REVIEW: Electric Wizard “A Time To Die”/Thimble Island Dark Pumpkin

THE ALBUM: Electric Wizard A Time To Die 2014 Spinefarm Records

https://fbexternal-a.akamaihd.net/safe_image.php?d=AQC-bQILZgT2uYHh&w=484&h=253&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net%2Fhphotos-ak-xfa1%2Ft31.0-8%2Fq71%2Fs720x720%2F10497872_739943356043947_7998228791961908738_o.jpg&cfs=1&sx=0&sy=0&sw=720&sh=376

It has been nearly 5 years since Electric Wizard’s last album. I feel like there have been random days where I just kept checking in on the Internet to make sure I hadn’t missed any news about it. But now it’s 2014 and it’s Time To Die. I feel like the years between records aren’t a bad thing. Electric Wizard’s latest is comparable to the erupting of a dormant volcano. We have been expecting it, without knowing when or how it will awaken. The time has come.

The record starts off with the 10+ minute burner “Incense For The Damned”. The first 30 seconds consist of the sound of trickling water, with an organ in the background, seeming to signify an (unholy) baptism. I would recommend burning some nag champa incense or candles before putting down the needle on the record.

“We wanna get high before we die” is the chant at the end of the song, and while I won’t argue that the music is totally fitting as a soundtrack for illicit activities, it’s also music that will figuratively get you high. Just sit back in a comfortable seat and let the fuzzed out guitars transport you into a different world.

The interplay between guitarists Liz Buckingham and Jus Oborn is incredibly effective. Especially on two of my avorite album tracks, “Lucifer’s Slaves” and “Funeral Of Your Mind”. The latter also features a great showcase of Oborn’s vocals. They sound a bit like they are echoing down a hallway, set slightly back in the mix while still remaining prominent. Halfway through the song the vocal effects change, and the low end and very high frequencies sound like they were slashed with a Viking sword, leaving only the mids. It gives the effect that Jus Osborn is singing to you through a telephone.

“SadioWitch” is the first single off the album. The video has “Clandestinely filmed scenes of Luciferian depravity”, as Oborn calls it. It is worth checking out, although probably not safe for work, depending on where you work. If you find drugs, witchcraft, torture, or Iceland offensive, then yes, possibly NSWF. EDIT: In fact, I am guessing a lot of people thought that, because I can no longer find a working link to the video anywhere.

“I Am Nothing” sounds like the thunderstorm at the end of the universe. I guess that is the second nature-related comment I’ve made about this album here. However, simply calling it “sludge” does not do the band justice. I think that this record is more fittingly compared to a natural phenomenon or disaster than a slew of other bands that have similar sunds. I found this album difficult to review because I love it, yet the things that I love most about it are hard to describe in musical terms. All I can say is that it is the perfect soundtrack for Halloween parties, black masses, fighting Cthulhu, and carving ‘Slayer’ into your forearm before returning to work.

I love “Saturn Dethroned” before listening to it, because I love astronomy references, especially in metal songs. I also appreciate mellotron in metal songs, and there just happens to be one in the beginning of this song, presenting it with an eerie vibe. It’s an instrumental album closer to remind you that there might be another 5 years before the next album, but it will be completely worth it.

THE BEER:

Find Our Beers

Pumpkin beer is everywhere. Some are great, and others are just okay. Thimble Island Brewing’s Dark Pumpkin porter is no Warlock, but it’s a bit easier on the liver with 5% ABV and the flavors are subtle and less of a sensory shock. It’s slightly sweet, but not anywhere near saccharine. There is roastiness makes me recall the taste of pumpkin seeds that were baked in the oven slightly too long. It pours a deep espresso color, that in the light almost shines an orange hue. I poured this on draft and the head was cream-colored, with a slight fluff that disappeared quickly. Unlike other pumpkin beers where I tend to maintain a “one and done” attitude, the Dark Pumpkin can go for a few more without being overwhelming.

https://i1.wp.com/www.metalinsider.net/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/ElectricWizard20131.jpg

THE PAIRING: Thimble Island proves that not everything involving pumpkin spice has to be white girls in yoga pants. On a similar note, Electric Wizard proves that even the dankest of doom metal can have interesting elements that aren’t just heavy. But, in the words of Lavar Burton, you don’t have to take my word for it. Listen to the album, and while you listen, take a look at this great interview they did in 2005 that I actually just read for the first time. It’s pure gold. Just like this record should be.

Advertisements

Tin Bridge Brewing Bridges the Gap Between Beer and Music

A few months ago, I wrote about Within The Ruins’ guitarist Joe Cocchi’s brewery, Tin Bridge Brewing. I recently got an opportunity to chat one on one with Joe, and he was able to give me a little more background on the brewery, and balancing the brewing and being in a metal band.

Joe started out as a homebrewer, and talking to homebrewers-turned-owners always gives me hope that my own craft can become something larger than boiling water in my kitchen. The brewery got its name from a bridge where Joe used to hang out with his friends growing up in western Massachusetts. Which is fitting, since now Joe is hanging out with his friends and making beer. The brews of Tin Bridge are described as “high gravity”, and Joe said that many of them are stouts and porters with some really interesting ingredients. Barrel-aging is becoming so prevalent lately, and Tin Bridge recently picked up a used bourbon barrel from Woodinville Whiskey Company, which was also used to age maple syrup. They have plans to put a vanilla porter inside it, which is something I would love to try.

Band and breweries are two different animals, although they do have a few basics in common. Joe seems to have a good grasp on the balance of both. His partners at the brewery, which includes family and close friends, keeps a strong hold on things while he is on tour or recording with the band.

https://i0.wp.com/www.metalinsider.net/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/tinbridge.jpg

With so many craft breweries popping up, packaging is more meaningful than ever, and really helps brand a brewery and catch people’s eyes. Joe said he that the labels on their bottles may reflect their metal background and possibly be similar to the artwork on Within The Ruins’ album covers. The band has had some really great artwork, so seeing that tied into a beer label would be pretty awesome.

https://i0.wp.com/parablevisions.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/10446071_10152215185223285_3314821140175851827_o-1024x1024.jpg

What I thought was really interesting that Joe mentioned was the prospect of Internet distribution for their beers. Having beer at the merch table while on tour isn’t a possibility. However, distributing it online would be a great way to bridge fans of the brewery and fans of the band. Not to mention attracting beer lovers from across the country and around the world.

Tin Bridge Brewing is open, but operates as a production space right now. So while there is no tasting room yet, the guys certainly welcome visitors who want to check out the brewing in progress and taste the finished project on site. Check out their Facebook for updates on what’s getting brewed! As for Within the Ruins, they will be on tour with Born of Osiris this month, which is really exciting. CT folks can catch them on Halloween at the Webster Theater in Hartford.

REVIEW: Opeth “Pale Communion”/Lost Abbey Deliverance

My reviews have been few lately, but not for lack of material. I was really excited about this record when it came out, and wanted to give it the proper listening it deserved before writing about it. and of course, it definitely needed the beer pairing it deserved.

THE RECORD: Opeth Pale Communion 2014 Roadrunner Records

I think that I like Opeth more and more with each record they make. At least, I feel that I appreciate them more. Every choice they make in writing and recording and producing just seems like a good one to me. Opeth is continuing to exemplify everything that I want progressive rock to be right now.

Organs on a record is usually a selling point for me. The first track “Eternal Rains Will Come” really just gets down to business. And makes me think that there had better be plenty of awesome organs on this record. It really sets the stage for what to expect for the rest of the album.

Mikael Åkerfeldt mentioned in an interview that this would be a more melodic record. The vocals do get heavier on songs such as “Moon Above, Sun Below”, but they are not growling, death metal vocals. They are dark in a different, more beautiful way. Heritage, their previous release, began to move away from the death growls of albums past, and Pale Communion seems to bring that journey to a new level. There are vocal effects that create a sound reminiscent of a Gregorian chant taking place inside a massive cathedral.

“Goblin” is entirely instrumental, and gives the listener a chance to appreciate each instrument as it stands out. We can all thank Steven Wilson for that- he mixed this record and has done some really amazing work. My first experience with him was through his band Porcupine Tree, whom I love. Wilson is no stranger to Opeth record production; he produced Blackwater Park, Deliverance, and Damnation. On Pale Communion, Wilson is meticulous to the craft. He uses the finest tooth comb over each of the tracks. After so many years of working together on different projects, Steven Wilson has the production process of an Opeth recording down to a science that they have perfected on Pale Communion.

Folk metal is certainly a genre, but I do not often hear Opeth’s music described as such. However, the song “River” has a really interesting folk element to it. Driven mostly by an acoustic guitar and harmonies, it fosters my imagination that I am walking around a Swedish fjord in springtime. It’s serene for the most part, but about half way through the song the organ returns and introduces a gorgeous electric guitar riff. That is incidentally how I imagine Scandinavian countries; ethereal for the most part, but also full of heavy metal bands.

 

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/44/Opeth_Pale_Communion_album_artwork.jpg

I include a larger image of the cover art so that you can see the detail in it. It reminds me of an exhibit in a museum. Opeth’s music truly is a work of art, and seeing it portrayed as visual art is fitting. Travis Smith, who has done cover art for the likes of Death and King Diamond, designed the cover for Pale Communion. The inscriptions in Latin translate to quotes that really stuck with me, and are from a Swedish statesman, a Roman/North African playwright, and a Roman poet respectively.

“Don’t you know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?”

“In these days friends are won through flattery, the truth gives birth to hate.”

“He grieves truly who grieves without a witness.”

I am going to end on those, because I feel like between those quotes and the record itself, long conversations are destined to happen. All you need is a beer or two…

THE BEER: Deliverance- Lost Abbey- San Marcos, CA

I had this beer during my trip to San Diego last month, which was around the time that this record was released. What a gorgeous ale. There are so many “epic” beers coming out and I usually scoff at them or quote this internet meme. But I just tried this beer and loved it. Yes, it is ridiculous. It is a blend of bourbon-barrel aged Serpent’s Stout and brandy-barrel aged Angel’s Share. It’s heaven and hell that you can pour into a snifter and consume. It definitely tastes boozy, but not in an offensive way. I tried this during one of the events at the Beer Bloggers’ Conference, and I remember I really just wanted to stop whatever else was coming next to take more time to talk about this amazing beer. It tastes like a chocolate covered fig that someone let sit in a cabinet for a few years. I like the idea of blending beers too, and witnessing the ways that flavors and ingredients work together. I’m sure it does not always work out so deliciously, but I am glad that it has for this Lost Abbey offering.

THE PAIRING:

Opeth has an album called Deliverance that was released in 2002, but I actually wasn’t thinking of that when I chose this beer to pair. I thought Deliverance the beer was dark and beautiful, much like Pale Communion. I also liked the religious undertones to both the record and the brewery. I believe that 12 years of attending Catholic school has a direct relationship with my love of metal and beer, but that’s just me. Honestly, this is a record that you really need to sit down and listen to on a quality set of speakers with a delicious beer in proper glassware at the right temperature. Yes, both the beer and the album are tasty at their core, no matter what. But it is worth the extra effort to consume both of them carefully, and with an eye for all of the details.

Triple threat: Along with record, Tombs launches beer, coffee

Occasionally my penchant for beer and metal join forces and I write for Metal Insider.

https://i2.wp.com/www.metalinsider.net/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/tombs.jpg

Lots of bands have their own beer, or even make their own beer, as we saw last week from Within The Ruins. But launching both a beer AND a coffee brand? Expect nothing less from Brooklyn’s Tombs. They just released their new album, Savage Gold, and are launching a new beer this week with Ardmore, PA brewery Tired Hands.

Read the full article here.

REVIEW: Mastodon Once More ‘Round The Sun/Capt. Lawrence Sleepytime Saison

THE RECORD: Mastodon- Once More ‘Round The Sun– Reprise 2014

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.wmgecom.com/production/media/catalog/product/cache/292/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/m/a/mastodon-cover.jpg

The sixth studio album from Georgia’s Mastodon is out! The first track warns the listener to “Tread Lightly”, and it does start off with a quiet string section. But this is only a warning shot, to prepare the listener for the monsters that are about to come out for the next 54 minutes.

There are definitely a lot of progressive rock elements to this one. I know a lot of metal heads looking for something harder may get disappointed by this, but as someone whose favorite band is Rush, I totally dig it. It’s especially evident in songs such as “Chimes At Midnight” and “Aunt Lisa” with their dizzing, swirling guitar progressions. The latter actually harkens to the Ramones, with gang vocals (from the Coathangers and Gary Lindsey) shouting “Hey ho, let’s fucking go”. Some might consider these influences to be all over the place, but for me, it brings together all my favorite rock genres in an original way.

“Asleep In The Deep” brings in more guests. Valient Himself of Valient Thorr provides backup vocals, and synthesizers from Ikey Owens, who is known for his work with The Mars Volta and At The Drive-In.

“Halloween” isn’t a Misfits cover but a Mastodon-Original guitar-riff driven ride with death on a “moon-soaked night”. They had me at the line, “I couldn’t tame that beast with a handful of meat”.

“Diamond In The Witch House” ends the record on a 7 minute sludge fest. Fitting, considering it features guest vocals from Neurosis’ Scott Kelly.

The music video for the first single “High Road” is incredibly delightful. It can accurately be described as a LARP Karate Kid. There are fake swords, badass grandparents, and (spoiler alert) bullies getting their butts kicked. It makes me really happy to watch.

 

THE BEER: Sleepytime Saison- Captain Lawrence Brewery, Elmsford, NY

Don’t be fooled by the name; you definitely do not want to sleep on this beer. Brewed with chamomile, it has a touch of sweetness, but a lot of nice roasted malt flavor. Pours dark in color with a creamy head.

According to the website, it is a pilot batch. Not sure if this means it could be a one-off brew, or if they are still working on it. Regardless, it’s a tasty beer that I hope to see more often!

THE PAIRING: I just tried this beer at the brewery, and I loved it. Saisons are really growing on me because there are so many different ones, and like beer in general, I just had to try a lot of them until I found a few that I enjoyed. I guess you could say the same for myself and metal, as well. Sure, I grew up with the classics and bands that I just loved immediately, like Maiden, Motorhead, and Type O Negative. However, there was a good span of time where I was not digging metal as much as I am now. Mastodon helped to show me that there was awesomeness to be found, with the epic concept album of Leviathan really getting me following them.

https://i2.wp.com/www.revolvermag.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Mastodon2013.jpg

I think that Once More ‘Round The Sun can do for non-metal fans today what beers like Sleepytime did for me for saisons. The album is listenable, the beer is drinkable. The album works as both a singular work in itself as well as a collection of single-worthy songs. Similarly, this saison works as something dark and malty to relax at the end of a work day, or as a nearly-session beer for an evening at a metal show.

Beer On The Gwar-bie: 5th Annual Gwar-B-Q Heats Up

As many of my reviews will show, I am a big fan of metal. It goes without saying that I love beer. I also enjoy barbeque. Lucky for me, there is an event coming this August that combines that sweet trifecta, and it is called GWAR B Q.

This year’s celebration is somewhat bittersweet. Gwar’s frontman David Brockie passed away in March. I myself wondered if the Fifth Annual Gwar B-Q would take place at all without the fearless leader. However, the show will still go on, and concert-goers will have the opportunity to party even harder in Oderus’ honor.

https://i0.wp.com/gwarbq.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/gwarbq2014.png

GWAR B-Q 2014 takes place on Saturday, August 16 at Hadad’s Lake in Richmond, VA. A public memorial will also be held for Brockie the day before.

This year’s lineup features BODY COUNT (Ice-T’s metal band!), Goatwhore, Connecticut’s own Hatebreed, the Meatmen, Revocation, and more. Check out the full lineup here. It’s recently been announced that Gwar will indeed be performing. The lead singer is up in the air right now, although rumors seem to suggest that Beefcake the Mighty will take up those reins.

https://i2.wp.com/gunshyassassin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Screen-shot-2013-07-09-at-6.21.39-PM.png

As you may already know, Gwar has their own beer. According to their commercial above, the Gwar brew will be flowing copiously on August 16.

More awesome things? Well Hadad’s Lake is a waterpark, which has everything you would expect including a BLOB. A music festival at a waterpark is pretty much a summer dream- I can’t wait to see the red/brown water after everyone getting doused with Gwar Guts dives in. You can also dry off in the skate park, or not- and participate in the annual Spew-O-Lympics. Last year’s events included something called “Sperm and Slide and Die” and winners are determined by “obviously drunk judges”.

The barbeque is also sponsored by Slave Pit, Inc. as well as Ring Dog Rescue, which suggests that there may or may not be adoptable doggies there. Either way, I think it’s great that the sponsors are the group of artists and musicians that Gwar started from, and PUPPIES.

https://i0.wp.com/richmondpetlovers.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/ringdogrescue.jpg

Tickets go onsale Friday June 6 on the Gwar B-Q website, with 3 price levels. $45 is the single ticket, which is honestly a pretty good deal for an all day concert. $65 gets you a ticket and the official Gwar B-Q 2014 T-shirt. I am always kind of surprised that the shirts are black, because you can’t see the fake blood stains. If you are feeling like a serious baller, there are also VIP tickets for $150 which get you into the show with a shirt, as well as access to the official pre-party and after (Gwafter?) party. You also get a meet and greet with Gwar, Ice T, Hatebreed, and Bam Margera. Seriously, it’s kind of worth it just in case there’s a possibility of seeing all those guys in the same room and maybe even getting photo evidence.

So get your meat on- make Oderus Urungus in that bloody pit of horror in the sky proud, and get your tickets to the 5th Annual Gwar-B-Q when they go onsale June 6!

https://i1.wp.com/gwarbq.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/gwarbqghoul.png

 

Last Minute Thrash: Scott Ian Comes to CT!

In probably one of the best last-minute announcements I could imagine, last night I got word that Anthrax’s Scott Ian will be bringing his Speaking Words North America tour to the ballroom at the Outer Space in Hamden, CT this Friday.

I’m in love with the spoken word narratives from people like Henry Rollins because musicians of their ilk have so many great stories to tell from their experience in the music industry. Unfortunately I never got to see Black Flag before I saw Henry’s spoken word. So for this Friday’s show with Scott Ian, I’m especially looking forward to seeing one of the men behind the band that I’ve seen thrash live completely solo, relying only on his prose to convey his stories.

https://i1.wp.com/anthrax.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/anthraxwmscott2.jpg

The review of his Pittsburgh show is stellar- check it out here. and don’t touch his beard, but check him out at the Outer Space this Friday, March 7. Tickets are available at the door or online here. If you’re not in CT, or not around this Friday, you can try and check out one of the other remaining dates on the tour.

REVIEW: Skeletonwitch “Serpents Unleashed”/Brooklyn Brewery Fire and Ice

THE RECORD: Skeletonwitch Serpents Unleashed Prosthetic Records 2013

https://i1.wp.com/metalinjection.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Skeletonwitch-Serpents-Unleashed.jpg

Skeletonwitch hasn’t needed to do much to become one of my favorite bands. Constantly touring and releasing new records, they’re always working hard and just seem to show up all the time with new stuff. Their latest album, Serpents Unleashed is out now on Prosthetic Records and continues their trend of putting out fantastic albums of thrash metal gold.

Serpents Unleashed is unrelenting from the beginning. They don’t start slow and elevate to a high level, they start off at the top from the beginning and don’t stop until the record is over. I think a lot of the energy on this one has to do with the aid of producer Kurt Ballou of Converge. The sound shows that he works really well with the band to maintain their sound and clean it up a bit. Polished? Maybe. Just so the guitar riffs are crystal clear to the ear though.

The guitar riffs are so amazing on this record. Check out “Blade On The Flesh, Blood On My Hands”, and “Burned From Bone”. So face-melting, and actually pretty catchy too. The mix is perfect in the way that it allows these to stand out.

I think that’s what’s awesome about Skeletonwitch. They put out great records that sound professional, but you know you can still see them and thrash the hell out at their live shows.

Okay, I guess it slows down a LITTLE on “More Cruel Than Weak”, the last track. It’s just so you can give your head a break from banging it though, and it brings you back to speed pretty quick.

I would be remiss not to name drop one more time- Baroness’ John Dyer Baizley, who did the stunning artwork for the cover. There aren’t really any bands that Baizley has done the art for that I don’t enjoy (that includes Flight Of The Conchords!). Serpents Unleashed is just another excellent piece from his portfolio.

The band itself doesn’t quit either. It seems like they are always touring, but the great thing about the ‘witch is that they mix it up with the bands they play with. I’ve seen them three times; with Kvelertak (ON A BOAT!), with Havok, and with Ghost. All those bands are pretty different from each other, but the crowd always loved them because they put on such a great show. I’m looking forward to catching them on tour in Spring 2014 with Amon Amarth!

THE BEER: Fire And Ice- Brooklyn Brewery- Brooklyn, NY

https://i1.wp.com/brooklynbrewery.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Fire-Ice-slide-640x360.png

The brewmaster’s reserve collection is hit or miss to me; I loved There Will Be Black, but Fiat Lux was just so so. Maybe they just need to give all their beers brutal, metal-sounding names and I’ll like them. Case in point, Fire and Ice. It’s a deliciously smoky porter. I often shoot for the sweeter side of the porter and stout spectrum, but sometimes a crisp, dry porter just hits the spot. Fire and Ice knocks it out of the park. Don’t be mislead by the style it says on the label of oatmeal porter. The ingredients do include rolled oats, but everything else, like the hop profile (Fuggle, Willamette, and East Kent Golding) makes this brew deliciously smoky with a touch of bitterness. At 7.2% ABV it’s right in the middle of the scale, which is nice to see in a sea of so many super-strong stouts and porters this time of year.

THE PAIRING:

I always feel inclined to pair metal albums with pretty dank beers. When you’re rocking out to an intense, heavy record, you need a beer of equal caliber to go along with it.


The description on the Brooklyn Brewery website sounds like it could fit in a Skeletonwitch song too:

When the world gives you darkness and Ice
We put a Fire into your glass and give you warmth and light

While the beer isn’t that accessible in stores and bars since it’s from the brewmaster’s reserve series, it’s super accessible, easy to drink, on the palate. Yes, it’s intense and big, but it’s surprisingly drinkable. Much like Skeletonwitch- their sound is in your face, but they are a blast to see live and so much fun to listen to.

Beersmith: Bending Metal Makes Functional Art

Although Now Beer This does a lot of beer and music pairings, there is always time to appreciate beer and AWESOME pairings. What does this mean? Well, last weekend it meant that I took part in a blacksmith class where I learned how to use a forge and make some really unique bottle openers. I also spoke to the owner about getting started as a blacksmith and some insight into teaching classes.

A Creative Evolution holds a variety of workshops to show people how to create metal works from scratch. I did the “Pop The Top” workshop, but there are some other really fun-looking ones on their website, to make a variety of functional pieces of art, from tools to firepits. Basically, some really fun things you can use while consuming some delicious craft beers and listening to great records, which is what this blog is all about.

It was definitely a very unique way to spend a morning. It is amazing how some of the simplest acts- such as hitting hot metal, can create some beautiful and functional objects. It is not as easy as it sounds, though. There are techniques to everything, and just the way you stand and hold a tool can make or a break an object. The tools themselves are numerous; sure, you’re mostly using a hammer or mallet, but the shape and size is what makes the difference between making a small bottle opener or a huge sculpture. Founder Erich Davis says, “I have always been the type of person who like to inspire people to see things a little differently…I like watching people light up when they do something new and challenging.” The workshop was definitely challenging, but a lot of fun in a very different and unique way.

Davis’ metal career began in college as a sculptor. He told me his love for working with metal stemmed from forging bronze and aluminum, and became inspired to build his own foundry. He says that showing people the ropes is a win-win situation; “I get to engage people on a personal level and offer them an opportunity to see things in a different light both through the act of making things the old fashioned way and through coaching and consulting people to be inspired to apply “the creative process” to other parts of their life and work”.

Davis says A Creative Evolution will be gearing up for classes in the new year, so that people can purchase them to give as gifts for the holidays. Check out the website here for more information on how to sign up for a workshop!

The Halloween Mix: Fall Beer and Music Pairings

So while I wait patiently for new records to fall in love with (I honestly have not been jazzed about any new releases enough to write a review in awhile), I’ll do something I love. Besides writing about beer, I love making mixes. While tapes and even CDs are starting to go away as formats, there still is something to be said about a collection of songs that mean something. These are my 5 favorite Halloween songs, paired with some of my favorite pumpkin or autumn beers. Enjoy!

“Black No. 1”- Type O Negative/Southern Tier Warlock

My number one pick for a Halloween song is the quintessential Type O track, “Black No. 1”. I love Type O Negative, and of course with all their references to Nosferatu and Goth culture, I have to rock out to them even harder around Halloween. “Black No. 1” is off their 1993 record Bloody Kisses. This album celebrates its 20 year anniversary this year, so what better time to dust it off and listen to it?

I’m pairing one of my favorite bands with one of my new favorite beers. I didn’t think Southern Tier could top the delicious Pumking, but they did with Warlock, a pumpkin stout that tastes like the darker, evil twin of that tasty pumpkin pie ale.

“Halloween”- the Misfits/Dogfish Head Punkin

Can’t have a Halloween mix without your old pal Glenn Danzig, right? “Halloween” was released as a 7-inch single on All Hallows’ Eve 1981, and later on the Legacy Of Brutality collection in 1985. Who doesn’t love thrashing around a good “bonfire burning bright”, with PUNKIN faces in the night? I wanted to pair the most punk rock track on this list with this totally punk rock pumpkin ale from Dogfish Head. It’s a brown ale, but with pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices, it’s a great seasonal drink. Despite the fact that it’s 7% ABV, it feels much light enough to finish in the short length of the average Misfits track.

“Dead Man’s Party”- Oingo Boingo

Like the Misfits and Type O, I’ll add another Halloween essential to the mix: Danny Elfman. His compositions from movies like Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas are as familiar as the films themselves around All Hallow’s Eve. Elfman fronted Oingo Boingo from 1972-1995, and the title track of 1985’s Dead Man’s Party is a favorite for all Halloween parties, whether you’re dead or alive.

I’ll pair this older favorite with a new beer that I love: 2Roads Brewing’s Roadsmary’s Baby. There are plenty of pumpkin beers out there, but this one stands out with its rum-barrel-aged sweetness. It’s 6.8% alcohol but drinks very easily.

“Time Warp”- Richard O’Brien/Rocky Horror Picture Show

“Time Warp” is a classic Halloween song. It doesn’t feel like Halloween until I’ve done the Time Warp at least 4 times. In that way, I picked a classic Oktoberfest ale to pair with it. Paulaner goes back a little earlier than Rocky Horror, 1810 to be exact, for the first ever Oktoberfest in Munich. I find the Paulaner Oktoberfest to be a little darker than some of the others out there, with that tasty roasted malt flavor.

“I Put A Spell On You”- Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

It’s one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 “Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”. The performance is ridiculous but still musically awesome. Isn’t that what Halloween is about? A chance to be ridiculous no matter if you’re a serious musician or not.

I paired Screamin’ Jay, who was born in Cleveland, with a delicious beer that was too. Great Lakes Brewing puts out their Nosferatu imperial red ale, which is a nice change to see amongst all the pumpkin-heavy beers this time of year.