Almost everyone has a playlist they turn to for specific things via Spotify or some other music streaming service, or even YouTube. My playlists on Spotify can get pretty specific - I've got one featuring tracks that would be the worst songs to hear after you've just been in an accident and are fighting for life. So, while I may be weird and may need therapy (that's a different blog post) one thing I know about this world is that as inevitably as death and taxes, there are people out there who invest time into thinking about what songs they'd listen to in a zombie apocalypse while battling the undead. So, I'm asking everyone who works regularly for the HHP office what songs they would listen to if they found themselves battling a zombie horde, and I'll give my own list as well- and if you like the music, you can find the playlist with all the songs HERE. One other thing, this is also a reminder that we will be eventually releasing our own Zombie apocalypse TTRPG called Alive Inside, so watch this space for more updates. Anyway, on to the musical mayhem!
SHANE COLLINS - CEO & LEAD CREATOR
"The Kill" - 30 Seconds to Mars
There's a big overlap between my zombie playlist and my gym playlist and this is a great example. A song that starts slow but quickly builds in energy, you can easily scream-sing along with this song while jogging down the road, splitting some firewood, or cracking some zombie skulls.
"Shoot to Thrill" - AC/DC
I couldn't possibly put this list together without including some AC/DC and what song from their discography could be more fitting than this one? Also, I can't be the only one who immediately gets Supernatural season finale flashbacks whenever AC/DC comes on the radio?
"No More Sorrow" - Linkin Park
When I was in Army ROTC in college, this was my go-to song to get amped up for working on my two-mile run time. This song draws out my inner teenage-white-kid-angst like one of those pumps that sucks venom from a puncture wound: not a pretty site most days but could be a great boost when the undead are breaking through the front door.
"Float On" - Modest Mouse
When your coworkers, classmates, and neighbors become drooling abominations with a serious case of the carnivorous munchies, it's important to take a moment now and then to remember that everything will be okay. Maybe.
"Get Lucky" - Daft Punk
A great high energy song to keep you going when the exhaustion sets in and the zombie apocalypse is a great time to sing for a little luck.
"You're the Best" - Joe "Bean" Esposito
Unleash your inner crane kick. But wear shoes; zombies bite.
"Eye of the Tiger" - Survivor
If Rocky could come out of retirement every three years to knock out Mr T and that yoked Russian dude and whoever else, surely you can use that 2x4 to brain old man Thompson before he turns you into a manwich.
"Ride of the Valkyries" - Richard Wagner
I love the smell of burning zombies in the morning. Just kidding. That smell sticks to polyester and it's been a long time since anyone's seen a functioning dry cleaner.
"Animal I Have Become" - Three Days Grace
This is the perfect song for the survivor who wants to swing a 9 iron at zombies with one hand while drinking a 40 of Steel Reserve with the other hand. Not saying I'm that person but also not saying I'm not.
"Chapter Four" - Avenged Sevenfold
When it's time to fight the boss zombie, I'm putting my ear buds in and cranking this sucker up to a 9.
*Editor's Note: Shane's list shows a definite preference for high energy, upbeat music with fast tempos and driving rhythms that will definitely get people pumped and ready to fight. "No More Sorrow" and "Animal I've become" also have lyrics relevant to the human experience during a zombie apocalypse, in both cases dealing with themes surrounding personal transformation and overcoming adversity. What I personally like about Shane's zombie-killing playlist is the diversity of music, which mixes classic rock, modern rock, electronic/dance, and even martial music. Remember to check out the blog post about Shane's upcoming Zombie TTRPG called ALIVE INSIDE!
FRANK ARD - COPY EDITOR
"Ticks & Leeches" - Tool
This is my all-time favorite song to listen to when working through frustrations. I think the sentiment is perfect for a zombie invasion as well.
"Head Like a Hole" - Nine Inch Nails
A song of absolute defiance, I like the Second Wave feel of this one. This is the best song to keep one’s cool during a zombie slaying adventure.
"Wait and Bleed" - Slipknot
While an obvious choice, this song has such a driving riff that already imagine myself slaying murderous creatures whenever I listen to it.
"Blackened" - Metallica
Written about the death of the natural environment, this song has long been one of my favorite late-night listens. The thunderous vocals could certainly carry one through a zombie battle.
"Zero" - The Smashing Pumpkins
The unmistakable guitar and tenderly destructive vocals here make “Zero” an ideal go-to choice for any time spent bludgeoning the undead.
"Conditions of my Parole" - Puscifer
This song is more off the beaten path, which is exactly where one should be when fighting to escape a zombie horde.
"Judith" - A Perfect Circle
This song seethes with rage that bubbles up through the powerful lyrics and pitch-perfect vocals of Maynard James Keenan. The final scream is legendary and would be a good motivator during times of distress.
"Bled for Days" - Static-X
The thick industrial metal sounds on this track, coupled with the lyrics that repeat like a mantra, create a hypnotic experience that would easily get one into the zone to crush some zombie heads.
"Paranoid" - Black Sabbath
This classic track, with its masterfully fast-paced guitarwork and Ozzy Osbourne’s vocals lingering just on the verge of mania, makes the perfect song for the rush of battle with any supernatural creature.
"Bottom" - Tool
I started this list with Tool, so it’s only fitting that I finish it with them as well. This is my go-to song when I’m feeling down and out. In addition to the growling vocals to push one forward, the midway spoken word segue is call to action like no other.
*Editor's Note: I'm a Tool fan myself, and some of the artists on my playlist overlap with Frank's, which is cool. Frank's list favors heavy, aggressive music with rock and metal, which is of course very in line with the brutality of a zombie apocalypse. I like that Frank has a mix of older and newer music, because even in an apocalypse we like to keep an open mind. Also, aside from working at Headless Hydra Press, Frank has a publishing company called Rogue Owl Press and they're releasing a new book through Kickstarter that's live now - a short story horror anthology featuring tales set in or around the sea. Check it out here!
JOSEPH CARRO - COMMUNITY MANAGER
"The Hand That Feeds" - Nine Inch Nails
This song is probably one of my most "on-the-nose" picks, because the lyrics can definitely be applied to zombies biting people, or people turning on one another animalistically. Because of its high-energy nature, to me it's perfect for zombie bashing. Its underlying themes of thinking for oneself and not blindly obeying authority can equally be applied in relationships with other survivors.
"Killing In the Name" - Rage Against the Machine
While this is more of a "defiance against authoritarianism" kind of song that's sort of political, the energy it brings and the anger its laced with could really be applicable to any sort of thing you're fighting against, even if that is a horde of zombies. Similar to my Nine Inch Nails pick above, thinking independently can save your life when it comes to staying alive during an apocalypse.
"Ace of Spades" - Motörhead
The ace of spades in a card deck is the highest-ranking card and is often associated with death and bad luck, which fits in perfectly with the human condition during a zombie apocalypse. The lyrics touch on the rush of adrenaline one gets while gambling, and that combined with the heavy hitting hard energy of the song make it one of the best songs to bash zombies to, in my opinion - because life in the apocalypse means you're filled with adrenaline and gambling with your life 24/7.
"Du Hast" - Rammstein
Translated to English from German, "Du Hast Mich" means "You Have Me". It sounds very close to "Du Hasst Mich" which means "You Hate Me" so depending on which version you want to hear, the song transforms from super positive and pledging allegiance to your fellow survivors or becoming an angry battle chant against the zombie horde. Your choice, but either sounds freakin' awesome.
"Electric Worry" - Clutch
The lyrics of "Electric Worry" describe a mysterious figure named John the Conquerer who possesses supernatural powers and is able to defeat his enemies using magic. The entire song explores the themes of mysticism and the supernatural and also the pace of the music lends itself well to melee combat, while the catchy chorus of "Bang Bang Bang Bang! Vamanos, vamanos!" would make a nice little pocket to fire off some bullets into the advancing horde. The blues-infused melody is also super upbeat and punchy, to boot.
"Immigrant Song" - Led Zeppelin
This pick was a no-brainer (no pun intended), as the song depicts in both lyric and melody the adventures of the Vikings as they travel to new lands and conquer their enemies. This, of course, fits in nicely with the mentality one must achieve to be a survivor in something like a zombie apocalypse. If Robert Plant screaming in battle rage doesn't give you goosebumps, I dunno what will.
"Highway Tune" - Greta Van Fleet
With its high energy and positive vibes, this song explores the adventure and tenacity of traveling the open road and everything that brings. Of course, traveling the country is the life of a survivor in most cases during zombie outbreaks, so this one was a natural pick. Just you, the open road, and all the zombies in between.
"Sabotage" - Beastie Boys
With its underlying anger, frustration, and intensity - "Sabotage" deals with the literal (being sabotaged and held back in your life or actions) but also with the metaphorical and people wishing to hinder or hold you back. Since humanity is being held back in a way if a zombie apocalypse happens, the anger would be understandable which makes it all the more satisfying as you hear the Beastie Boys shout while you battle undead.
"Master of Puppets" - Metallica
Though this song is more about the dangers of addiction, the themes present can also be applied somewhat to zombies. Puppets are controlled by their performers, and zombies are controlled by their eternal hunger for the living. Same difference, and the insane guitar riffs will let you expel some of that anger.
"Rusty Cage" - Soundgarden
At its core, "Rusty Cage" is about the innate human desire for freedom and escape, and as the song progresses through its intense rhythms, you can't help but think about how the survivors who emerge in a zombie apocalypse would be railing against their confinement and fear as well. This song would give them the perfect emotional conduit.
*Editor's Note: These were all purposefully high-energy, aggressive, and intense picks. I thought about maybe including some jokey songs, like "Whoomp! There It Is" - but these I think would more realistically be my picks. I wanted songs that would be a perfect match for high-stakes, action-packed scenarios with thumping bass lines and dynamic vocals that create a sense of urgency and intensity. You can never beat the "rule of cool" and these songs are cool as hell. PS - I don't just write content for Headless Hydra Press, I also have a website where you can check out my personal author blog where I post book reviews and news about my upcoming books, and you can even buy some of my books if you should so choose (but you've got to like horror stories). Check out my website here!
PAWEL PAROL - LEAD ILLUSTRATOR
"Starshine" - Gorillaz
Although the song has different interpretations, I like to see it as a story of a survivor on the run from zombies. Or, perhaps, people behaving like zombies. The ambient sounds in this song evoke some feeling of apathy that might dominate a post-apocalyptic world.
"Echoes" - Geneburn
Whenever I try to put myself in the world of zombies, I tend to lean toward music without lyrics the most. This track combines classical instruments with electronic sounds, and, to me, this is something that sounds perfect for post-apocalyptic settings.
"Something in the Way" - Nirvana
The interpretation of this song is probably well-known to most people who have ever heard Nirvana, but to me, the lyrics could be easily fitted in a survival setting.
"Lux Aeterna" - Clint Mansell, Kronos Quartet
Ever since I saw Requiem for a Dream, this song has been somewhere in the corner of my mind, popping up now and then. I started to associate it with the feeling of unknown danger that is so prevalent in all post-apocalyptic settings and games.
"Whispering Woods" - Black Hill
This one does not fit very well in a city setting, but for the outskirts of a small town or a cabin on the edge of the woods, it is just perfect. The calmness in this track is tinted with just a bit of mystery that could be found somewhere deeper between the trees.
*Editor's Note: Pawel's picks I enjoy because with them, it's easy to tell he's an artist as they are majority mood and ambience music and are very reflective, perhaps to counter the chaos of the zombie apocalypse with calm introspection.