You’ll have fun on Halloween night, but the day after can be painful. Face it; depending on how you celebrate the holiday, you’ll either wake up with an agonizing hangover, with smeared face paint and half your costume inexplicably scattered around the floor; or you’ll wake up with candy-induced intestinal aching, almost certain that onset diabetes is seeping its way into your bloodstream. Either way, you’ll feel dead.
But there’s a holiday to go along with your mental deadness and lifeless fatigue. Often overshadowed by the spectacle of Halloween is the Mexican-originated Day of the Dead (Día De Los Muertos), celebrated on November 1st and 2nd.
As the name implies, the holiday essentially celebrates and acknowledges the souls of those no longer on earth. Family members of the deceased may visit cemeteries and make altars of remembrance. Essentially, the idea is to think about the dead as a means to contemplate your own mortality and celebrate life. Plus, there’s generally a lot of music and skull and skeletal décor.
So with the skeletons, skulls, and death altars on The Day of the Dead (and while you attempt to reanimate your brain cells or calm your stomach) why not cure your post-Halloween trauma with some heavy metal?
It turns out that many bands have written songs about the Day of the Dead. The holiday is pretty "metal" by our standards. With themes of death, sinister face paint, skulls, and souls of the departed, here is a list of songs all titled, "Day of the Dead." Most of these songs are metal, some of these bands are obscure, and some songs suck even, but each song focuses on the one day of year dedicated to death.
01. Misfits "Day of the Dead"
Based on George Romero’s 1985 horror film of the same name, this Misfits song plays on images of zombies and the "living dead." While many horror films are associated with the Day of the Dead, the holiday itself doesn’t have much to do with rotting corpses eating the living’s guts. When the Day of the Dead is celebrated, the deceased aren’t considered scary at all, rather they’re remembered fondly as they were when they were living. Although human flesh feeding frenzies sound more interesting.
02. Sopor Aeternus "Day of the Dead"
As strange as the Day of the Dead may sound, this unsettling song by German gothic/"darkwave" band, Sopor Aeternus, touches on an otherworldly celebration where forgotten ghosts are called to be exorcised and monks contort their bodies…or something like that. Not quite an accurate representation of the traditional Day of the Dead, but a strange song that you probably haven’t heard before.
03. Degraded "Day of the Dead"
This is what you’d imagine as the musical equivalent to a death celebration. Heavy, up-tempo metal, screaming of the "horrifying day." Not a bad song either. Turn up your speakers for this one.
04. Misery Index "Day of the Dead"
"EL DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS!!!" Deathgrind band, Misery Index, blasts through this metal jam, the lyrics of which actually illustrate aspects of the holiday, in a way. The chorus reflects the celebration and remembrance of the dead: "One day, remembrance, and celebrate an end to ‘friends’ that I will remember to forget." Plus, you get some Spanish as well.
05. Headshot "Day of the Dead"
Cannibal instincts! Slapping bass in metal! The annihilation of mankind! This is the Day of the Dead according to the band Headshot from their 1995 album, "Brain at Risk."
06. Sarcófago "Day of the Dead"
Sarcófago was a Brazilian extreme metal band that included the original lead singer of Sepultura. In Sarcófago’s Day of the Dead, the lyrics are barely distinguishable, but believe it or not, the song is, in fact, first track on Satan’s iPod playlist that welcomes new arrivals into the ninth circle of hell.
07. Xe-None "Day of the Dead"
This song has little to do with the holiday, yet its blend of melodic vocals, distorted guitars and heavy synth make this dance metal song from Russia’s Xe-None worth a listen.
08. Voltaire "Day of the Dead"
Now we have a song in narrative form, set in Mexico for the Day of the Dead celebration. Miraculously, skeletons have overtaken the streets and Cuban singer, Voltaire, is astonished that the skeletons are smashing piñatas, stealing burritos and drinking beer, the scene of which makes Voltaire loose control of certain bodily functions. This cheesy, cabaret-like song is the only non-metal song on this list, yet an interesting song nonetheless.
09. The Church "Day of the Dead"
Australian rock group, The Church, similarly set a narrative tale in Mexico on the Day of the Dead. Reverb-heavy guitars and hypnotic layered instruments make for an ethereal feeling that falls in line with the holiday’s spiritual quality.
10. Dog Fashion Disco "Day of the Dead"
The now-broken-up metal band, Dog Fashion Disco, wants to taste your blood and make you a sacrificial lamb while the dead are reborn. This is a rather crazy day of the dead, indeed.