No, those are not death-metal album covers. Neither are the lyrics. Horrorcore, a subversive blend of hardcore hip-hop and horror themes, ventured into new territories in the past decade and continues to evolve.
Horrorcore 2.0 features our favorite horror movie tropes while also embracing industrial, witch house, noise, trap metal, emo rap and art pop. Whether you’re into scary fairy tales, disturbing urban legends, psychological horror films, serial killer documentaries, jumpscare classics or the genre that can be scarier than all of these combined, realism, these albums have the power to make you fearless. Check them out below.
Backxwash – God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It
A Spanish supernatural horror drama about a little girl’s mysterious death worked as the source of inspiration for Canadian rapper and producer Ashanti Mutinta’s sophomore album. The ghost haunting the 10 tracks of the album continuously changes its shape and materializes in multitudes of forms, from hazy, nightmarish hallucinations to demonic trap-metal eruptions.
clipping. – There Existed An Addiction To Blood
Listen closely, follow each word and you will be so shocked by scenes described in such gruesome detail that by the time the intro ends, you might find yourself questioning whether this is really fiction. The 15 tracks feature unsettling yet captivating atmospherics, spine-chilling walls of harsh noise and, of course, brilliant flows by Daveed Diggs, whom you may recognize from Black-ish. Feeling uneasy after your brain has been put through this meat grinder? Good thing there are 18 minutes of the sound of a burning piano at the end to cool off.
Insane Clown Posse – Fearless Fred Fury
The latest album from Insane Clown Posse, proud parents of the Juggalos family and one of the foundational horrorcore acts who also popularized corpsepaint-like clown face paint in the genre, crowns the duo’s discography as their 16th album. Even if you’re not suffering from coulrophobia (yet), Fearless Fred Fury will lure you into its bizarre universe with melodic hooks, tough beats, guitar samples and captivating flows. It might take only a couple of tracks for you to find yourself in a storm drain as if you were one of the kids from It.
IC3PEAK – Сказка
In spite of authorities doing everything they can to shut down their shows in their native country of Russia, IC3PEAK, a cult duo among Russian and European alternative youth, keep evolving with every release. While their latest full-length features Ghostemane and you should absolutely check it out, the horrorcore imprint is more prevalent on their earlier album, Сказка, which means “fairy tale.” But don’t let its title or Nastya’s baby voice trick you. Instead, check out the video for the title track and give into IC3PEAK’s raving to the beat of the apocalypse.
$uicideboy$ – I Want To Die In New Orleans
“Stop Calling Us Horrorcore,” Ruby da Cherry and Scrim titled their track in 2016. Don’t think of a blue elephant, huh? Cloud rappers $uicideboy$ are recognized for their versatile discography, ranging from emo rap to trap metal. The duo’s ability to seamlessly blend genres is evident in I Want To Die In New Orleans, where mental distress, triggered by harsh realities of both their hometown and the music industry, is articulated in a graphic, distorted and horrifying way.
Tyler, The Creator – Goblin
Mindhunter and Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes come to mind listening to the protagonist on Goblin, the second full-length from Tyler, The Creator. Framed as a guided psychotherapy session, Goblin takes you to places that cross almost all imaginable boundaries of morality. Whether it’s smooth, sadistic verses delivered over chill beats or angry rapping paired with harsh sounds, this very believable purge of a sick criminal mind slowly creeps up on you.
Gizmo – Argus Panoptes EP
Argus Panoptes, a giant with many eyes, one that’s gracing Gizmo’s EP cover, comes from Ancient Greek mythology. It’s a guy who sees all. Gizmo’s upgraded version of Argus also tortures and slaughters pretty much everything and everybody who catch his eye. As Argus Panoptes progresses, trap metal and industrial harshness are occasionally diluted with trippy, hypnotic and mysterious hues. As for the rap flows, they remain at the peak of horrid from the beginning to the very bitter end.
Rozz Dyliams – Faith, Hope, Charity
On this obviously ironically titled album, Rozz Dyliams creates a psychotic character to whom splitting somebody’s head open and taking out their brain is just a part of his superstar life. Then he turns around and comes back with a sweet pop song that starts out with angelic harp harmonies and swears of wanting to learn how to take away your pain. Captivating with unconventional takes on dark trap and spooky atmospheres, Faith, Hope, Charity would work as an appropriate soundtrack for Patrick Bateman’s morning routine.
The Buttress – Behind Every Great Man
Remember the evil witch from fairy tales? Or old Disney movies? Or the diagnosis of “female hysteria” treated back in…not so long ago? Well, the witch is back. She’s hurt. She’s agitated. And she’s coming for you. Turning the tables around, the Buttress comes for her bloody vendetta in the name of all those who were made to stand behind men as she delivers spooky verses over groovy basslines, explosions, psychedelic loops and alarming sirens.
Alla Xul Elu – Church Of Xul EP
Are you sure you want to open the door to this church, a disturbing scene of horrific slaughter? And the killers are still on the loose… The door screeches, and you’re in. But because you’re entering with this outrageous horror-rap trio, their groovy beats and aggressive flows will make you feel protected. When you’re with Alla Xul Elu’s Billy Obey, Joey Black and Lee Carver, the devil is on your side. Together, you can summon demons and experience synergy with the spirits of the dead. By the way, Church Of Xul was recorded in their studio in Ohio. Which also happens to be a church.
Twiztid – Mad Season
There’s no point in resisting Twiztid putting you in the shoes of a killer in a slasher film. Mad Season, however, doesn’t limit itself to basic portrayals of gore as it also explores the backstage of a maniac’s life and the mental disturbances that drive psychotic behavior as well as the supernatural forces that shape the protagonist’s wicked mind. Blending trap, industrial and hardcore hip-hop while featuring other notable horrorcore artists, Twiztid once again secures their status as one of the most iconic creatives in the genre.
Razakel & Lyssa Cer – The Manson Theory
Enter the crime scene with two powerhouses of horrorcore who united their efforts for one of the most exciting records in the genre. Taking up the roles of evil witches, the “Manson girls” and serial killers, the rappers come for a bloody, graphic and ugly revenge. For what? For their broken hearts. For being cheated, belittled and betrayed. And also, for fun.
DSA Commando – Le Brigate Della Morte
As the protagonist in the title track disinfects his chest wound with vodka while gazing into Johnny Rotten’s photograph, you get to enjoy mysterious synth harmonies from the soundtrack of John Carpenter’s crime thriller Assault On Precinct 13. On their album, which references the aforementioned movie, the four-piece are spitting out pure rage against the broken machine, the target of their lyrical attacks being real-life demons, such as corrupt politicians, corporations, perverted clergy, shady law enforcement and sentimental pop stars. Admitting storing their enemy skulls in the fridge over a sample of Black Sabbath’s “Electric Funeral,” this gang of rejects are fighting evil with evil.
Earl Sweatshirt – Earl
Tyler, The Creator’s prodigy from the Odd Future collective, Earl Sweatshirt demonstrated unconventional creativity already on his debut mixtape released at the turn of the previous decade when the rapper was merely 16. Earl, however, still sounds current, thanks to its experimental, effect-saturated take on the genre, muted mood and crisp production. If you’re feeling up for a hazy, slow-motion torture that hypnotizes with easy-going tunes and disrupts with gore themes, Earl is exactly your fix.
Dark Lotus – The Mud, Water, Air, And Blood
The horrorcore powerhouse founded by members of Insane Clown Posse, Blaze Ya Dead Homie and Twiztid released their final album in 2014. To some extent echoing the style of horrorcore’s founding fathers from the ’80s, the record also features some cold, gothic industrial vibes. Lyrical scenes of mutilation, cruelty and massacres are depicted with deranged precision while also toying with biblical, supernatural and satanic themes.
Esham – She Loves Me Not
A dark continuation of She Loves Me from the same year, She Loves Me Not is solid proof that Esham’s creative resources are not to be exhausted any time soon. Fusing haunting sounds, abstract electronic strokes, trap 808s, bitter flows and more, Esham, one of the key players in the horrorcore scene since the ’90s, fiercely and unapologetically keeps pushing the genre further.
Butchers Harem – Erotic Stories Written In Blood
Having managed to unite members from Suffocation, Death, Lamb Of God and Shadows Fall in one track, Necro is no stranger to extreme metal territory. Aside from the title track sampling Morbid Angel’s “Chapel Of Ghouls,” The Notorious Goriest isn’t saturated in metal features. Instead, Necro takes instrumentals from Nina Simone, Bee Gees and Johnny Cash to expose injustice, brutality and obscurities of society in his flows. But is there anything more distressing than pairing lyrics about the Grim Reaper and Piero Piccioni? Well, it’s merely one example of Necro’s extravagant madness.
SickTanicK – Oculus Omnia
On the surface, this album may appear like a fun, radio-friendly play with pop motifs and a slight departure from SickTanicK’s signature satanic narratives. But if you really listen, it’s also a story about a personal journey of overcoming heartache and breaking toxic patterns of addiction. Pulling samples and references from Clams Casino, Bring Me The Horizon, Depeche Mode and even Adele, SickTanicK takes you to places horrorcore rarely, if ever, goes.
Scum – Zippers Creepers
Keep your eyes wide open as the modern Jack The Ripper elegantly enters the stage, dark-cabaret style, in the first track of Zippers Creepers. Scum, a rapper of Russian descent, with the help of horrorcore icons such as Esham, Liquid Assassin and Smallz One, proceeds to build his frightening universe of sparse body parts, existential terror and countless well-versed depictions of torture in a manic, aggressive and malevolent style.