5 best heavy music albums of 2023 for horror fans

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 27: Jim Jarmusch of the band SQURL Performs at The Hollywood Palladium on April 27, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harmony Gerber/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 27: Jim Jarmusch of the band SQURL Performs at The Hollywood Palladium on April 27, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harmony Gerber/Getty Images) /

Horror fans can be a picky bunch when it comes to their choice of music. Especially horror fans who are also into heavy music.

Being one of these snobbish, picky listeners, and because I listen to a crazy amount of contemporary music for my other job, here’s a list of releases for 2023 so far, that I think really hits the overlap for both horror fans and heavy music fans.

Some albums on this list may present an off-beat surprise, as I’ve tried to include projects from varied definitions of what it means to be sonically “heavy.”

The list of 2023’s five best heavy music albums for horror fans (so far)

Lamp of Murmuur

Saturnian Bloodstorm

Lamp of Murmuur is the solo project of the mysterious M, who’s based in Los Angeles. He’s won a hefty cult following because his last album, Submission and Slavery, was full of catchy, magnificent mash-ups of post-punk hooks, black metal intensity, and a rich gumbo of everything from thrash to 80s dance in the mix.

This new album makes the last one sound like it was bubblegum pop. M has shed the fanciful and gothy elements in favor of stunning metal grandeur plucked from the full vineyard of heaviness. Tracks like “In Communion with the Winter Moon” and the opening blast of “Conqueror Beyond the Frenzied Fog” are perfect for horror fans who love pomp and circumstance, smart melodic turns, and conjurations of the glory days of 80s and 90s.

Without coming off as some mere caricature of throwback novelty, it sounds like M is letting his music help him work through some dark times. We are all the better for his process of sonic therapy.


Femina Furens

Djunah are a guitars and drums duo from Chicago who describe themselves as “noise rock with a leg for a bassist.” Whatever they are, they’re heavy as all hell with a sound that’s a cross between atmospheric sci-fi movies, angular punk melodies, and good old heavy metal attitude.

The album title is Latin for “furious woman” and the three-hit combo of intensity, excellent riff execution, and chemistry of poetic anger are on full display on tracks like the stomper romp of “Phaeton” and the anthemic might of “Seven Winds of Sekhmet.” Donna Diane and Jared Karns have something special here, agents of a sound that is custom designed to encourage catharsis for their listeners, or arguably any fan of heavy music.

Horror director Jim Jarmusch also plays in his drone rock band Squrl and is a competent heavy music guitar player.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 27: Jim Jarmusch of the band SQURL Performs at The Hollywood Palladium on April 27, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harmony Gerber/Getty Images) /


Silver Haze

Jim Jarmusch likely isn’t the first Hollywood director that comes to mind when you think of horror, but he has since contributed his wry, singular vision to recent genre standouts like the absurdist zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die and the excellent vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive.

Few may know that he’s also very much involved in curating and crafting the soundtracks of his films and is a pretty competent musician himself. The OSTs for The Limits of Control or Only Lovers Left Alive can definitely stand alone as full-fledged musical entities. Especially the latter, which is full of haunting strings music by lute virtuoso Josef Van Wissem.

Sqürl is his band with Carter Logan, bringing all the experience and might of their collaborators to bear into a slow bonfire of atmospheric noise, walls of drone guitar, and the unique touches of their collaborators. Silver Haze is their debut album, a collection of eight songs that finds them traipsing through dystopian, gloomy landscapes like “Berlin ‘87” that’s like fuzzy guitars layered upon delay pedals or “John Ashberry Takes a Walk” where Charlotte Gainsbourg reads Ashbery’s poetry like the end times are truly nigh.

It’s a very dense, moody, and surprisingly nuanced record despite being full of mantra-like repetition. Ultimately, I found it musically very heavy and spooky. One that rewarded several careful listens.

Like Jarmusch’s movies, these tracks reveal sonic stories and emotions in the signal amid the noise, within the iterations of its drone.

Spirit Possession

Of the Sign…

Holy heaviness! Steve Peacock from Portland is the mastermind behind this insanely heavy explosion of metal, punk, and noise rock. There’s a lot of progressive guitar virtuosity on display, like the epic “Enter the Golden Sign” where insanity and death metal barks bring the listener into some infernal plane of sonic delight.

Peacock doesn’t take himself too seriously either, as quirky, sometimes downright novelty funny tracks like “The Hex” play around with volume and hardcore caricatures. Make no mistake th0ugh, this is a terrifying, extreme slab of in-your-face heavy music that takes no prisoners and isn’t for the faint of heart.

Listening to it reminded me of how I felt after watching A Serbian Film. Not exactly the most family friendly movie.


Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief

Healthyliving is proof of the old blues saying: “You don’t got to be loud, son, to be heavy as hell.”

Fortunately this UK supergroup of sorts, composed of members from Ashenspire and Maud the Moth, employs both loudness and silence to bring forth a kind of unique heaviness reminiscent of sludge metallists Made Out of Babies and modern indie darlings Marriages (which is one of the projects that defined queen of gloom Emma Ruth Rundle). Ultimately though, that’s not quite an accurate comparison on my part because tracks like the moody frights of “Galleries” and the elegiac “Ghost Limbs” are their own signature thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed the range of emotions that this album brought to bear with its stellar guitar work and soaring vocals. This is how to mix grunge, sludge, alt rock, shoegaze and even chamber pop, making them coalesce into one hell of a heavy music product.

This is the best one on my must-listen heavy music list for 2023. Can’t wait to hear what the rest of the year brings!

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