Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Down in the Woods” — Valhall (2014)

Come and take my hand
Human child
Come and see my land
Human child
There is nothing to fear
Human child
You’ll never be alone
This will be your home…

This could be the most Halloween song we’ve shared in a long time. Maybe ever.

I’m not even kidding. Norwegian doom metal band Valhall’s Down In The Woods is a pretty pure distillation of a nightmarish fairy-tale landscape and its ensuing child-kidnapping/murder. From the pipe-organ mimicking intro, the descending minor key pattern that portents of a haunted trip down a terrifying path, to its shrieking-in-terror finale, this is a frozen moment of horror put to music.

The song itself, despite its heavy production values and orchestrations, is hauntingly threadbare. We really only have two verses to work with. The first verse sets the scene for us: a child deep in the woods, by himself. Is he lost, exploring, or abandoned? We’re not quite sure, not that it matters anyhow. He is greeted by… something. An ostensibly female voice appears, beckoning the “human child” to come with her. Could be a witch, could be a ghost, could be meat, could be cake. It doesn’t really matter. She brings the child to come see “her land”, where there is nothing to fear, where they will never be alone.

Mm hmm. I didn’t exactly sleep through all those episodes of Scooby Doo, thank YOU very much.

The second verse is sung as a mocking, haunting nursery rhyme. Lyrics from the 1907 John Walter Brannon children’s song “The Teddy Bears Picnic” are repurposed in the classic ‘One, two, Freddy’s coming for you’ style. Going down in the woods is never a good idea, but here the demonic voice promises a “big surprise”, that you need to go “in disguise”, and that you’re better off not going alone.

I’d say you’re better off hiding under your bed, but that’s just me being a massive coward. But an ALIVE massive coward, thank you very much.

Down In The Woods is a terrifying, dreadfully atmospheric track that warns us of the dangers in the dark places of the world, places that house ancient evils lurking at the fringes of the waking human world.

If you go down in the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today you better go in disguise
If you go down in the woods today you better not go alone
If you go down in the woods today you better go in disguise…

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019 Matthew Millheiser