The spooky season is here, bringing fancy harpsichord melodies, eerie choirs, dark lyrics, and dramatic performances with it. And seiyuu thrive in this vibe.
The spooky season is finally here! Time to rejoice in the darkness (now, you have a really good excuse to try to convert everyone around you into listening to the dark music you love), and embrace the romance in visual-kei rock.
Whether it is songs that invoke dramatic romance from the early 18th century, take inspiration in vampire tales, rejoice in its dark vibe, or have playful yet spooky touch, I bring you a collection of songs that are an awesome soundtrack to this day (and if like me, you enjoy dark music, you can listen to anytime you want).
Now, grab your harpsichord, let your hair loose, bring in an eerie choir alongside you and let the darkness take over.
A note that these songs aren’t ranked.
GRANRODEO “Blue Pandora Box”
You have to open this playlist in style and in the right mood.
GRANRODEO crafted the perfect song for such an opening “Blue Pandora Box“, putting you, the listener, in the middle of mysterious strings and an imposing beat that could go either the eerie or alluring route should Kishow ever want to dive into either.
Thankfully, you get a song with dashes of both, serving as the perfect intro to what I expect will be a playlist you’ll enjoy a whole lot.
Fantôme Iris “Spooky Halloween Night”
Fantôme Iris is the band that is continuously in a Halloween mood and I believe everyone that loves the season has special care for the band because of it.
The band fronted by FELIX (CV: Arthur Lounsbery) is all about its refined visual-kei rock with heavy influences from Europe’s 17th and 18th centuries while drawing a lot of inspiration from vampire stories.
Glitchy, distorted melodies play in the background, creating the setting for the electric guitars to make a dramatic entry. After that, the song goes low and dark, with Arthur Lounsbery adding a spooky twist to the performance by lowering his voice tone and adding a barely noticeable legato, connecting every line in a seamless way.
The guitars played in staccato while the strings are playing in legato is a fabulous touch in the chorus, adding a bouncy, tricky twist to this song. This song is a must in every Halloween-themed playlist.
UNDEAD “Melody in the Dark”
Shredding guitar riffs open the curtains to “Melody in the Dark”, a high-octane tune with a dark twist. Strings play in legato in the background alongside harpsichord melodies, creating a refined and with a slight baroque twist to it.
For the second part of the song, guitars go crazy alongside a delicate piano melody and chimes, all creating a dramatic sound.
When it comes to dark songs or songs with an awesome vampire-inspired vibe/concept, UNDEAD knows how to deliver.
OSIRIS “Bloody Masquerade”
Eerie timpani and a choir open the doors to an electrifying hard-rock tune.
OSIRIS doesn’t spare anyone as soon as the guitars make their entrance on stage. The sound is heavy, the guitars blast through the strings, and a harpsichord-led waltz going on in the background.
When you get to the chorus, you’re already well into the baroque and dramatic soundscape in front of you, letting Masanori Kobayashi’s emotional performance shine on stage.
“Bloody Masquerade” is one of the best songs ever released by a 2D rock band to date and quite the Halloween-themed tune shrouded in mystery and refinement.
KiLLER KiNG “Phantom of Love”
KiLLER KiNG was, for several years, known as a 2D unit that was all about its bubbly sound up until… the group released “Phantom of Love”.
The song, clearly inspired by the Phantom of the Opera story, takes the stage as a harpsichord-led tune that is all about its tragic sound and powerful choir + main vocals combo.
“Phantom of Love” is all about its grandiose sound, really setting a dark, eerie vibe with its soaring choir while not forgetting the group’s original dance sound. What you get is an imposing song that has a twinge of sadness underneath while presenting itself as highly refined.
Valkyrie “魅惑劇” (Miwaku Geki)
Grandiose, mesmerizing strings, imposing bass-driven drums and a harpsichord creates this tune’s core sound. The soundscape in front of you is magnificent and intense, leaving little to no space for you to breathe in.
As Jun Osuka and Hiroki Takahashi’s lyrical performance sinks in, a delicate piano melody adds a layer of dark beauty that is difficult not to feel drawn into.
As “Miwaku Geki” wraps up, the overdriven guitars are put in the background to give way to the busy strings and piano. It’s quite an overwhelming song, especially on a first listen but hell if Valkyrie doesn’t know how to deliver an awesome performance.
EROSION tip-toes its way into the scene with pizzicato strings and an elegant harpsichord; however, things change soon.
The beat is soft, the piano is jazz and things slowly shift into a dance-driven sound in which electric guitars co-exist with EROSION’s powerful vocals.
When the chorus arrives, dramatic strings soar, taking over the track, taking you by the hand to this suffocating and eerie soundscape.
Muffled vocals contrast with the clean ones in the bridge, leaving the listener in an empty soundscape. A refined mix of strings and chimes wraps up “Sham’ing“.
Lagrange Point “Ai to iu kotoba o…”
“Ai to iu kotoba o…” (the full song title is the following: 愛という言葉を憎む日々が永久に続いてもオレを赦してくれ) brings a dark and heavy rock sound with a groovy edge and quite the ambition to be as eerie as it can be.
While in its first verse and chorus it isn’t, the second verse goes dark, bringing an intense choir and leaving the soundscape at the mercy of beefy bass + slow bass-drum rhythms.
The later part of the verse is quite possibly one of the best parts of this song, bringing a common Halloween-themed phrase into this composition (performed by Toshiyuki Toyonaga in the first verse and Genki Okawa in the second verse).
Solid track to ease you in on the Halloween celebrations.
Kanade (CV: Showtaro Morikubo) “NEVER∞EVER”
If you feel like crying with one of the eeriest and most solemn songs out there, then Kanade’s (CV: Showtaro Morikubo) “NEVER∞EVER” is the song for you.
After atmospheric synths took you into this soundscape, there in the background, a beautiful acoustic guitar screams at you, playing almost like a harpsichord. Slowly, legato strings join in this song.
As Showtaro Morikubo’s vocals – that are being performed with a dummyhead mic for a full 3D experience – join in and slowly lullaby you, you notice that this song is not just another sad song.
“I want you but I can’t have you. Goodbye my love”
This is a funeral march.
It is goodbye.
It is eternal love in form of a song.
And it breaks your heart.
The instrumental in this song is refined and with good measures of baroque influences – with the soaring choir and harpsichord being used only when needed to heighten the tension – and the vocals are haunting enough to put your heart in shambles.
One of the most underrated performances by a seiyuu in a character song in a series of drama CDs that went under the radar for many (SEVENTH HEAVEN).
Nobuhiko Okamoto x Trignal “Hikari o”
In 2017, Nobuhiko Okamoto and Trignal teamed up to create one of the most theatrical CDs to be released up until now. On that CD there was “Hikari o”.
Rain falls down as a dramatic piano melody plays in the background, giving way to delicate strings and a harp. The intro serves as the opening act for this performance, giving way to a harpsichord-led part with staccato strings heightening the tension as Takuya Eguchi narrates the story that will unfold.
Electric guitars join in alongside a jazzy piano melody and punchy bassline, serving as the stage for Ryohei Kimura and Nobuhiko Okamoto to join forces and harmonize as they wait for Tsubasa Yonaga and Takuya Eguchi’s vocals.
This song has the right measures of drama, shining in the soaring chorus both in the instrumental as well as in the vocals.
When “Hikari o” wraps up, you feel like you went through a picturesque trip, experiencing beauty, the unknown, and mystery, all delivered by 4 vocals that worked in perfect harmony.
Ciel (CV: KENN) “BLACK ANTHEM”
A massive choir, imposing legato strings, shredding guitars and drums take off in Ciel (CV: KENN)’s “BLACK ANTHEM”, one of the heaviest songs in the Dear Vocalist franchise.
The song makes quite a big entrance, making sure that you stop everything to focus on it. It is equal measures grandiose and dark. It is quite impressive.
A piano melody adds a layer of beauty to this otherwise, dark song, serving as an intermission between choruses and verses as well as it stays in the background for the chorus to add depth (Adding high frequencies to this song).
Leading the way in this urgent yet massive song is none other than KENN’s raspy vocals.
Fling Posse “SHIBUYA GHOST NIGHT”
Fling Posse is known as one of the grooviest rap crews in the Hypnosis Mic franchise, counting with a powerful lineup that works perfectly for rap and clean singing.
Well in “SHIBUYA GHOST NIGHT” the talented trio shows what it’s all about, embracing the spooky vibes of the Halloween season with eerie synths and echo-y vocals in its intro.
As you enter the venue, the vibes are completely different. A retro – 70s, early-80s funk – sound takes over. While the lyrics certainly explore the fun and mystery of the Halloween season, the instrumental is all about its addictive, slap bass rhythm and shuffle beat. When the funky guitar and piano hits join in the song, you’re already jamming to this song.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, this song cheekily approaches the theme and makes a bubbly sound come out of something that would, supposedly, be as dark as you could get.
Catch some of these songs and more in this playlist! This is a work in progress, with many more songs being added as they are released (and fit the spooky season!).
Whether you celebrate Halloween or you just love the dark, mysterious vibes of this season, I hope you enjoy these songs in this list feature! And, of course, Happy Halloween!