Halloween compilation: The strange and the scary

The compilation album, "Happy Freakin' Halloween, Vol. 1."

The compilation album, “Happy Freakin’ Halloween Vol. 1.”

Every Christmas season, there’s a fresh batch of new holiday CDs. Every Halloween season … you’re lucky if there’s one or two. The reason is simple: There’s no market for it. No one gives CDs as presents for Halloween, and you’re not likely to hear a lot of creepy songs on the radio around this time of the year.

The Hillsborough-based label Lump’N’Loaf, though, which has already put out a Christmas compilation, is giving the Devil his due — and trying to win some exposure for the groups on its label, and other Jersey acts — with its compilation, “Happy Freakin’ Halloween Vol. 1.” Eleven acts contribute cuts that range from genuinely scary to just plain weird.

A Halo Called Fred goes for novelty value on “Cthulhu’s Head is a Great Big Squid” — which is as odd as you might imagine — as does Hu$h-Kat on “Night of 1,000 Cats,” a quirky nightmare about having “1,000 cats who want to eat me.”

On the more serious side, Haunt Me’s “My Soul to Bear” is ethereally … well, haunting, and Trio of Madness turns in a sleek instrumental built around the theme music for the movie “Halloween.” The VRN Project roars through the compilation’s hardest-rocking track, “Terra Malum (Earth Evil).”

In general, the original songs are more successful than the covers. The One and Dones and Little Dipper tackle Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” and Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath,” respectively, but can’t make listeners forget about the original, definitive performances. A little better is The Scars Glitter’s roiling take on Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper,” and Zigman Bird’s darkly charming version of Classic IV’s “Spooky.”

Tracks from the album are streaming and available for free download at lumpnloaf.com, facebook.com/lumpnloafrecords and soundcloud.com/lumpnloafrecords

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