, preferably with headphones and in a dark room.
  • わたしのココ's "コンプレックス (Complex)", perhaps the most terrifying piece the band has ever put out, with its throbbing bass, atonal, sporadic electronics, and genuinely hateful lyrics.
  • Skrillex has gotten so heavy at points that it dips in to this, to the point where the song linked has been frequently described as "like a T-rex having violent sex with Optimus Prime", as well as being considered like the Death Metal of Dubstep by some.
  • Combichrist have quite a few examples, but special mention should go to God Warrior. What makes it especially impressive is that the vocals from that track are taken from this video, which is, at best, a bit weird, but to most people is pretty hilarious. Then Shaun F and Andy La Plegua got their hands on it, and turned it into this.
  • Covenant's Modern Ruin Part II, a Hidden Track on their latest album, is a dark ambient drone track reminiscent of Quake or Silent Hill. Back in 1994, they did a similar piece called "Cryotank Expansion", which is 26 minutes long.
  • Lu.ci-ana by Juno Reactor.
  • The super-obscure industrial band German Shepherds have a song called "Booty Jones". The lyrics are about a guy's fantasy of raising up "a family of clean little boys". Not helping was the singer's decision to claim he was on trial for child molestation and fake his own death.[3] And the electronic whining, deep bass, and monotone vocals just add to the effect.
  • Many songs on Deadmau5's soundcloud, most notably "Industrial Strength Sleeping Pills"
  • Anbb have a rather notorious version of the folk traditional "I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground." It starts off kinda creepy, with Carsten's cold, atonal electronics keeping time to Blixa's vocals and the odd creepy line or two right out of nowhere,[4] but then Blixa all of a sudden begins seriously abusing Careful with That Axe (at points, he stops sounding human) the electronics go haywire, and yet another nursery rhyme is ruined.
    • MIMIKRY. Weird lyrics, and then this robotic voice talking about the noice, and this dissonance, and this constant beat... *shudders*. It's beautiful, though.
  • The first ten minutes of the Hafler Trio's "The Emasculation of Contempt" would definitely apply; A layered, 15/16 time piano piece that would be more or less okay--were it not for the processed screamings, a growing fog of demonic, unsettling shrieks and howls, getting more and more unnerving until all of a sudden, it cuts out.
  • Hybrid, since their second album Morning Sci-Fi, has since then made their songs extremely unsettling and scary. Marrakech, from the previously mentioned album, deserves special mention.
  • How about Angelspit's "Sleep Now"?

 We

Are all

The same

The monster in human is

Inhumane

Sleep now...

Hush...

And what makes it even creepier is Zoog's voice as he says "we are all the same". Emotionless, like he knows and doesn't care, because he's given up already. Yeah, I'll sleep all right.

Pop

  • The outro to Gwen Stefani's Yummy (starting at 3:40 in this video. The rest of the song is unsettling enough, but the ominous drums kick in, then the tuba and organ... sounds like a fucking demonic circus.
  • Madonna's "Mer Girl." It is the last song on her Ray Of Light album and definitely closes it on a...somber note, to say the least. The entire song sounds like it could easily fit into a Silent Hill game, and the closing lyrics are a shining example of this trope...

 "And I smelled her burning flesh...

Her rotting bone...

Her decay...

I ran and I ran, I'm still running away..."

  • Halloween by Aqua goes into this category, with its Scream-inspired intro and everything.
  • Don't let their incredibly cute looks fool you - some of the songs from Japanese virtual "pop stars" Vocaloid series were meant to be scary as hell, and the fan videos do them justice. Alice Human Sacrifice comes readily to mind. And it is far from a single occurrence.

  Let's just face it all Vocaloid horror songs are creepy (especially with english subtitles) Fear Garden has Rin talking about creating a garden out of other vocaloids arms and she's proud about it.

  • A-ha's song Scoundrel Days sounds energetic and spirited. Then you read the lyrics, which are from the viewpoint of a madman who runs around with slit wrists and hallucinated heavily before he throws self off a cliff. Holy Mind Screw and Lyrical Dissonance, Batman.
  • Copenhagen by The Knife.
    • Karin Dreijer Andersson, one half of the Knife, has a solo career under the name Fever Ray. Her music, stage persona, and videos are so scary that her husband was concerned about letting their kids listen to her music.
  • Grace Jones has an upliftingly titled song called "Corporate Cannibal." Sweet dreams.
  • "Disturbia" by Rihanna. Just your typical catchy, dancey pop son, right? Well... here's a snippet of the lyrics:

 "It's a thief in the night to come and grab you

It can creep up inside you and consume you

A disease of the mind it can control you

It's too close for comfort..."

  • "Little Stomp Box" is fairly dark for a They Might Be Giants song, from lyrics like "Little stomp box tear it from my heart" to John & John screaming "KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL ME NOW..."
  • Humorist Dave Barry's Bad Song Survey turned up an unexpected #4: "Timothy" by the Buoys, who were apparently deliberately trying to record a song so gross they'd be banned and reap lots of free publicity. (That they were abetted by Rupert Holmes - the dude responsible for the Pina Colada song - is somehow nightmarish all by itself.) The result is a catchy pop tune in which, as Barry notes, "the singer appears to be saying that he...well, that he ate the subject of the song. Really." Then he quotes these lyrics:

 Timothy, Timothy, Joe was lookin' at you

Timothy, Timothy, God what did we do?

...My stomach was full as it could be

And nobody ever got around to finding Timothy.

  • "Possession" by Sarah Mc Lachlan. This song was actually based off the deranged love letters sent to the singer by an obsessive stalker, who eventually sued her for the song content and killed himself later on. The song itself has a creepy gothic tone to it, sounding romantic at first but growing to become more unsettling by the second. The music video, depicting various Christian scenes and Mc Lachlan's body wrapped in cloth and swinging across the screen, is also quite eerie. The chorus? "And I would be the one/ to hold you down/ kiss you so hard/ I take your breath away/ and after I'd/ wipe away the tears/ just close your eyes, dear"

Country

  • Try "Psycho", a country song first released by Eddie Noack in 1968, made famous by Jack Kittel in 1974, and subsequently covered by the Beasts Of Bourbon and Elvis Costello. It details a conversation between a rural serial killer and his mother, in which he confesses his crimes. One memorable line runs ..Seems I was holding a wrench, momma/And my mind just walked away... Bad enough, but the final line is the kicker in which it is revealed that he has already killed his mother and has been talking to her corpse.
  • A rare example in country music: the double album Straight To Hell by Hank Williams III contains a 42-minute long end track that consists of a hellish pastiche of distorted sounds, ranging from pitch-shifted country songs to field recordings. Interspersed throughout, however, are some rather nice (if a bit "off") songs that detracts from the "WTF factor".
  • The Charlie Daniels Band's The Legend of Wooley Swamp. It's all well and good, a little creepy, until you get to the end and realize that 3 teenage boys (while admittedly horrible dudes, but still...) are re-living being buried alive again and again for all eternity... Ugh.
    • If you listen to it on a good system, you'll notice that there are bass notes that are more felt than heard. Now try this home alone in a rural location with a storm approaching.
  • Those Poor Bastards performs pitch-black horror-themed country with the fervor of fundamentalist backwoods preachers. "John Henry Gonna" sounds like the gospel soundtrack to a zombie apocalypse. "The Dust Storm" is a hair-raising trip down some evil backroads. And their cover of Johnny Cash's "Walk the Line" is a terrifying ode to stalkerism.

Rap

  • The entire album Hell's Pit by Insane Clown Posse
  • Eminem's album Encore isn't very good for sleeping to. The last track closes with a woman's scream cut off by a gun shot...
    • Probably a more down-to-earth example than most of these, but you may die a little inside after listening to Slim Shady's "Kim", a song he wrote about killing his IRL wife.
    • As far as mainstream rappers go, Eminem is pretty hard to beat when it comes to being disturbing. On the same album as "Kim" we have "Amityville", which is sadly ruined by Bizarre when he comes on, and "Stan", which is about a deranged, obsessed fan of Eminem's who ultimately drives off a bridge and kills both himself and his pregnant girlfriend, just because his letters to Eminem didn't get answered (the final verse, which features Eminem finally responding to Stan's letters, has a whopper of a Fridge Horror at the very end). Relapse has "Same Song and Dance" which is about kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering celebrities. Although the song itself isn't bad, "Just Don't Give A Fuck" off The Slim Shady LP has a pretty eerie instrumental.
      • And Eminem tops himself again with "Music Box", which is possibly his most outright disturbing song to date. And that is saying something. Cannibalism, murder, Satanism, pedophilia, stalking, rape, torture....so many great, wholesome flavors make up this little nightmare anthem.
  • Mos Def, almost unanimously known as conscious rapper, made "Murder Of A Teenage Life", a song detailing the death of child gunned down and dying in his mother's arm. Though the lyrical content could be possibly classified as a Tear Jerker, the beat, made by The Neptunes, who also produced Britney Spears' "Slave 4 U" mind you, is pure, unadulterated terror, complete with sampled blood-chortling screams and distorted hollow singing by Mos Def.
  • David Banner's "Play" might have an instrumental that's purely awesome, but his lyrics make the rapper look like a fucking serial rapist (whispering all of the lyrics, no less). Listen to the track, and you'll see how such depravity can be so terrifying.
  • The vast majority of Clouddead's discography counts, but their first (self-titled) album is like a train ride through the mind of David Lynch.
  • "The Omen" by DMX, featuring (believe it or not) Marilyn Manson, from the Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood album. It starts out with a woman sobbing over a dying man in a hospital, with the beep of a life support machine in the background. Then this deep ominous voice comes in . . . "Hmmm – what's this?" The rest is constructed as a dialogue between a violent thug and a Complete Monster who's urging him on to increasingly brutal acts. Both are voiced by DMX (Manson does the chorus), but latter is done in this pinched, weasel-y tone that's just so damn weird and unhinged.

 Yo X, police just killed your cousin, happened in the projects

Gon' get back, them niggaz will pay,

I got you,

Told you I got you,

Dog, I GOT YOU!

I'm in a catch-22

But them niggaz gotta pay

But I know he's gonna be askin' for a favor one day

But fuck it

I ain't got no choice in the matter!

Them faggots killed my people!

And I wanna see'em splattered!

That's what I'm talkin' 'bout, we ain't on no pinch hit

Now use the same gun that you killed them two kids with

Is that hard to live with?

Nah

See, you still a playa

But what you want from me?

Uh – I'll tell you later

  • The music video for "Gimme Some More" by Busta Rhymes is...rather eccentric. It contains some pretty disturbing scenes, among which a young Busta transforming into a monster and chasing a woman around.
  • "Kurt Cobain by Proof" a song about Proof reflecting on his life written in a suicide note. but takes a different approach at the end of the song when he inevitably shoots himself, mixed in with a disembodied but repetitive sound with him clearly whispering

 Proof: Love... killed... me...

 But all I really want is a kiss on the cheek, in private, not public on the streets...

      • Not to mention all the nice sound effects in the song, including the victim screaming "Tyler!" through her gag followed by some indiscernible babbling, the sound of her apparently choking on... something... and after her death, a skit in which Tyler cradles what's left of her body and croons to her "My lady... you're my lady... taste so good..." before committing suicide by cop. This continues to be the one song that genuinely disturbs this avid OFWGKTA fan every time he hears it.
      • did I mention their group was formed by collectively 15-17 year olds?
    • Also, his video for "Yonkers:" an Inaction Video in which he plays with and then eats a cockroach, vomits, has his eyes go completely black, and ultimately hangs himself on camera.
    • Also from Tyler's debut album is "Blow", another song about Tyler raping and murdering a girl. The chorus, accompanied by Tyler's alter-ego demon voice, sums it up pretty well.

 Baby, you're an angel

How about we turn this into a fable of some sort?

You already know you're dead

Ironic cause your lipstick's red, of course

I stuff you in the trunk, drunk

Cause all I really wanna do is fuck and snort blow

    • And then we have Earl Sweatshirt, the youngest and arguably most talented member of OF, who wrote a song called "Luper" in his eponymous album. Pretty much the whole song seems to be a genuine and heartfelt Tear Jerker about his depression after getting dumped, until the last verse.

 The basement is dark and

The switchblade is sharpened

Her name on my arm and her face on the two-percent carton

See her face while you're eating your breakfast

And know she's in my basement objecting to sex with

Me, murder spree, moving on to the next bitch

Tombstones read Rip cause it's pieces they rest in

  • Slow Motion People by Alias. That distorted old song at the start is only the tip of the iceberg. "To looooove or not to love you. To feel agaaaain that thing called paaaaain".
  • Cunninlynguists' "Falling Down" arguably descends into Narm around the second time a character has a Freak-Out, but the very first one feels like something that could happen in real life. One man, stuck in traffic, having a bad day on a bad month in a bad year--and he happens to have a gun in the back of his car, and another driver has just pissed him off.
  • Immortal Technique's "Dance With the Devil." A song about a boy who grows up to become a drug dealer and criminal and ends with him unknowingly raping and killing his own mother. He subsequently kills himself.

Classical/Traditional

  • This cover of Schubert's Die Forelle from Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.
  • "Toccata in fugue in D minor" by Johann Sebastian Bach is particularly popular in old horror movies.
  • "Night On Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky
    • "The Gnome", "Chickens in Their Eggs", and "The Hut On Fowl's Legs/Baba Yaga" from his Pictures At An Exhibition suite.
  • The third movement of Pjotr Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite", better known as the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" starts rather creepy.
  • "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" by Paul Dukas
  • "Le Sacre du Printemps" ("The Rite of Spring") by Igor Stravinsky
    • Hell, all these tracks were used in Disney's Fantasia! No wonder it was such a scary film at times!
  • "Peter and the Wolf" by Sergei Prokofiev
  • "Concerto For Orchestra" by Bela Bartok, especially the second, third and fourth sections.
    • And his "Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste", famously used in Kubrick's The Shining.
  • "Pièce pour flute seule" by Jacques Ibert
  • "8th String Quartet" by Dmitri Shostakovich
  • "Mars", bringer of War and "Uranus" the Magician on Gustav Holst's "The Planets".
  • "The Gong on The Hook & Ladder" by Charles Ives
  • Certain pieces of Camille Saint-Saens' "Carnival Of The Animals", particularly "The Chickens", "The Kangaroo", "The Aquarium", "The Donkey" (eerily described as "People with Long Ears") and "The Cuckoo".
    • "The Aquarium" was even used in Disney's "Beauty & The Beast", when Belle first enters The Beasts' castle.
  • The classical Saint-Saens composition "Danse Macabre" isn't exactly balmy, particularly the opening. You are forgiven in advance for jumping out of your seat 19 seconds in.
  • Certain parts of Symphonie fantastique by Hector Berlioz, particularly the last two movements. Especially if you know what they're about.
  • The "Dies Irae," a part of the Requiem mass taken from a 13th-century hymn. It describes the Last Judgment. Surprised that it's scary/creepy? Hector Berlioz did manage to change the way the tune was used, however, when he quoted it in his aforementioned symphony, and it's been parodied ever since (as in the Saint-Saens piece described above).
  • Percussion ensemble pieces can be HONF, what with the banging and clanging and all that. Especially if they involve a lot of shouting and screaming as well.
  • Most works by György Ligeti, for example Atmospheres, famously featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • The Georgian traditional choral piece "Tsintskaro" sounds downright haunting. The lyrics are perfectly innocuous (a man meets a woman at a spring and says something that offends her), but the fact that the lyrics are so vague just adds another layer of creepiness.
  • "In the Hall of the Mountain King," from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite, is pretty creepy even if you haven't seen the movie version of Stephen King's Needful Things
  • Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 10 minutes of the scariest music ever..
  • "Gloomy Sunday", composed by Rezső Seress in 1933, also known as the Hungarian Suicide Song, is a song made famous by the English translation recorded by Billie Holiday in 1941. The song got its nickname thanks to urban legends which are now thought to have been spawned by Holiday's record label, as the original Hungarian version was said to have inspired the suicides of anyone who heard it, and indeed Seress took his own life in 1968. The lyrics describe the narrator's morbid desire to commit suicide in order to join his/her dead lover. However, Holiday's version added a third verse which modulates to a major feel and suggests that the previous verses were merely a fleeting dream. Still, the final lines - "Darling, I hope that my dream never haunted you | My heart is telling you how much I wanted you" - leave many disturbingly unanswered questions.
  • Many of former orchestral pop musician Scott Walker's later releases, with the most horrific being 2006's The Drift, which is less about music than it is the aural equivalent of a train ride through Hell.
  • Pierrot Lunaire by Arnold Schoenberg. There had been lots of scary music made before Schoenberg, but he was the first person to make music creepy. In fact, he's been so imitated by modern composers (including on numerous horror film scores) that it can sound a bit Dated.
  • If you ignore all the clichés it has been associated with for the past century or so, "Der Erlkönig" qualifies. A father and his son, who might or might not be seriously ill, are riding home one night when the son starts hallucinating that they are being stalked by the titular Erlkönig, a legendary creature, who comes across like a modern day Serial Killer, luring the boy with gifts in order for him to come along. The son refuses and begs his father to save him. The father doesn't believe his son, until the son dies in agony at the hands of the Erlkönig, his soul taken by force.
  • Some of that Bulgarian Folk music is so terrifying. For example, Delio Haidutin was used on the Voyager but is scary. Not really the instruments, which are simply odd and foreign, but that voice... dear lord that terrifying voice!
  • Anything, anything...ANYTHING in the Sequenza series by the late Luciano Berio. A list of serialist pieces which wouldn't sound out-of-place if the Silent Hill games made greater use of music. Heck, it even makes the sound of an accordion seem unnerving. The worst? Sequenza III for female voice. That muttering...
  • The old folk song, Long Lankin. Especially the Steeleye Span recording of it.
    • Martin Carthy's a cappella recording is even more unsettling.
  • Malicorne's rendition of the old murder ballad "Le petit écolier" manages to be effectively shocking.
  • John Cage's In the Name of the Holocaust manages to be more terrifying than most Nightmare Fuel by (prepared) piano alone. No lyrics, no ominous bells.
  • Symphony #1: In Memoriam Dresden by Daniel Bukvich, written in remembrance of the Allied bombing of Dresden during WWII. Creepiness incarnate at the beginning... and then screaming flutes, weird wavy timpani, and then a movement where the band starts whispering... then talking... then shouting, and then screaming as if they're being burned alive. Which, coincidentally, is what the last movement is supposed to be about.
  • George Crumb's "Black Angels". It will make you feel like insects are crawling up your skin.

Folk

  • Leonard Cohen succeeded in making HONF folk music on Songs of Love and Hate. Listen to "Dress Rehearsal Rag" and "Diamonds in the Mine." There's a reason there's a goth band named after one of this guy's songs.
  • The genre of Neo-Folk or Apocalyptic Folk is often more HONF than it is folk.
    • Basically anything by Nurse With Wound is deeply disturbing on a primal level, whether you understand why or not.
    • Sol Invictus has a variety of incredibly disturbing songs, be they about cannibals or ghosts.
    • Death In June, who nearly exclusively sing about death and cults and Nazis and the Holocaust, is HONF when they're not just depressing. They did a cover of songs by Jim Jones. That Jim Jones.
  • While the entire discography of the eccentric and reclusive folk/blues/who-knows-what musician Jandek may qualify as Nightmare Fuel for some, there are many instances in which the man out does himself. Especially when he screams.
  • Vienna Teng has a few distinctly unsettling songs. Radio deserves particular mention for its liberal use of Adult Fear (terrorist attacks), but Passage, Pontchartrain, and Watershed deserve mention as well.

Soundtracks

Anime

  • The Hellsing Ruins OST track 19. First reaction: "wait, is this a Hellsing song? Still nice, I guess... OK, now it starts becoming eerie an--OKWHATTHEFUCK." It can be heard on YouTube here.
  • Eiko Shimamiya. The music itself is quite lovely and very catchy. But... the translations were truly scarring. Prime example being "The raindrops turn into droplets of blood and travel down my cheeks, If there’s no place for me to return to anywhere anymore" from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Yes, this is the opening of an anime that is basically made of Pure Nightmare Fuel. Go on, click it.
    • The above has a music video of its own.
    • And let's not forget Naraku No Hana, which is just as pretty to listen to, provided you don't look up the translation.
    • Higurashi anime OST in general has really scary music in it. Tatari, Giwaku, Senkou... the list goes on.
    • Notable gems from the visual novel OST: Demonic Institute, Cave, and Days of Children, with the latter filling the Ominous Music Box position.
  • Able to accomplish this without the need for words is the official soundtrack for Akira. Never try to listen to this at night with the lights off.
  • You don't think Yoko Kanno is capable of creating music that is pure Nightmare Fuel? Think again.
  • Aura from .hack//Sign. It's about a girl who is kept in a vegetative state by a corrupt and jealous mother-figure.
    • If you are near to the dark
      I will tell you 'bout the sun
      You are here, no escape
      From my visions of the world
      You will cry all alone
      But it does not mean a thing to me
  • Saint Seiya has some really scary music, that sets the mood very well:

Film

Theatre

  • The crucifixion scene from the original cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • "The Dark I Know Well" from Spring Awakening is a song about sexual abuse, which is as horrific and sad as it sounds. The music is horrendously dissonant, Martha and Ilse's parents cut in with disturbing commentary[5], and the refrain is especially horrible:

 You say all you want is just a kiss goodnight

And then you hold me and you whisper,

"Child, the Lord won’t mind.

It’s just you and me.

Child, you’re a beauty."

  • "Mea Culpa" from Sweeney Todd is divided between Judge Turpin perving on his teenage adopted daughter and scourging himself in a futile attempt at penance.
  • The entirety of the soundtrack for KA by Cirque Du Soleil. Unlike most of their soundtracks witch is divided between catchy upbeat tunes like Kunya Sobe and Alegria, most of the soundtrack is mostly creepy simlish chants and fast paced drumbeats. Pursuit is a particularly nightmare inducing example. Enjoy!

Video Games

  • The theme for Lavender Town in Pokemon is creepy enough. Now listen to it reversed.
  • Two of the options for your menu theme in Left 4 Dead 2 are absolutely blood-curdling: You could either go for the campy, yet creepy theme based on the Dark Carnival campaign or the FUCKING terrifying fiddle theme based on the Swamp Fever campaign. Regardless of what you choose, good luck sleeping tonight.
  • The twisted renditions of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Ring Around the Rosie" from Dead Space. Listen to those and your childhood will be Ruined FOREVER...
  • In Half-Life 2, the 50 second track that plays upon first entering the zombie-infested town of Ravenholm is enough to make even the most hardcore players soil their pants. The fact that the first thing you see when the track begins to play is a mutilated zombie corpse hanging from a tree doesn't make the whole thing any easier.
  • Overlaps with Video Games but... the Metroid Fusion soundtrack. Especially the arranged version.
    • "Phazon Radiation" from the Prime subtrilogy can make anything creepy.
  • THE ENTIRE SOUNDTRACK to American McGee's Alice (except for the final song, where everything is okay of course). Have a listen to the "Dementia" trackhere.
  • The soundtrack to any given Silent Hill game. 'Nuff said.
  • Never, ever listen to the soundtrack to The white chamber, unless you are actually playing the game. If you listen to it at any other time, whatever you are doing at that time will be Ruined FOREVER.
  • The two Scissorman chase themes from Clock Tower for the PS 1. When either of these kicked in after the relative silence and lack of music in the game, you knew you were in some deep shit and had better find a hiding place as soon as possible. The second one was used more as a jump-out-at-out type of scare, but the first one is arguably more frightening because it's the one that just starts up randomly after you've simply walked around for a while without encountering him, so you don't know exactly where he might be. And for that matter, the chase theme from the original game for the Super Famicom (released only in Japan, but there is a fan translation available) is just as scary.
  • Similarly to the above concerning Clock Tower, the various ambient and chase themes from Haunting Ground are creepy or pants-crappingly scary for similar reasons, perhaps even more so given the chase themes' tendency to speed up or slow down based upon how close to or far away from you the stalker happened to be at the time. Here are the four main sets:
  • "Dread Intrusion" off the Halo 3 soundtrack. It starts off in the typical, already-creepy Flood themes, but soon adds backmasked speech from the Gravemind. The middle segment is an almost-heroic sounding drum but reminiscent of "Ghosts of Reach" from the Halo 2 soundtrack, but when it gets to the pause, instead of returning with doubled-up awesome, you hear a strange wailing screech come in and it returns to creepy ambiance music.
  • The middle section (Infected) of "Mausoleum Suite" from the Halo 2 soundtrack. Starts out with slow jungle drums and spooky moaning voices (similar to the Shadow Temple music from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time) , and then turns into a cacophony of synthesizer effects with guttural voices that seem to be reversed speech, but are really just gibberish.
  • The original Quake's dark ambient soundtrack (produced by Trent Reznor). Although, with the music off, it can be even scarier.
  • Much of the soundtrack to Marathon 1, especially "Landing", "Leela", and "Aliens Again". Makes the dark corridors that much scarier.
  • Silent Bonk. It is a testament to how creepy Silent Hill music is that even having the Scout from Team Fortress 2 "bonk" over it fails to blunt the fear factor.
  • The soundtrack to the game Dreamfall is alright on the whole, but "Faith", the final track, is pretty damn creepy. The song itself is bad enough, but when it ends (2:40 into the track) there are six minutes of silence. Then, static plays for a short while and a little girl's voice calls out "Find April Ryan, save her...". When you aren't expecting it, that makes for one weird and paranoia inducing end to a soundtrack...
  • A cartoonish video game soundtrack seems like an odd place for nightmare fuel, no? Soul Asylum from Mega Man X7 disagrees with you. The distorted effects in the track are almost hypnotic...
    • On the same topic of cartoonish games, try listening to some of the Earthbound music. Especially the Cave of the Past theme and the final battle music.
  • F.E.A.R. is HONF in its own right, but its soundtrack will require you to bring your brown pants.
  • Two words: "Sniper Town" from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. Adding nightmare fuel to the fire is the fact that it plays in the sniper-infested Scrappy Level.
  • Self Esteem and Android Hell from the Portal soundtrack are pretty creepy. But No Cake For You stands out as both the best and creepiest ambient music in the entire game.
  • Speaking of Portal, JoCo's Still Alive has plenty of HONF itself. A Passive-Aggressive AI that represents the worst of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction gets a musical number?!? The lyrics of which clearly point out the insanity and murder with which GLaDOS pursues science? And the song occurs after "she" is supposedly "dead"? Although, for some, the several duet versions of the song (between GLaDOS and JoCo) can make it seem more like a love song in that context.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRETQyTMatk
  • The "Double Illusion" Final Boss music in the arcade version Double Dragon II
  • Cellular Tissue from Valis 1 sounds like it was lifted from a haunted house ride or game.
  • Forest Theme from The Path soundtrack. If lyrics like, "Are you dreaming? He'll soon be feeding," and the disturbing scraping noise don't send you screaming, wait for the wolf's actual voice. Bonus for how creepy it sounds when you're actually playing the game.
  • XaaaCi from Ar Tonelico 3 is probably one of the most terrifying themes of the game, as well as saddening once you learn what it's about.
  • Do you want to hear suicidal depression? Click here for some of Cry of Fear
  • Resident Evil 4, despite being an Actionized Sequel, has one of the most nightmare fueltastic soundtracks of the series.

Web Original

  • The music from Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction still gives me goosebumps. All of it. The way it was transformed from twangy, humorous, and somewhat novelty-ish in Blood Gulch Chronicles to being a legitimate dramatic tool in Reconstruction is nothing short of amazing.
  • The Device Has Been Modified, a remix of dialogue from Portal. It makes everything so damn creepy, especially at the end. Especially since if you forget and leave it on, a full ten seconds or so of silence after the "end," a Turret whispers "Are you still there?" with demonic reverb.
    • The download of the song has the Turret speak much sooner after G La DOS says "goodbye," so the creepiness of it is lessened a little. Not by much, though.
  • This song parody by someone named after a line from Michael Jackson's song Smooth Criminal is a nightmarish attempt at a song about Tonight Show host Jay Leno- the song coming off as more of an Alice Cooper-like vibe to it and with the portrayal of Jay being more like Heath Ledger's Joker crossed with Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd. It makes the whole thing look more like a horror novel than a song.
    • YMMV. The forced rhyming adds definite shades of Narm.

Needs Categorization

  • Literally every second of every song by Circle Takes the Square
  • The WWE wrestler The Undertaker's theme is considered HONF due to it beginning with three loud eerie ringing of a church bell like the beginning of AC/DC's Hells Bells but more scarier crescendoing into the most creepiest rendition of Chopin's Funeral March and the rest of the music sounds like something out of a Resident Evil game. Biker Undertaker's theme wasn't that scary with Kid Rock's American Badass and Limp Bizkit's Rollin'.
    • His (Kayfabe) brother Kane's theme isn't too pleasant either, as it begins with a horrifying Phantom of the Opera-style church organ before segueing into a death metal piece overlaid with what seems to be the screams of the damned.
  • Jonathan Coulton's 'Creepy Doll' is a second person narrative featuring an old house, a "bag of big city money", and a creepy doll that haunts its victims. By the end of the song the protagonist, fed up, locks the doll in the box it came from and throws it onto the fireplace. "As the smoke fills up your tiny room, there's nothing you can do/ Far too late, you see the one inside the box is you..."
  • Not quite music, but Final Relaxation by The Golding Institute is quite possibly the most terrifying "comedy" album ever released. It's essentially a parody of new age guided meditation albums, but it's billed as "your ticket to death through hypnotic suggestion." That's right, the intended result of the exercise is for you to die. At first this is played for extremely dark humor, as cliche after cliche of the genre is inverted (for example, instead of a calming voice instructing you to relax your body parts one at a time over soothing music, there's a creaky-voiced old man telling you in excruciating detail how much pain each individual body part is in, accompanied by a low-pitched electronic hum). As the album goes on, however, the imagery and instructions get a lot more unnerving, that queasy electronic hum keeps growing louder and louder, the already creepy narrator gets even more sociopathic, and there's increasingly less there to remind you it's all a joke. To top it off, the inside of the booklet is a last will and testament, with blanks for the listener to fill in.
  • Wonderfully horrible group The Tiger Lillies mine a rich seam of grotesquerie, Brecht-style cabaret and vile, hilarious depravity. If you're not into them, any song might make you lose sleep, but they can sometimes tweak a scary nerve even for fans. Their latest offering, The Little Match Girl (a nasty tale in itself), has a song mentioning 'long golden hair'. In the stage version, the Match Girl's father collects her discarded hair, which as he pulls at it proves to be nightmarishly long. Ultimately there is a twisted rope of hair winding back and forth between a series of successively-smaller sets, as the 'golden' hair refrain is repeated with greater intensity. And then the Match Girl herself comes back to wind it all up again! Perhaps not that upsetting in itself, but if you've got some sort of anti-hair fetish...
  • 'How Death Comes' by the Mediaeval Baebes. A sort of spoken, sort of sung description of the process of death. Goes from scary whispering to shockingly loud.
  • This probably doesn't count as "music" per-se, but nevertheless: every K.K. Slider song at once. Also available in reversed form. We assure you, your first reaction will be to close the window as fast as possible, but to get the full experience you really must watch the whole thing.
  • John Zorn's Naked City. The songs shift from smooth jazz to grindcore to death metal shredding back to jazz and then all over again within the span of seconds. The entirety of it is punctuated with Yamaoka Eye making the most terrifying noises he possibly can with his mouth.
  • Two words: "Death Ambient". I'll let the Encyclopedia of Electronic Music speak for me.

 "This is scary, horror Dark Ambient, with death ambiences, i.e. graveyards, crypts, tombs, catacombs, haunted houses, dungeons, voices of the dead. Low atmospheric sounds with death-related samples."

    • Here's an example. Alternatively, check out the composition by Endura called "The Left Hand of the Dead" from the album "Black Eden" for a perfect example.
  • The entirety of steampunk band The Clockwork Quartet's song "The Doctor's Wife." It combines an Apocalyptic Log, a Fate Worse Than Death and a man who can't let go of his love. The only way to appreciate the horror is to listen to their song (which is free for download or streaming here), but the last stanza of the song goes like this:

 Tuesday the 18th of July

My latest apparatus is the only thing that's keeping her alive.

I had to stop her heart.

The mechanical replacement will ensure the other organs can survive.

Her body is destroyed.

But what nature has neglected, the fruit of modern science shall provide!

And I've broken every code of practice.

But for my love, I'd shift the planet's axis.

She'll return to me, when she's been repaired.

She'll live again!

  • Margot & the Nuclear So and So's - The Shivers (I Got 'Em). "Evelyn, your spine cracks like a wineglass..."
  • L'une Ou L'Autre De Nos Failes by Tribe of Circle.
  • Napoleon XIV's They're coming to take me away, ha-ha is bad enough as it is. Try listening to it backwards.
  • Brian Dewan wrote a song from the point of view of someone undergoing brain surgery. The idea behind the song is people tend to be awake during brain surgery and poking different parts of the brain causes different thoughts and emotions. The song starts out almost funny, with renditions of Happy Birthday and Yankee Doodle mixed in with random thoughts. Then he starts crowing like a rooster and crying "I want my oxygen mask!" The song descends further and further, and ends with him calling "Mommy?" over and over and over until the listener is curled up in fetal position trying to figure out what they did to deserve this level of Hell.
  • On the first album by Voltaire, 'The Devil's Bris' when he's not being funny he often gets seriously disturbing. The album opens with a song about a jealous ex-lover fantasizing about chopping his ex's new boyfriend into bits and mailing the bits across the globe. Another song is from the point of view of a paranoid schizophrenic who was molested as a child, having kidnapped a girl he intends to eventually murder.
    • Speaking of Voltaire, 'That Man Upstairs' isn't that scary on its own, but the chorus of "Please kill that man upstairs" is an Ear Worm. This can be highly unnerving if you're trying to sleep and your bedroom is one floor down from that of your father, boyfriend, or some other man you care about.
  • Propergol is no stranger to scary music. His album Ground Proximity Warning System, for example, contains sound clips of distress calls from air crafts played over a droning background.
  • Three words: BESSIE. FUCKING. BOBTAIL. Just listen to it; there's a couple versions on YouTube. It's absolutely terrifying.
  • Loch Lomond songs are usually unsettling, but there's just something a little too weird about "Song in 3/4".
  • If you can find Lemon Demon's song "Elsewhere," listen to it at your own risk. The lyrics aren't all that creepy, but the background instrumentals? They conjure images of evil clowns. Once you're done with that, find the Lemon Demon song "Sick Puppy," which is in the same vein but not quite as shiver-inducing.
  • Definitely a Your Mileage May Vary song for people, but this song by Idina Menzel.

 Like a prima ballerina

I tip toe, tip toe around you constantly

I hear the water running

Will it wash your tears or leak through the ceiling?

Make my way up a spiral staircase

Hope to God you had a good day

  • The Deadfly Ensemble song, "Horse on the Moor" is definitely this. It begins with the narration of how the "Wife" character rose from her grave, desperate for her husband and declaring that she loves him still. The song itself is about the husband cramming her wife's tomb with several things she enjoyed (such as a horse's head because "his love liked to ride", or one of the maids to "help her under there"). How does it get worse? Easy - the wife doesn't rise back from the dead at all, she was buried alive (as revealed in the final verse).
  • This song, Believing, by Bang on a Can All Stars and Julia Wolfe (I couldn't find the song anywhere outside of Rock Band, so that's all I could use). Aside from being a very hard song to play on any instrument except vocals, it sounds quite ominous, especially near the end.
  • A lot of noise music qualifies. There are quite a few who consider it to be Crowning Music of Awesome, but accept that this probably isn't a majority opinion when it comes to the likes of Sutcliffe Jugend (who were contemporaries of the below mentioned Whitehouse), Slogun or Merzbow. If HONF had its own genre of music, this could be a serious contender for the title.
    • Or Stalaggh. Dear god. Take this already rather terrifying genre of music, then have shrieking and crying mental patients doing the vocals.
    • Dominic Fernow, alias Prurient, whose musical output is at once incredibly diverse (these are all the same guy) and almost uniformly disturbing.
    • Overlapping with (and to some extent predicating) the aforementioned genre of death ambient is the Swedish group Brighter Death Now, whose work is basically what happens when a band decides to frame their entire ethos around taking the "Drone of Dread" into the most miserable place possible.
  • In Germany Before the War is about a murderer, from the POV of one of his dead victims (and the melody is creepy enough on it's own).
  • Emilie Autumn. Songs that deserve mention for their lyrics include Gothic Lolita, I Want my Innocence Back, and I Know Where You Sleep, but pretty much everything she has ever recorded is at least moderately creepy. And then there's that heartbeat-like sound that keeps showing up...
    • 306 is this defined, from it's purely hell sent instrumental to it's immensely graphic lyrics and how she just stops singing and lets the music terrify you more. It's designed to horrify you and gets it's message across very well.

 Now I'm freedom unbound

Cut the laces of life

The pistol, The poison, The noose

Or the knife

I have chosen my instrument

And said no goodbyes

    • Don't forget Miss Lucy Had Some Leeches. The cheery way she sings it, like she's playing patty-cake make it disturbing. Doubly so, when you realize that this is not too far off from the truth.
  • The "Snowy Roads" theme from Twisted Metal: Black (One-Woman Wail plus Drone of Dread), and the rest of the dark ambience music.
  • Whitehouse. Their music was more or less designed to be difficult to listen to, with strong transgressive elements and atonal, sometimes outright painful elements. Lyrical themes included murder, prostitution, sexual sadism, and extreme misogyny. Memorable works include "Just Like A Cunt," (A.K.A. "A Cunt Like You") "Rapeday," and "Baby," a piece of tape music which sounds remarkably like a small child being drowned in a bathtub.
  • Mindless Self Indulgence's "Panty Shot":

Five year old pantyshot, can't complain/I didn't even touch her so I can't be blamed/Five year old pantyshot in my brain/My life has meaning when she spreads her legs

    • The same thing happens in the first two lines of "Wrong Way" by Sublime, which states that the prostitute the narrator spends the night with was fourteen. fucking. years. old.
        • The sad thing is, it's scary because it's true. There are a staggering amount of girls under the age of 18 who prostitute themselves. Some as young as eleven years old. They run away, they're kidnapped, they're drugged, and it's one of the most frightening things to imagine. And very effectively reaches people when they hear it.
    • "The Childcatcher" by Lush is rather about the same concept.
    • "Don't Stand so Close to Me", by The Police, also runs along those lines. Though the girl is almost an adult, the taboo of a teacher-student relationship sparks creepy feelings, and if you're a teacher, it would probably creep you out how relentless the girl is, waiting in the rain at the bus stop so he'll pick her up. How the temptation and frustration are "so bad it makes him cry" and his coworkers harass him "the accusations fly" . On the other side of the coin, the girl is tormented by her jealous friends and cruel classmates. It makes this more than a taboo, it's also a nightmare for both of the people involved.
    • Evelyn Evelyn built about half their self-titled album on this theme, notably "Sandy Fishnets". Those songs which aren't about this topic are creepy anyway, for example "Tragic Events of September 1" in which the girls' birth leads to the death of their parents, the doctor, and a passing cop, and "Evelyn Evelyn" shows how little fun it is being part of a Multiple Head Case.
  • Sufjan Stevens is one creepy cookie. Filled with whispering vocals and exotic, ululating instruments, his music is eerie at the best of times, and when he wants to, it's downright disturbing. Year of the Sheep, for example, consists of soft chorale, gentle strings, electronic effects, and, oh yeah, what sounds like backmasking of a screaming sheep. Not one you want your Winamp shuffling up late at night, or even on a vaguely overcast morning.
    • "In the tower above the earth..."
    • What? This? Come on, it's quieter and more peaceful than 3/4 ambients in any big collection.
    • Are you guys forgetting his song "John Wayne Gacy Junior"? It's about the murderer of the same name who: a) Dressed up like a clown, b) raped little boys while dressed as a clown, and c) proceeded to murder those little boys after they were raped.
      • What's worse is the final line of the song, which strongly insinuates that the narrator is also a serial murderer, or at the very least a potential one.
  • The band Creature Feature has some pretty damn disturbing songs, full of murder and blood and death and other unpleasant things.
  • The song Happy Colored Marbles by Ween qualifies with flying colors. See here.
    • Happy Colored Marbles is downright...well, happy when compared to Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down), which takes place from the perspective of a small child suffering from the titular disease, undergoing a horrifically painful lumbar puncture (and not the first one, either), and pleading with his/her mother to not let him/her die. If the distorted child-voice backed by the deep synth mimic doesn't get you, the agonized screaming over the guitar solo will.
  • The Eels. Susan's House. Hearing the speaker calmly talk about the corpse of a teen boy being stripped and put in a body bag with somewhat-relaxing music played in the background...you know, it's just a tiny bit unsettling.
  • Horse The Band's videos and lyrics are really terrifying. Especially with the creepy angry face howling at a little pink bunny and beating it around the ears with a massive jack-hammer, and the creepy lyrics:

  "Roaring with whispers, to the tiny bunnies: SQUISH those fucking bunnies!(x2) Twitching bleeding screaming, bring the hammer down! Screaming bunnies, bleeding bloody bunnies, smeared across the ground"

  • Jason Crumer. Being a very good noise artist, his album Ottoman Black generally qualifies, but when he drops the harsh static on the track "Where Were You?" and replaces it with abstract noises in the background that could easily be gunshots or other violence, and has the sounds of a man gasping, groaning and gurgling quietly in pain in the foreground... yeah...
  • Mew hit this quite a bit. Their lead singer and lyricist, Jonas Bjerre, has commented that he's draws much inspiration from his nightmares, which are allegedly very frequent. Said nightmares are also placed squarely into their music videos and the background visuals in their live show - a common motif is of stiffly, stutteringly animated people with animal heads (either alive or skulls) playing instruments. They have an entire album devoted to fear. Although he's fluent, English isn't his first language despite singing in it, resulting in him crafting some particularly odd and unsettling imagery. But to me, the pinnacle of the fuel comes not from an album, but from a b-side - "Succubus".
  • World's End Girlfriend - We are the Massacre. Just ignore that video, and listen to the nice pretty classical music, and the gradually fading in screams of horror, crying, and disturbing whispers. It all stays below the volume of the music, making it even creepier somehow.
  • Project86: The song "Me Against Me" describes a nightmare in which the speaker is fighting someone, then strangles him, only to realize the enemy is identical to himself. He then wakes up dead, having literally strangled himself to death while dreaming.
  • At The Drive-In's songs are cryptic and not easily understood, but some qualify regardless of whether one understands the lyrics or not. "Enfilade" is a perfect example, especially with the chilling ransom call opening. "Invalid Litter Dept." is similarly haunting, especially since it's about a series of migrant worker murders in the band's hometown of El Paso, Texas.
  • Patrick Wolf, The Childcatcher. Insanely creepy, and that sound...
  • William Control's 'Razor's Edge'. It seems like a normal, gothy, above-average alternative rock song until about halfway through you get this delightful little tirade, spoken rather than sung:

 The smoke clears and in whispering waves of self-mutilation I see the dark sky fall to pieces. The world is sometimes too heavy to breathe and the dead surround me like an ocean. I can't recognize the reflection looking back through the mirror; as if some sort of silent stranger with mean eyes and deadly stare, he sees everything, and why? Then with one last glimmer, defiant, I'm transformed into a monsterous giant with no heart, no limbs, no desire. This is not a suicide letter. I just want to get a real close, look at Death, touch his matted hair as I pass him by.

    • Add to this the fact that his voice gets more and more raspy until he's saying the last few words in what can only be described as a demonic snarl, and that about two seconds later the vocals kick in again, and it's him screaming "'YOU SLASH MY HEART ON THE RAZOR'S EDGE.'" * shudders*
  • The Wedding by Annie (not that one). The repeating uncanny voices in it can be quite frightening when your by yourself.
  • Creature Feature's "The Greatest Show Unearthed". Circus of Fear, background music that sounds like the most demonic merry-go-round ever imagined, and the random screaming. Plus, it's a totally awesome song. Freaky as fuck, but awesome.
  • "Sweden" by the Divine Comedy. A bizarre ode to Sweden, with a chorus of demonic voices that wont be used on Swedish holiday ads any time soon.
    • The white supremacist vibe of the lyrics ("tall and strong and blond and blue-eyed, pure and healthy, very wealthy") suggests the creepy whispers, ominous chorus and overdramatic villainous music are there to draw attention to the creepy fixation some foreigners have with Scandinavia in general. If asked, most examples of these people talk about Sweden's economy, the beautiful natural wonders and such, but there's a racial subtext there often: "I would like to live in Sweden, please don't ask me why. For if I were to give a reason, it would be a lie", is immediately followed by the other quote above. Also the stereotypes about Sweden are supposed to be positive, but they almost make it sound like a bland proto-fascist utopia.
  • Laurie Anderson has some music that can qualify, much of it on her live album Home of the Brave. Most notably nightmarish are "Late Show" (based on an unsettling sample of William S. Burroughs' voice) and this album's rendition of "Sharkey's Night." Anderson uses her "big voice" (electronically pitched down) for this and it ends with a sound horrifyingly like some kind of alarm to warn people of an impending nuclear holocaust.
  • Try listening to Circus Contraption's Toy Shop Armagedon at night in the dark without getting the chills and/or closing the window. Especially when it gets to the middle of the song, and things start to get even more...distorted.
  • Three words: Fire. On. High. Who knew The Electric Light Orchestra could be so...creepy?
  • Tin Hat Trio's version of "Daisy Bell". Forget HAL 9000. This version made me want to scream "RUN, DAISY, RUN! He's gonna lock you in the basement and let you ring a bell as a reward for... something icky!" It's totally stalkeriffic.
  • Slow Motion People by Alias.
  • The British comedy medical duo, Amateur Transplants have several songs like this. Most notably Consultants:

 I'm pushing 83 and the trust are telling me to retire

I never take a history or consent

My post-op survival rate should be higher

In fact it's only 6 per cent

We work at Denmark Hill for the terminally ill patients

But they're relatively well when they arrive

Cos I invent my own operations

And I'm the only one who leaves theatre alive

 During this two children went into the woods

They had a tea party under rose trees

An invitation from the castle for them was

The trump card of hearts

The fourth ALICE was two siblings

Their curiosity in the Wonderland

Going through many different doors

Coming not too long ago in a yellow boat

The stubborn big sister

And smart little brother

Though they were the closest to ALICE'S WONDERLAND

They were never woken from their deep dreaming

Forever they wandered in the Wonderland.

  • The Vocaloid Miku Hatsune sings a song called Rotten Girl, Grotesque Romance (Stalker) which TERRIFIES me to death, because his ex was very similar to the girl described. It's basically about a very jealous stalker girl, who realizes her boyfriend is cheating and burns his house down. That, coupled with the audio, piano, and random screeches in the music, makes all the more horrifying. It get's scarier when you listen to the Rockleetist version, where you can actually understand it. Oh, and don't forget the picture of Miku in the video. And the sound of her cutting off a kitten's head to give to her boyfriend.
  • The Surreal Horror song "Wild Pack of Family Dogs", by Modest Mouse, is both this and Lyrical Dissonance.
  • "The Ones" by Aesthetic Perfection. Whatever you do, DON'T LOOK IT UP, I'M BEGGING YOU!

 We are the ones you should be fearing,

Come in the night and take your teeth away,

Now sew up your mouth and go to sleep because

We'll be there soon to break

Your heart and spite your face.

The bullet in the blood,

Came from those you love,

The bullet in the blood

Came from those you trust

  • Velvet Underground's "Heroin" was creepy enough because all it's about is a heroin addict.

'Cause it makes me feel like I'm a man

When I put a spike into my vein

And I tell things aren't quite the same

  • Experiment No. 6 by Lemon Jelly. Urgh.
  • Backwards Music Station: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg F 9 Zl I_R-8
  • [3] by dark ambient / minimalist composer Oöphoi. Close your eyes and listen with headphones. Pleasant dreams....
  • [4] by dark ambient composer Robert Christopher -- a nightmarish musical work of art, intensified with a relentless near-infrasound drone and what can only be described as the distant tortured ululations of faceless night-gaunts. Beautiful and/or terrifying (YMMV)!
  • Anything Owl-Eye does. Jesus christ... the dolls...
  • There's an Evanescence song called "Even In Death". At first, nice pretty song. Upon paying attention to the lyrics, I realized that the song is about someone who believes their lover is somehow still alive, digs them out of their grave and keeps them.
    • A lot of Evanescence songs are creepy. "Haunted" has a story attached about a little girl who goes into an abandoned house and is captured to kill the evil thing that lives inside. Said evil mindrapes her every night, and its implied she has no reason to live anymore but to kill the evil. Who is also her only friend. Pretty disturbing.
    • And of course there's always Snow White Queen, with slightly distorted vocals singing about someone being raped. Coming from both the rapist and the victim's points of view...
    • "Going Under" features nightmare faces done by the ladies doing Amy Lee's makeup and hair and the audience. As well as the Nightmare Face at the end.
  • Gotye's "Don't Worry, We'll Be Watching" which is a good source of Paranoia Fuel and the video that goes with the song is just terrifying. It's eerily calm and contains strange looking people who look like they're part of a cult with white eyes that always watch you even in the black.
  • John Darnielle has a gift for light, delicate horror. For example, Marduk T-Shirt Men's Room Incident. Stay weightless, formless, blameless, nameless...
    • Or Ezekiel 7 And The Permanent Efficacy Of Grace, which is canonically about someone being tortured, possibly to death.

Notes

  1. (which is, in itself, pretty creepy: "You're a selfish little whore, I'm the selfish little whore/if I had my way I'd crush your face in the door/THIS IS NO BEGINNING, THIS IS THE FINAL CUT...open up/THIS IS NO BEGINNING, THIS IS THE FINAL CUT...oh, I'm in love" - It's a Dream Sequence where a character imagines himself being taken to a guillotine and killed)
  2. possibly of the child sort, given that the widow addresses him as "urchin"
  3. He wanted an excuse to work under his real name.
  4. Oh, I don't like the railroad man, no I don't like the railroad man, if I'm a railroad man, then I'd kill you while I can and drink up your blood like wine.
  5. "Martha, sweetie, wear that new nightgown your father bought for you!" "Ilse! Story time!"
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