Children are terrifying. OK, maybe not outright, but when something seems a bit sinister and you add children into the mix, things get eerie. You know, The Exorcist, Children of the Corn, The Shining. Those twins are scarier than any axe-wielding adult.

When nursery rhymes are involved, things get way worse. There’s something about the sing-song rhythm and repetition of nursery rhymes that can send chills up your spine. If you combine something as innocent as a nursery rhyme with dark music, you can feel your soul getting sucked down to hell. Heavy metal bands know this, and here are some of the best ways they’ve used that knowledge.

1. “Enter Sandman” by Metallica.
Metallica’s take on the sandman is a bit scarier than, say, “Mr. Sandman,” so it makes sense that their take on “Hush, Little Baby” would be as well. James Hetfield growls, “Hush, little baby, don’t say a word/ And nevermind that noise you heard,” and you know nobody’s buying anybody a mockingbird.

2. “Down In It” by Nine Inch Nails.
The first ever single by the industrial band ends with a monotonous refrain of “Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day,” but not like the way a kid would sing it on a rainy day. It sounds more like something you would blast at 3 a.m. with strobe lights flashing as an enhanced interrogation technique.

3. “Shoots and Ladders” by Korn.
Lead singer Jonathan Davis alternates between the demon-possessed babbling and full-on screaming of a bunch of nursery rhymes, including “Ring Around the Rosie,” “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe,” “London Bridge is Falling Down,” “This Old Man” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The nursery rhymes symbolize the innocence of childhood; they also save Davis the trouble of writing lyrics.

4. “I Am the Spider” by Alice Cooper.
Cooper’s 2008 album, Along Came a Spider, is the story of a serial killer named Spider, and its final song features the chorus “Along came a spider/ Crept up beside her/ Spun his web deep inside her.” Wait, that may be more gross than scary.

5. “Spieluhr” by Rammstein.
Look, we know heavy metal and nursery rhymes are terrifying, but adding the German language into the mix makes it even worse. Rammstein uses a traditional German nursery rhyme, “Hoppe Hoppe Reiter,” in this song, but tweaks it a tiny bit. In the original, it’s about falling off a horse and crying. In Rammstein’s version, it’s about not going to heaven and rain falling on your grave. Oh, Germany.


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posted by Dave Shumka on Jul 02, 2012