SATANIC PANIC: The Best Occult Themed Rock and Metal Albums

Since the beginning of time, rock music, and especially metal music, has notoriously been connected to notions of blasphemy, devil worship and all things big-bad-and-scary. Many people connect this to the historical origins of rock music, Southern black culture of blues music. Blues music and early rock and roll play an integral role in social justice and equality… You know that thing conservative-leaning people try to dismantle. From there, Rock music became the soundtrack to social change, breaking down boundaries and sticking it to all oppressive religious beliefs. 

Thus, people who are generally conservative and religious created this general Satanic-Panic to inhibit more people from following along and destroying ignorant ideologies. 

So why not play along with that concept then?

[I’ve already written a full discussion on the dichotomy of rock music & satanic panic]

Since the beginning of time, rock music, and especially metal music, has notoriously been connected to notions of blasphemy, devil worship and all things big-bad-and-scary. Many people connect this to the historical origins of rock music, Southern black culture of blues music. Blues music and early rock and roll play an integral role in social justice and equality… You know that thing conservative-leaning people try to dismantle. From there, Rock music became the soundtrack to social change, breaking down boundaries and sticking it to all oppressive religious beliefs.

Thus, people who are generally conservative and religious created this general Satanic-Panic to inhibit more people from following along and destroying ignorant ideologies.

So why not play along with that concept then?

Once musicians stopped trying to fight against these pitch-fork-mob-mentality accusations, Occult imagery and rock music took off to be the power couple the world never knew they needed.

It was not until the late 60s when both rock music and controversial thematics of Hell, Magic and overall rebellion against square ideologies of religion became a real staple in music…Which can be seen even to this day. Although some might argue that drawing on occultism has gotten a bit passé and overrated, I’m here to remind you that when done correctly, it can create some badass music.

Before we jump in though, I feel As a LaVeyan Satanist myself, I’d like to set the disclaimer that most REAL Satanists are not Devil worshippers, goat and children sacrificers, etc. Satanists are simply atheists. No Heaven, No Hell, and therefore NO DEVIL. Therefore, most of this music is made simply for the pleasure of pissing off conservative-religious-people, for the love of occult aesthetics and fun. Remember fun? So, if you feel like this music or the discussion of worshipping a mythical creature will upset you…. Then why the hell are you on a page called Miss MEPHISTOPHELES??

Kidding everyone is welcomed here, but if these topics upset you, hopefully the next article suits you better.

[this list is not in any preference order, just chronological in terms of what comes to mind]

Coven – Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls (1969) 

To begin this list of music that praises the Dark Lord, it only makes sense to pay respect and praise those that paved the way for Occult Rock music, such as the American music pioneers, Coven. 

Formed in the late 60s, Coven consists of Esther “Jinx” Dawson (vocals), Greg “Oz” Osborne (bassist), Christ Nielsen (guitarist), Rick Durrett (keyboardist) and Steve Ross (drummer). The group’s debut record, Witchcraft […] (1969) was the starting point for many controversial discussions within (and outside) the world of rock music. One thing in particular that Coven set the flame to that will become a later pattern, is unwanted public attention from angry suburban Christians.

Not only is this record an incredible heavy metal album, but it is also filled with Satanic prayers and chanting, and even includes a 13-minute track called “Satanic Mass”. The song “Satanic Mass” was one of the first Western songs released to the public to use sacrilegious Latin phrases like “Ave Satanas”, that is now more commonly used in Black Metal & Metal music.

Unfortunately, like many rock bands in the late 60s, this album was linked to the occult interests of Charles Manson and the Tate-La Bianca Murders, causing the album to be pulled from shelves. From the Manson Family to the Night Stalker killings, a lot of these seemingly harmless, but fun albums, were banned to mitigate the “Satanic Panic” that was cultivating amongst the true villains of the narrative, Christian Suburbans. Nonetheless, this album is the epitome of using Occult imagery, storylines and so forth, to create kickass tunes that make you feel powerful.

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)

While the band Coven was wreaking havoc across the vast Americana land, the Prince(s) of Darkness of the United Kingdom were conjuring up the same kind of potion. Black Sabbath is probably one of the most well known occult-themed bands, although sometimes dipping their toes in more controversial topics like politics and general life (~ooh scary~), the self-titled debut album by Birmingham’s greatest is definitely one of the best true Occult Rock albums you can listen to. 

With only 7 songs to delve into, the 39-minute record keeps it to the point in terms of calling the Dark One (take a shot every time I try to say Satan in a different way) to create luscious heavy tracks. What I enjoy most about this Sabbath record unlike the ones by, let’s say Mayhem or Coven, the imagery and in this record can be considered more subtle and tasteful. It definitely has its moments of fictitious fun, with its references of black cats and full moons, the record is controversial without it being blatantly ‘disrespectful’. When you listen to the lyrics on this record, you will find yourself thinking “well, he’s got a point”. 

Satanism, done tastefully.

Seven Churches – Possessed (1985)

Moving away from the psychedelic groovy side of “Occult Music”, we step into the world of death metal to discuss American band Possessed and their debut album Seven Churches (1985). Now, this where some people may argue that the occult imagery became tacky and doesn’t represent true Satanism blah blah blah. 

That may hold true to some, depending on how far you are in the gatekeeping world, but this record nonetheless, in terms of good music with enjoyable dark themes deriving from the bible and so forth, kills it. To me, this is one of the best death-thrash- metal albums ever made, and if you are someone looking into getting into more Occult themed music, but want something more aggressive and “metal” this album is a MUST. 

Relentless – Pentagram (1993)

In Pentagram’s 50 year career, they have gone through many lineup changes and musical reincarnations. Therefore, for the sake of this article and list, I’m going to solely focus on their doom and gloom era of the 80s-90s, as it heavily emphasized the Satanic and mystical symbolisms that we’re after.

With the name Pentagram, singing about sinning and living in the “underworld” may not come to anyone’s surprise, but what is surprising is that many people overlook this band’s work in paving the way (once again) for modern Occult Rock and even Black Metal.

Many musicians that make heavier and more brutal music, give a lot of credit to this psychedelic rock band. Even when the songs themselves weren’t necessarily dramatic in theme, dawning the name “Pentagram”, alone, was enough to start a spark within the music scene. It’s also interesting to consider that this album hit the shelves at the same time Black Metal was taking a spark (pun intended), especially in terms of using the Devil to paint aggression, they used very different approaches… But we’ll get to that.  

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas – Mayhem (1994)

In modern times, Scandinavians are known to be the leader of “occult” music, due to their creation of genres like Black Metal and blackened Death Metal. A Scandinavian country, in particular, that emphasized this genre-spawning, was Norway and their creation of 90s black metal.  

As mentioned previously, the 90s sparked some real Devil worshipping, ritualistic music that may or may not be so intense that it borders cheesy. However, similar to how it was necessary to include Sabbath on a list of albums that create Satanic Panic, I think it’s even more necessary to include the fools of [Satanic] Black Metal (I say that with love), especially the originators themselves, hailing from the forests of Norway… Mayhem

These kids, literally, killed themselves to be dubbed “The Most Satanic”, therefore out of respect to the Dead (pun intended)… it is on my list… Because despite the overall cringe from the genre, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994) is a phenomenal album if you’re into a super low-quality mish-mash of noise. If anything it’s probably what locals envision when they hear the term “Occult Rock”. Therefore, and politics aside, this record is undeniably occult as f*ck and aggressive… So we’ll just leave it at that. 

Greatest Lovesongs Vol.666 – HIM (1997)

Now, I know this may be a controversial choice when the 90s was cranking out an abundance of “Satanic” music in the death, black and thrash metal world, so to choose HIM over many of those can seem a bit, Ludacris. 

As mentioned previously, Scandinavian musicians and countries are most likely to come to mind when discussing Satanic and Occult music, and although, this Finnish band is not necessarily either of those… they still respectfully honour their great part of the world by drawing on the underworld for great music.

But, riddle me this, when you hear the name Satan, you think of two things: Death & Lust. When you hear the name HIM, you think of two things: Death & Lust. Therefore, despite HIM being considered a “fake occult” band because gatekeepers of all things Evil say that if teenage girls like it… it’s no longer truly Satanic, Greatest Love Songs Vol.666 (1997) stays true to the sultry lifestyle of a Satanist. 

The album is perfectly gloomy and melodic, all the while sensual and bold…and there isn’t a single song on the album that doesn’t reference the Devil, living in Hell and so forth. 

Incipit Satan – Gorgoroth (2000)

Another Black Metal album, and Norwegian band, that I highly enjoy and do believe is worthy of being mentioned on the list is Incipit Satan (2000) by Gorgoroth. Again, to some including Black Metal seems like a no brainer, but since it’s not a widely enjoyed genre, I was hesitant to include it on this list. Then again, at the end of the day, it’s Metal and evokes Satan herself from the pits of hell when played.

Gorgoroth was established in 1992 and in their time has changed band members more than they’ve probably changed their underwear (questionable analogy, but let’s just roll with it). The reason I choose this record in particular from their “eclectic” discography is one word: Gaahl. Kristian Eivind Espedal, professionally known as Gaahl,  is not only the best vocalist and writer of Gorgoroth but probably one of the best “Trve” Black Metal vocalists. 

He’s everything, and more, that would trigger someone that considers themselves a conservative-religious person, I mean he’s a gay man in corpse pain that sings about all things Unholy… and also has been to prison… So in terms of “scary Satanic tropes”… This album takes the cake.

Blood Lust – Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats (2011)

Moving away from Scandinavian black metal, British psychedelic-fuzz band, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, are pretty legendary when it comes to writing occult-themed albums. These Brits got all things blasphemous covered when it comes to writing music, from murder, drugs, to rituals, they have it. It’s also worth mentioning that they write some of the most hypnotizing riffs in modern psychedelic/stoner rock.

 It is for these reasons they are, not only, one of my most favourite “occult rock” bands, but also one of my most favourite bands in general. 

They’ve truly mastered the art of modernizing occult themes of rituals and magic, without making it repetitive and cheesy. Nearly every single one of their albums is about a sort of murder concerning Devil worship, which is why, technically, you can choose any one of their albums in the discography for this list. But, Blood Lust (2011) in particular stays on the theme of a sacrificial narrative. 

So if you’re new to this band and want to stick to the topic of literal occult rituals, start here and then delve into the rest, you won’t regret it. 

Infestissumam – Ghost (2013)

As we move into more modern-day occult-satanic music, you’ll come to notice that thematics discussed are more for the shock factor & entertainment, rather than the intense belief of the Devil. A great example of this Swedish band, Ghost, who evokes the power of Satan for satirical and entertainment purposes only. 

An album in particular that milks these themes, is their sophomore album Infestissumam (2013) [yeah, I don’t know how to say it either]. This record ended up catching a lot of public attention with their remarkably bold lyrics and intense clocked costumes and daunting appearance to go along with it. In terms of lyrics and aesthetics, Ghost really hits the nail on the head in dramatic mystical music.  

Furthermore, the Swedish one-man-band gets a lot of credit for bringing occult rock to the mainstream in the last decade. As the band moved from their once more doom-metal inspired tunes that you hear in Infestissumam (2013) to singing about Satan in more pop-fun-loving songs like “Kiss the Go-Goat” (2019)…the catchy, yet Satanic, songs are now played in supermarkets, malls, and so forth.

The album Infestissumam (2013) is what made the admiration for the Behemoth… trendy.

The Satanist – Behemoth (2013)

Speaking of worshipping the Behemoth… Polish Blackened-Death Metal band, Behemoth, are also widely known for their Devilish theatrics, similar to Ghost. However, unlike Ghost, they are not widely accepted due to the fact they take the anti-religion thematics a lot more seriously. 

More often than not, these black metal bands create their music because devil worshipping is a lifestyle, rather than a fad or simply a neat topic to write about. Behemoth, however, despite their more “intense” approach is not a group of devil worshippers, but instead are Atheistic-Satanists (like me!). 

If you’re too lazy to google, that just means Satanism is a symbol for anti-religion, there is no heaven/hell and therefore, no Devil. 

Anyways, in terms of music, The Satanists (2013) is one of the best death metal albums of the last decade (also one of behemoth‘s best albums in general). 

The Pale Emperor – Marilyn Manson (2015)

The self-proclaimed antichrist superstar, himself, is obviously to be expected to pop up somewhere on this list, but I’m sure not many of you would have expected this record in particular. The Pale Emperor (2015) is the 90s shock-rock icons 9th studio album, and dare I say one of his best? That statement in itself can be an entire article on its own, so let’s not dwell too much on that, but more so on why I chose this album and not… Antichrist Superstar (1996).

The answer to that is pretty simple, in terms of occult thematics done well, I think this record takes the cake. Songs like “The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles”, “The Devil Beneath My Feet” and “Deep Six”, are really interesting takes on a topic that Manson, himself, has been sucking the life out of for a few decades. 

The album is timeless in its catchiness and mature approach to witchcraft, devil folklore and so forth. I’m utterly obsessed with this album, and always will be. 

Lusus Naturae – Beastmaker (2016)

In terms of Doom metal drawing on the subject of occult practices, the selection is almost a little overwhelming. Magic, wizards and devil worship are a dominant theme in this genre, which is why bands like Black SabbathCovenPentagram, and so forth are declared the “OG Occult bands”. Nonetheless, having so many great bands and albums to choose from in the doom metal world is exciting if you’re like me and you like your music to come with a side of reverence blasphemy. 

A modern band that I think really nails the balance of doom and gloom with occultism is the American group, Beastmaker, and their most current album Lusus Naturae (2016). Similar to Uncle Acid, I enjoy the combination of Occultism and horror. It’s important to remember that to most, this world of “Devil worship” is fake and just fun form of escapism in our source of entertainment, so when a band adds another layer of spook with tales of horror, it makes for a great listening experience.  

It’s also worth mentioning that this album, in general, sounds fantastic. The riffs are heavy and the songs are a great vibe all around. 

Dawnbearer – Hexvessel (2017)

Crawling back towards the Scandinavian forests, Finnish forest-folk rock band, Hexvessel is notably known for their singer and songwriter Mat “Kvohst” McNerney. Mat, or Kvohst, is well-known for his darker songwriting skills in his other bands like Grave Pleasures and Beastmilk (two bands I adore immensely). 

With Hexvessel in particular, and more importantly Dawnbearer (2017), I find this record to be a beautiful example of the more forest-fairy and witchcraft side of “devilish” activities. The album is so soft and beautiful, yet dark and ominous. Call me biased as I whole-heartedly adore any work of Kvhost, but if you’re looking for something to listen to while setting up your altar for a ritual or while you’re crafting a potion in your kitchen (yes, I’m being serious as I, myself, do these things on a regular) then I highly recommend this album.

Twin Temple – Twin Temple (2018)

American jazz-influenced duo, Twin Temple, are devout Satanists and rock’n’roll aficionados that mastered the art of using the old school-inspired vocals of Alexandra and instrumental skills of her husband, Richard. The duo creates nostalgic rockabilly music that blends seamlessly with their love of occult ideologies. 

The band originally released their self-titled debut album independently and limited a batch of vinyl records to 666 copies, with the desire to create a mysterious world of underground du-wop satanism accessible to those that are already familiar with the world of all things supernatural. Still, it didn’t take long for the theatrical couple to capture the attention of British label, Rise Above Records, who later re-released this dazzling album in Spring 2019.

Similar to GhostTwin Temple is one of those bands that you ought to see live to truly experience the Satanic Manic. The stage is glowing with a candlelight atmosphere, as they glimmer around the band and ritual paraphernalia strategically scattered about, it’s something worth witnessing in person. 

Sign of The Devil – Dopelord (2020)

Polish-Stoner-Doom-Metal band, Dopelord, draws heavily on their love of vintage movies, seventies music and blasphemous subjects. With four albums under their belt, there hasn’t been a single record that doesn’t make strong references to the Unholy world and its leader — especially their latest record Sign of The Devil (2020).  

Filled with luscious heavy riffs and Satanic invocations, this album is another gem in the world of fuzz music that doesn’t make the theme of Hell and magic cringeworthy.

The Great Flood – Rope Sect (2020)

This list appropriately comes to a close with a personal favourite of mine, German post-punk dooms-day occult inspired anonymous group… Rope Sect. Much like the world of the occult, this band entices me like no other, as there’s not much about them to investigate. 

The band released their sophomore album only a few days ago (at the time of publishing this) and it has already become one of my most favourite occult-themed records. The album is sexy, from its haunting riffs to melodic croons and dark subject matters, it’s everything a Satanic/Occult record ought to be. 

It’s also worth mentioning that the King of Modern Occult music, himself, Mat “Kvohst” McNerney makes features in this record. Something about his voice with Rope Sect’s music brings me to tears every time I listen to it. Not because it’s sad, but because the power of the Magick tied into it… so powerful. 

***

So, interwebs, whether you want to start a cult or join one, it’s these albums that I think would make for the best soundtrack. It’s the soundtrack to mine, and if you want to be a part of this one be sure to drop your email on my site so you don’t miss any upcoming articles… or follow me on Instagram

Until next time Interwebs! 🕸


Thank you for reading Interwebs, all your support means the world to me. I just wanted to add that I recently lost my source of financial stability and could use any help. If you enjoy my writing and have $3 to spare, please consider tipping me on ko-fi 

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2 thoughts on “SATANIC PANIC: The Best Occult Themed Rock and Metal Albums

  1. So I got about 2 paragraphs in and … bro… Not all satanism is the same. You’ve watered down multiple branches to one paragraph where you just call Satanist edgy atheists, this does a lot of harm to the movement you claim to be a part of. You’ve completely overlooked the aspects that relate to ritual, lesser/greater magic and individualism in the movement. I couldn’t even get past this because to call yourself out as a Satanist authority and then show yourself to be so utterly uneducated makes the rest of this article irrelevant. Educate yourself babe. Do better for yourself and others if your going to proclaim yourself an authority.

    Like

    1. Fair comment, however, this article is about music and not breaking down a historical evaluation of Satanism. If you think that’s the premise of the article, I’m sorry for misleading you, but it’s literally called “best albums”…. lol. I follow LaVeyan Satanism, which is basically edgy atheism.. it literally even says in the bible. Anyways thanks for reading the 2 paragraphs!

      Like

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