Looking for Occult-themed Music- Especially Non-Black Metal
November 3, 2017 11:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm djing a radio show and need to find diverse occult-themed music or recordings (oddities like Louise Hubner and so on) I don't want it all to be black/death metal; I'm looking for obscure oddities especially.

Examples from folk, blues, any other genres. But preferably seriously occult, only accidentally kitschy, not looking for "monster mash" type stuff, but people who really take their stuff seriously. Even New Age stuff, or astrology or the like would be good. It doesn't have to be Satanic.

My dilemma also is that some of what I find has a fascist bent and I'm looking to avoid that for obvious reasons. Can you help me get my Black Mass on?
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis to Media & Arts (43 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
How about Rasputina, "Sign of the Zodiac."

YouTube link.
posted by Temeraria at 11:34 PM on November 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm assuming you know about Ghost B.C.'s Infestissumam and Popestar, in the black metal vein.

I really like Magic Wands' "Black Magic"; the entire Aloha Moon album is really worthwhile.

Tiger Army has a lot of vaguely occult themes, e.g., "Ghostfire." III: Ghost Tigers Rise is just a great album, too. Psychobilly as a genre has a good bit of stuff like this.

Icky Blossoms has some great vaguely occult stuff, like "Sex to the Devil" and "Phantasmagoria."

The "History of Witch House" series (1, 2, 3, 4) is pretty great.
posted by limeonaire at 11:39 PM on November 3, 2017

Oh right, also, Armor for Sleep's What to Do When You Are Dead album is great in its entirety, written from the perspective of a ghost.
posted by limeonaire at 11:42 PM on November 3, 2017

See also: My Chemical Romance's Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge album.
posted by limeonaire at 11:43 PM on November 3, 2017

Also, a lot of Echo & the Bunnymen's stuff, like "The Killing Moon," has a vaguely occult bent. See also: Ian McCulloch's solo stuff. I'm sure others will recommend more firmly occult stuff, but those are a few things that came to mind as I went through my library and my "all hallows" playlist.
posted by limeonaire at 11:52 PM on November 3, 2017

crossroads, johnson
voodoo, neville brothers
black peter, grateful dead
witch hunt, rush
posted by j_curiouser at 12:12 AM on November 4, 2017

Are you familiar with Material's "Seven Souls" album? Prolific NYC music producer Bill Laswell and a studio-full of his A-list session musician pals lay down a trippy world-influenced background over which William S. Burroughs reads his own musings about spirituality and the Egyptian afterlife. If that sounds even remotely interesting to you, seek it out, it's great.

Sample tracks..

Seven Souls:
The ancient Egyptians postulated seven souls.

Top soul, and the first to leave at the moment of death, is Ren, the Secret Name. This corresponds to my Director. He directs the film of your life from conception to death. The Secret Name is the title of your film. When you die, that's where Ren came in.

Second soul, and second one off the sinking ship, is Sekem: Energy, Power, Light. The Director gives the orders, Sekem presses the right buttons.

Number three is Khu, the Guardian Angel. He, she, or it is third man out ... depicted as flying away across a full moon, a bird with luminous wings and head of light. Sort of thing you might see on a screen in an Indian restaurant in Panama. The Khu is responsible for the subject and can be injured in his defense-but not permanently, since the first three souls are eternal. They go back to Heaven for another vessel. The four remaining souls must take their chances with the subject in the Land of the Dead..
The Western Lands:
The road to the Western Lands is by definition the most dangerous road in the world, for it is a journey beyond Death, beyond the basic God standard of Fear and Danger. It is the most heavily guarded road in the world, for it gives access to the gift that supercedes all other gifts: Immortality..
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:34 AM on November 4, 2017 [4 favorites]

This video seems kinda occultyish to me: THE NIGHT TERRORS - MEGAFAUNA. No words, but pipe organ! And theremin!!
posted by mpark at 12:39 AM on November 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Far from obscure, but Bowie’s “Blackstar” is breathtaking.

Also check out:
Sun Ra
Psychic TV
posted by shalom at 12:40 AM on November 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fields of the Nephilim are probably the most occult classic goth band I can think of, but heaps of them dabble.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 12:45 AM on November 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, and the most occult band of all time is of course COIL! I recommend Ostia, Windowpane, Dark River...anything off Horse Rotorvator or Love's Secret Domain are good for radio, but the catalogue is immense. Current 93 is an associated act and more folky than industrial, but almost as occult.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 12:46 AM on November 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Anything by Throbbing Gristle or Death Grips is suitable.
posted by little eiffel at 12:49 AM on November 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Electric Wizard is stoner / psychedelic metal rather than shrieky black, heaps of great occult songs - Black Masses (the track and the album) is a good place to start.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 1:01 AM on November 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

painfully obvious but what about i put a spell on you? original version for maximum screamin' jay.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:01 AM on November 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

The band Dark Soho basically did goth/occult psytrance (eg the album Combustion). Psytrance in general is replete with spooky/mystical/occult/new age references - the idea that we are surrounded by strange forces beyond our ken is an integral part of the genre. A good example is the concept album The Mystery Of The Thirteen Crystal Skulls.

In a different corner of dance music, the KLF are absolutely obsessed with the Illuminati.
posted by doop at 2:16 AM on November 4, 2017

Perhaps Massive Attack’s Three
posted by aubilenon at 2:35 AM on November 4, 2017

Donovan - Season Of The Witch
Richard Thompson recorded a great cover.
posted by thelonius at 2:54 AM on November 4, 2017

The Tea Party have a few good ones - Inanna is a favourite, especially the acoustic version.
posted by Jilder at 5:33 AM on November 4, 2017

Anything (that you can track down) by The Oroonies (pagan world music folk psych, spin-off of the Ozric Tentacles).

You might find a few slightly grungy tape transfers on YouTube. The Woods Are Alive With The Smell of His Coming is probably the one that fits the bill for you best.

Their only proper vinyl release, Of Hoof and Horn, is the choice cut (spooky world music style).

On a more electronic tip, try Psychick Warriors ov Gaia (the track 'Maenad' might be a good call).
posted by bifter at 6:56 AM on November 4, 2017

Oh, something that's totally wholesome that's fun to intersperse with actually spooky stuff is Lesley Gore, e.g., "You Don't Own Me," which sounds really dark in its own way. Pair that with something more occult and apocalyptic. You might think about other pairings that work that way as well, to fill interstices.
posted by limeonaire at 7:15 AM on November 4, 2017

Diamanda Galas - Sono L’Antichristo. https://youtu.be/6-FvRftumn4
posted by mattholomew at 7:46 AM on November 4, 2017

Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi’s Dead. https://youtu.be/OKRJfIPiJGY
posted by mattholomew at 7:53 AM on November 4, 2017

Lou Reed with Elizabeth Ashley - The Valley of Unrest https://youtu.be/-kkznN1Mx60
posted by mattholomew at 8:02 AM on November 4, 2017

Check out the music of Moon Duo.
posted by celestine at 8:08 AM on November 4, 2017

Mansion is a band based on the Finnish religion of "Kartanoism". Check out "We Shall Live" and also this article explains the concept of the band a lot better than I can.

Also check out the early records from Sabbath Assembly. Their first record (When Jex Thoth was still in the band) was all based on the concepts of the Process Church of the Final Judgement. "Restored to One" was the first lp and is a FANTASTIC record. Can't recommend that lp more.
posted by punkrockrat at 8:27 AM on November 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ulver’s Themes From William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is a god damn good album.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:20 AM on November 4, 2017

You might be ahead of me here, but there were quite a few small-press albums from the late 60s and early 70s that you can find by searching for "occult psych lp". Like a lot of occult stuff, there's a very blurry line between people cashing in and people taking it seriously.

Barbara, The Gray Witch (some background here)

Gwydion PenDerwyn

Master Wilburn Burchette

Lucifer ‎– Black Mass and Ataraxia ‎– The Unexplained are instrumental Moog lps.

Here's a list of spoken word LPs that includes a lot of occult/ESP stuff.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:00 AM on November 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Aleister Crowley's recordings (poetry and straight-up mystical stuff) have been released on a few LPs.

Anton LaVey also recorded an album, which is certainly not good but could be a fun touch.
posted by noxperpetua at 1:08 PM on November 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Demdike Stare
posted by vogon_poet at 1:19 PM on November 4, 2017

Once you find a couple of artists you like, you can create a Pandora radio station based on them and it will use that to select other similar music you might like. I created a radio station based on the neo-pagan group Faun that introduced me to some fun stuff. Omnia is another group in the same genre. This song came up on my Faun station, which I love. Most of Darkest Era's music is more metal, however, which is not my taste. Might be some good stuff for your purposes, though.

The Down at the Crossroads podcast features all kinds of witchy music, several songs featured every episode.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:25 PM on November 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, have you seen this recent Ask? You might find some good suggestions in there, I think.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:30 PM on November 4, 2017

John Cale's Paris 1919 "...you're ghost; la-la la-la la-la la-la la-laaa..."
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:01 PM on November 4, 2017

This song isn't really obscure, but I've always kind of liked its mellow new age vibe, and it might be a nice contrast to your darker stuff: Amber - 311

I was not able to find a recording of this creepy, catchy ballad on iTunes or Google Music when I wanted it, so it might be somewhat obscure: The Well - Omnia
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:05 PM on November 4, 2017

Hawkwind have a lot of songs that classify, check out Lord of Light

Bowie's entire Station to Station album is based on Qabala

Lucifer's Friend
Psychic TV
Boyd Rice
posted by ElectricGoat at 5:21 PM on November 4, 2017

Response by poster: thanks guys. I had forgotten the name of Barbara the Grey witch and couldn't locate any of the 60s 70s occult boom stuff I was looking for.

I knew you guys would come through!
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 7:48 PM on November 4, 2017

Cake - Pentagram
posted by nickggully at 9:00 PM on November 4, 2017

Is Coven's Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls (1969) too obvious?
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:07 AM on November 5, 2017

> Aleister Crowley's recordings (poetry and straight-up mystical stuff) have been released on a few LPs.
Used in Ministry - Golden Dawn

Maybe for contrast:
Victims Family - Anti-Satan Song For Mom
posted by farlukar at 6:54 AM on November 5, 2017

You might also want to check out this previous MeFi discussion.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:26 PM on November 5, 2017

Zeal and Ardor might have black metal influence but they are like a crazy mashup of spiritual chants and sorta black metal. It's a very strange result.

There are also some other bands that are often called "black metal", but that really stretch or reach outside of the genre that have occult themes, like Schammash (some chanting/great clean vocals amongst the songs here). There's also Batushka which sings Orthodox Christian hymns/songs with screams + clean-sung chanting, but it's clear from their imagery and live performance that they are likely performing these hymns with opposite the intent of the originals. Very unique stuff that sometimes gets overlooked.

There are hundreds of bands that are somewhere in the "metal" venn diagram that would qualify, but I know you're wanting much more variety, so I don't want to rehash a bunch of what you've already encountered. It sorta depends on how dark you're wanting to go... there are some really dark occult strains that run through metal (Dissection, Watain, etc)
posted by kup0 at 4:12 PM on November 5, 2017

The members of Coil were practitionners of magick, Current 93 (aka David Tibet) as well, he often quotes occult texts in his lyrics and has an album called Thunder, perfect Mind after the gnostic poem of the same name. There's also Sabbath Assembly a band which first album was composed entirely of covers of hymns of the Process Church of the Final Judgment cult. Finally Wyrd Vision only released one record, half-eaten guitar which is inspired by imagined ancient druidic chant.
posted by SageLeVoid at 6:20 AM on November 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Witches Rune - Unto Ashes
Bind Us All - Festival

A lot of Chelsea Wolfe's stuff might fit the bill as well.
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:47 AM on November 6, 2017

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