Defining Gothic Metal: The Truth And Lies Of The Scene


Written by: DerRozzengarten
Published: 23.05.2006


"First and Last and Always", to name a specific metal genre as gothic, which makes the oh-so renowned and overabused gothic metal term, this specific metal genre MUST have references and influences from the gothic rock/dark wave scene from the 80s. Apparently, without any second thought and a shadow of doubt, many bands from this so-called commercial and big scene are not gothic metal because they have not a single reference from the gothic rock/dark wave scene of the 80s. It really is something funny for metalheads that know nothing about this scene to speak about gothic music. But what is even more funny is the fact that part of the metal scene dislikes goths and when you ask them "which people do you refer to as goths?" you get the answer "those people, man, that paint their eyes black and listen to Marilyn Manson endlessly", even from this you can get that a big part of the metal scene really has nothing to do in knowledge and experience about the gothic subculture, its bands and its audience. And thus this over-confusion passes in the gothic metal scene.

You see, the gothic subculcture has all these chicks dressed in black, with the cute faces, the beautiful make up and stuff, yes, I know, they are beautiful, I adore them as well, but, sadly, when a female-fronted metal band starts sounding a bit more symphonic/atmospheric or even a bit melancholic and has a female singer, preferably cute that stands as the front of the band and wears all these beautiful scarlet or velvet or black dresses with flowers and stuff, people start referring to this band as gothic metal, for no reason apparently. A female singer that has a more obscure and "poetic" dress-code won't make a band a gothic one, apparently, it's the music that matters, not the supposed dress-code. And so we come to bands like Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, Epica, After Forever and so on, well, these bands have nothing to do, more or less each one of them (or used to have a slight reference but they have nothing to do anymore), with the gothic metal genre, the only common thing they have as bands is that they are female-fronted, does this make them gothic metal? No, for fuck's sake no! Ok, they have their own atmosphere each one of them, they have some strong female vocalists, some good tunes, others more others less, but that's all people; no gothic elements, no gothic metal.

If you want some bands with female vocalists that actually play gothic metal then you should definitely check Tristania of the first era (who can deny that "Widow's Weeds" has gothic rock elements? I'll give the answer, no-one can because these elements are present in the guitar work; and let's not forget the gothic rock guest male vocals on "Angellore" ), Theatre Of Tragedy of the first three releases, yes, they are gothic metal, and not because Liv Kristine used to wear black dresses and have that absolute female gothic look, just check the music, apparently gothic metal, then come Trail Of Tears, their first releases are also strong and gothic metal, really good work and it seems to me at times that the gothic metal scene including female vocals blossomed in Norway, judging from the bands I mentioned above. And of course I shouldn't skip to mention Sirenia, the band Morten Veland formed after he left Tristania, another wonderful gothic metal act, with intense gothic rock elements, even the hat in the vein of The Sisters Of Mercy/The Fields Of The Nephilim is present, hehe (if you don't believe me ask Mr. Veland and check Elusive's debut album, "Destination Zero", to see which are his influences; for the history, Elusive are a rising gothic rock act from Norway and Veland played the guitars on this album) and of course I shouldn't skip to mention Beseech, they have female vocals as well in their compositions, but they are a 50%-50% female-male fronted band now, with balanced male and female vocals. Just check their first two releases, pure romantic gothic/doom metal with The Fields Of The Nephilim references being too intense, both in guitar parts filled with gothic rock riffing and vocal lines in which the first singer of the band sounds like a reincarnation of Carl McCoy. And of course I shouldn't skip to mention As Divine Grace from Finland, they used to be a romantic doom/death metal act but with years they became more gothic metal oriented, with female vocals, a really strong band that sadly disbanded.

You know, a band to be called gothic metal must have references from the gothic rock/dark wave scene as I said above, which means, Christian Death (with Rozz Williams on the vocals of course, hehehe! Or Valor of "Atrocities", it was an awesome album, i have to admit it! And why not "Sex & Drugs & Jesus Christ", their last really strong album with Valor!), The Mission, The Sisters Of Mercy, The Fields Of The Nephilim, Bauhaus, early The Cult, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Clan Of Xymox, Virgin Prunes, early Dead Can Dance etc must be present, with each band sticking to its own references. And what the history has shown to me is that whenever gothic rock acts started turning heavier and more metal-oriented they made far better work from gothic metal acts, because gothic rockers really know what to do, they have the feeling in their blood, it's flowing, they know how to express it correctly and make it sound heavier if they want to enter a heavier sound stage. And of course I will mention some gothic rock/metal acts and first and above all one of the best gothic acts of the 90s that most of you don't know, DREADFUL SHADOWS, listen to them to feel the decadence, the sorrow, the pain, the gothic aesthetic, the gothic feeling from a band that released four great albums and with every album it tended to sound steps further, reaching "The Cycle" where more modern references made their appearance. After Dreadful Shadows sadly disbanded Sven Friedrich and Norman Selbig of Dreadful Shadows formed Zeraphine, another wonderful gothic rock/metal act with a more modern approach of course. Another fabulous gothic rock/metal act have to be Scream Silence, at times tending to sound like Dreadful Shadows, but they tended to perfect their own sound, their first two album are the most metallic ones and the other three are heavy still, but more gothic rock definitely; at times they tend to have a doomy feeling as well. Secret Discovery is a good band as well, moving in pure gothic rock in their early years and from a moment and on they started sounding a lot more metallic. Also, Love Like blood is a gothic rock band ,one of the best if you ask me, they have released some really strong opuses during the first half of the 90s, in the second half of the 90s from a moment and on they started sounding heavy and "Snakekiller" is a good gothic metal/rock album. Take Garden of Delight now, one of the best gothic rock acts of the 90s, they released in 7 years 7 albums with 7 songs each one of them, they disbanded afterwards, after the first circle had ended. They came back in the 00s, stronger, heavier, more powerful, but above all gothic rock. After 4 albums they formed Lutherion and they definitely are gothic metal/rock now, sounding really heavy, gothic rock-oriented and with an electro touch as well! Most and above all I shouldn't forget to mention the metal approach of Carl McCoy, first with The Nefilim in the second half of the 90s and recently with the dynamic come back of the Fields Of The Nephilim. "Zoon" of the Nefilim was a brilliant piece of thrash/death metal blended with strong doses of gothic rock in the renowned McCoy n' Fields vein and "Mourning Sun" of The Fields Of The Nephilim is an album of pure gothic rock/metal, a really strong release to show to the gothic metal scene who can rule the scene in no time. And let's mention NFD, a The Nefilim oriented project, heavy enough and always gothic rock and another project from members of The Nefilim, Saints Of Eden, gothic rock with heavy doses of metal and electronic/industrial elements, sounding really heavy and definitely really strong!

Now concerning some gothic metal acts I should mention Evereve of their first era with Tom Schedotschenko, heart-rending, twisted, mourning gothic metal from the pits of Hell, utterly desolate and melancholic, with the ideal references! After the suicide of the singer a new singer came on board and they released an easier album, gothic metal still, afterwards they started moving in more electronic soundscapes. Darkseed as well, they definitely had gothic-oriented references in albums like "Diving Into Darkness" and "Give Me Light" etc, a good band definitely. Paradise Lost OF COURSE and no matter how much doomsters hit their asses on the wall and point out that "Gothic" is doom/death metal I will always be there to be a pain in the ass and their closed mind to point out that it is one of the first pure gothic metal releases, not because of the name, "Gothic", but because of the music. Listen carefully, the gothic rock references on the guitars are too obvious, where Sisters Of Mercy stepped Paradise Lost found water. The orchestrations have a Celtic Frost sense from the "Into The Pandemonium" era and a dark wave aesthetic as well along with the fragile female vocals that seem to have come out of the 80s dark wave scene. Sure, it has a doom sense, but think about it more. Paradise Lost continued as a gothic metal act after "Shades Of God" (which was doom metal at all costs) releasing many fabulous albums like "Draconian times", "Icon", "One Second", "Paradise Lost" etc, one of the best acts of the gothic metal scene. I shouldn't skip Lacrimosa, one of the most important acts of this very scene; i have heard/read that they are progressive gothic metal, this statement always sounded funny to me from people that really have absolutely nothing to do with the scene. Tilo Wolf is a pure genius, from the gothic-death rock/dark wave oriented first releases of Lacrimosa to the historic moment when Anne Nurmi entered the band and Lacrimosa started becoming metal, gothic metal of course! Because the references remained, the doses of classical music became too obvious and one of the characteristic parts of the sound of the band. Generally they kept the Lacrimosa feeling alive, they just became one of the most quality, recognisable and best acts of the scene. Lacrimas Profundere, from a romantic doom/death metal act they started slowly and steadily incorporating in their sound gothic references reaching nowadays where they are a goth n' roll act, slightly metal, more of a rock band, gothic rock with a poser attitude. And since I mentioned the poser attitude of Lacrimas Profundere I shouldn't skip at all to mention The 69 Eyes, a non-metal band, they are goth n' roll as well, at some times offering more more romantic gothic rock like on "Paris Kills", at others more hard rock/gothic rock having several references from the 80s/early 90s. Where the Sisters Of Mercy left "Vision Thing" and The Cult left their releases Jyrki, Jussi and their companions stole them and found out many useful things for the now-sound of The 69 Eyes and Jyrki where Ian Astbury and the singer of LA Guns stood proud stole a bit of their pride to form his stage presence. So no, The 69 Eyes are not metal, poser gothic rock or goth n' roll yes, definitely. A! Beyond Dawn's "Pity Love" shouldn't be missing from here as well, an album having the decadence of doom, references from the doom metal scene and of course intense The Sisters Of Mercy passages, both in structure and guitar parts, but always tending to present them through their very own and unique avant-garde prism. I shouldn't forget to mention, just for the history, that Beyond Dawn during that period were supporting the Sisters Of Mercy at some of their shows, not a coincidence, is it? I shouldn't skip Tiamat, they had a good course changing their sound from album to album, progressing positively, and as you all noticed they had their gothic rock-driven moments as well. Their latest release to date "Prey" was a metallic gothic rock worship with Edlund's haunting vocals entrancing the atmosphere, "Skeleton Skeletron" had also a gothic rock air, quite modern in sound, good enough but nothing awesome and "A Deeper Kind Of Slumber" which was a mixture of psychedelic rock with gothic rock and stuff, good work! And some of you that may know, Johan Edlund has a gothic rock oriented band, Lucyfire, good stuff. Also, The Babylon Whores, not many know them, but they are awesome, a metal-driven Christian Death worship band, they know what they are doing, really good act! Another bright example of a band that injected intense 80s gothic/dark elements have to be Portugal's finest and most known act, Moonspell, with bands like "The Antidote", "Sin/Pexado" (a very underrated album), "Darkness And Hope" and "Irreligious", they have to be one of those bands that interpret gothic metal in a really good and personal manner! Also, a new band around that had quite an impressive course so far with their two releases are definitely The Vision Bleak, travelling through the corridors of nightmares, drama, horror and gothic decadence they offer a new and fresh air to the scene! Also, Yearning from Finland are doing a good job with their esoteric and beautifully adorned by sadness and esoteric emotions gothic/doom metal. Last but not least Kreator's "Endorama" is a thousand times more gothic metal than all those so-called gothic metal bands that are being referred as gothic metal by the silly music press and the audience that knows nothing about what is gothic, doesn't "Endorama" sound so gothic metal to you? Change scene! It's so simple!

The problem with the gothic metal scene doesn't end here, there are two more problems with the scene except for the female-fronted bands that are mostly being referred by both press and audience as gothic metal and of course i'm referring to part of the Visual Kei scene and the Suomi Metal scene with bands tending to sound romantic, melancholic or suicidal, moving in metal/rock soundscapes with common road on their course being the melancholy factor. Concerning the Visual Kei scene with bands like Moi Dix Mois, Malice Mizer and stuff, they have an intense gothic aesthetic in their appearance, but this is the most gothic part of their existence, their music apart from some keyboard-driven really dark passages has nothing to do with the gothic rock/dark wave scene and the Bauhaus references in those bands that i have read somewhere is definitely non-existent and i know Bauhaus really well to not recognise them in a band. Well, part of the Visual Kei that is being referred as gothic metal could be the Japanese option of gothic metal, somethng different, something "foreign" to the European scene/audience, so I won't be absolute in this case. I have to admit, anytime with the hand on my heart, that those Visual Kei bands are more gothic than all the other female-fronted or Suomi "we're supposed to be gothic" metal bands will ever be, both in reality and dreams. And let's move to the Suomi metal scene, believe me, I used to be a huge fan of this very specifc scene supporting bands like HIM, Entwine, For My Pain, Poisonblack, Charon, Sentenced, Lullacry, To Die For etc, I still support Entwine, HIM and To Die For because all those three are bands that have a lot to offer in my opinion, but really, where did you people find all these gothic elements in their compositions? You can always inform me because I'm craving to know more about gothic music and I would love to find out where all these elements hide and I can't find them. I had read somewhere that Sentenced were gothic metal and on their latest releases they became gothic rock, HA HA! I mean, how funny is that? Only a metalhead that knows nothing about the gothic scene would ever say that, and a metalhead was indeed the person who said that. Ignorance is bad, definitely bad, and in this case ignorance has caused a lot of harm, something that disgusts me seeing it going on more and more day by day.

Well, I got bored writing and I think you'll get bored reading too, so I will stop for now, but I will have to warn all of you i-know-it-all metalheads (to avoid misunderstandings, I'm not referring to every single metalhead, but to a specific part of it) that will give my article a shot, "if the truth hurts, prepare for pain". Kisses!

"Lipstick on my cigarette…"



 


Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 77   Visited by: 185 users
23.05.2006 - 17:49
Syk
myspace/bonerama
Dude, that was hard as hell to read, and didn't tell me at all why the bands wrongly called gothic metal, are not gothic metal =\
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deaththrashdeath/doom/prog ‡ Hail Zoldon!

he's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays
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23.05.2006 - 18:02
Falcon
How did you dare not to mention Virgin Black!:o:) I adore that band:P But I agree with almost everthing you wrote.
@ Syk: she did, read carefully;)
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°~\m/~° Thoughts of death inside tear me apart from the core of my soul °~\m/~°
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23.05.2006 - 19:44
CrestfallenSouL
Account deleted
sorry but this article doesn't help me at all defining gothic metal, cause all you do is to enumerate bands which are gothic and others whicht are not. there is only one reason you tell, namely that a gothic "MUST have references and influences from the gothic rock/dark wave scene from the 80s". that's quite poor...
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23.05.2006 - 20:08
DerRozzengarten
Odysseus
@CrestfallenSoul: By saying that the bands to be called as gothic metal must have references from the 80s dark wave/gothic rock scene is the only criteria for their labelling as gothic metal or not. Those who know the 80s definitely understand what i'm talking about. It's a matter of experience as well on the gothic metal sound and the sound of the dark wave/gothic rock scene and you get to nkow the gothic metal scene and its elements by experience as time passes by and you get to know some things better and better. As for the bands i referred to as gothic rock/metal, gothic metal and non-gothic metal i mentioned them as an opinion for people to see some gothic metal acts, which bands have been misunderstood and wrongly referred as gothic metal and stuff. he fact that i placed many bands in my article helps a lot, at least i think so.

@MetalFalcon: Next time i will mention Virgin Black! For now to be forgiven i will cleanse my mouth with Holy Water for i have forgotten them! Thanks for the positive support. By the way, from "she" take offf the "s" and you'll get to find my true gender!

@Syk: Read again, listen to some bands, train your ear and then read again.
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Dec. 30, 1334.

...And the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.
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23.05.2006 - 20:33
Aske
Account deleted
virgin black have gothic elements...but i think they are more like an avantgarde doom act with enormous classical influences...not that gothic in my opinion...i think this article hasnt got the clearest way to define gothic rock/metal....but i think every metalhead should understand it´s definition only by the above mentioned bands..it´s a nice way to clasify it!
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23.05.2006 - 20:53
DerRozzengarten
Odysseus
@Aske: I would agree on the avantgarde doom metal with gothic elements, i like the artistic and theatrical approach of the band. It's been some time since i last listened to them, but that's another story, hehe! Thanks a lot for your words, my article might not have the clearest way to show a definition of the genre, but i pretty much think it gives a good impression of what gothic metal is and what isn't gothic metal. I don't intend to define gothic rock, but i refer to gothic rock/metal acts, heavier gothic rock acts that have an intense sense of metal in them, because i think these bands have a place in the gothic metal scene since a big part of their sound is metallic enough. As i said in my comment above, i think that gothic metal is being classified through experience and i think the best way to get someone to know about it is to offer some characteristic bands, some more well-known, some more underground, and i think i explained quite a lot and with many bands on the sound gothic metal may have in general. I think that gothic metal is being defined in a far better way by ear-training. But i think that by reading carefully my article a clear view on the gothic metal scene comes out, if the one reading it is willing to search afterwards after he/she has paid attention to it, at least i think so. But thanks for considering that it was a nice way to classify it through the aforementioned bands, though i don't think it was only a band-driven way to clasify it.
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Dec. 30, 1334.

...And the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.
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23.05.2006 - 20:58
Falcon
@ DerRozzengarten: ghaha sorry dude! With the photo of that lady in your profile and the 'Pzycho Bitch' title I was misled

@ Aske: well yeah, they're not 100% gothic indeed, there are some (avantgarde) doom elements in their music, sometimes even more than just elements, and they experiment a lot with classical and industrial angles. But IMO it is basically gothic metal, wíth influences from the gothic rock/dark wave scene from the 80s to find in it, not always though. But of course you can discuss it; each of their albums differs quite a lot from the others. Here on MS they even call it 'operatic' gothic metal, whatever that may be
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°~\m/~° Thoughts of death inside tear me apart from the core of my soul °~\m/~°
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23.05.2006 - 21:06
X-FrEaK
"Moonspell, with bands like "The Antidote", "Sin/Pexado" (a very underrated album)"

hum...band like? sin pexado?lol...

i couldnt read it all, ill take some time later to read it all
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23.05.2006 - 21:11
DerRozzengarten
Odysseus
@X-FrEaK: Obviously, i made a small mistake there. I wanted to write "albums" instead of bands and the "x" instead" of "c" on "Sin/Pecado" was a small type mistake, x and c near the one to the other on the keyboard and i pressed the x one by mistake. Thanks for mentioning it.
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Dec. 30, 1334.

...And the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.
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23.05.2006 - 22:17
Nasi2
Pretty interesting and clear article. I agree with everything that you've stated in here, DerRozzengarten. I'm tired of hearing about the oh-so-called gothic tendencies of After Forever, for example, when they're not gothic at all. I hope this text will help son metalheads to clear their ideas.;D
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23.05.2006 - 23:34
Dark Cornatus
Powerslave
Well spoken Rozz, i admit i know nothing about the 80's gothic wave, but i am labelling the right bands gothic (ie. Tristania, Sirenia, Trail Of Tears), i dont know how poeple can class all those Symphonic Power/Atmospherical acts as gothic.
Ive seen you type these 'essays' of articles in threads before, so i give you a big thanks, thats alot of time spent to help others!
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24.05.2006 - 00:17
Susan
Smeghead
Thanks for writing so much for us Rozz! I will use this as a "suggested listening" list when trying to understand the roots of gothic metal. Someone mentioned that you didn't "define" gothic metal enough but I agree with you - LISTENING is the only way to truly understand! You're awesome
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"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
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24.05.2006 - 00:21
DerRozzengarten
Odysseus
@Nasi2: Thanks a lot for your positive feedback, it's pretty much appreciated, i'm glad you agree with my opinion on gothic metal. Hehem believe me, i'm so tired as well hearing about so gothic metal are After Forever and such bands, it has become boring from a moment and on! I hope the article helps, at least a bit, but from what i noticed so far it's not helping so much!

@Dark Cornatus: Thanks a lot for your positive feedback as well and i'm glad you know where to refer to as gothic metal, it's really admirable, at least to me. Yeah, it's pretty much obscure and confusing how can people can slassify symphonic power atmospheric and such female-fronted metal acts as gothic, it still remains a mystery to me! Thanks alot once again for the really good words!

@Lyrinan: I'd like to thank you as well for your words in your comment, i'm glad you agree with the "listening" part, i pretty much think that gothic metal the best way to be defined is to listen and listen and listen in order to form your very own opinion, an opinion that will be pacing with the opinions at most parts with people that had a similar course of listening and searching. Thanks a lot for taking into consideration my suggested list of bands, it's pretty much appreciated.
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Dec. 30, 1334.

...And the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.
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24.05.2006 - 10:14
Promonex
Cathemeral
"I hate Gothic Metal! Operatic vocals should stay out of metal!"

"Here, give this a try."
"What is it?"
"The Vision Bleak."
"And what do they play?"
"Gothic Metal."
"Ewww, you mean that Within Temptation crap?! No way I gonna listen to it!"

"You're the wise guy, please explain me what classifies bands as Gothic Metal? Why is After Forever Gothic Metal and Nightwish not? Both have female vocals, so that should make them both Gothic Metal, shouldn't it?"


I hate it when stuff like that happens...
Thanks for this article, Rozz! AGAINST THE IGNORANCE OF THE MASSES!!!
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All life begins with Nu and ends with Nu... This is the truth! This is my belief! ...At least for now.
- The Mystery of Life, Vol. 841 Ch. 26
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24.05.2006 - 14:06
Talvi
Very nice article! But I would like to suggest you a couple of things. One, bold band names. There are a lot of bands I haven't seen before, and I would like to see, that way, this will be more organizated.

Two, I agree that bands like Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, etc. aren't gothic metal. But then, what genre they are?

Thanks!
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My account on other musical pages:
http://www.last.fm/user/Pozito/
http://rateyourmusic.com/~Talvi
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24.05.2006 - 14:55
Black_Handed
A village idiot
hmm so i got a question...is therion gothic metal?? its not mentioned here, so im not quite sure.
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Cryptic Bleak Smurf of Ur
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24.05.2006 - 15:29
DerRozzengarten
Odysseus
@Black_Handed: Therion has to be one of my old favorite bands, i own all of their albums original and i even have the original version of "Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas" back from 1993 from Megarock Records :dgrin: Therion are easy to label, at least in my opinion, their first two releases are death metal and from their third album, "Symphony Masses" (which was some kind of primary symphonic death metal), the symphonic elements start becoming an intense part of the sound of Therion and from album to album they were becoming more and more and definitely more affected and well-expressed reaching nowadays being one of the most important symphonic metal bands, having their very own sound and perspective of what is symphonic metal. Well, they had symphonic elements on "Beyond Sanctorum" as well on the song "Symphony Of Dead" if i recall well because it's been a long time since i last listened to Therion, but these elements were on a really primary phase and started blooming from "Symphony Masses" and on. So no, they are not gothic metal and that's why i didn't mention them in the list.

@Largos: Thanks a lot for your words! You are right, i should have put in bold the names of the bands and the names of personalities i mention in the article, but for now i can't edit my own articles/reviews and stuff, it's somekind of a bug, i will fix it as soob as possible what you told me to in the article when i can. I'm glad you agree on the fact that Evanescence, Lacuna Coil and stuff are not gothic metal. Evanescence to me are an atmospheric nu metal band, or something like that, almost the same implies for Lacuna Coil, i consider them a meodic atmospheric metal act, Within Temptation to me are a symphonic/atmospheric metal band and so it goes on for some other female-fronted metal bands that are not gothic metal.

@Promonex: I hate it as well when these things happen and the sad thing is that it happens a lot! I remember at the Arcturus/Theatre Of Tragedy live show there was a dude with obscure hair and a nightwish t-shirt and a guy with an emperor t-shirt near me said to his friend "look at this, he looks gay wit hthe gothic t-shirt, nightwish suck", i found it funny Thanks for your words, Porno!
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Dec. 30, 1334.

...And the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.
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24.05.2006 - 15:32
Black_Handed
A village idiot
ok thank you i needed to have it cleared up
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Cryptic Bleak Smurf of Ur
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24.05.2006 - 16:38
GT
Coffee!!
Thanks for the article...long as hell, but now I finally have an idea about what gothic is all about
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Dreams are made so we don't get bored when we sleep
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24.05.2006 - 16:57
Markku
Account deleted
I have actually no clue about what gothic metal is because out of those listed bands above i've only heard a few Tristania's songs (have no idea of which era)

One thing i knew(by reading your earlier posts Rozz) i know what gothic isn't.

A question to ast is what genre are bands like Lacuna Coil, Within... etc, they aren't gothic that should be clear for everyone now, then what genre they are.

You could write an article about gothic rock/darkwave too. I think many would be interested in knowning what gothic music is really about.
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24.05.2006 - 17:16
^Necrolust^
Even if I'm not a fan of the scene,only with one exception ( yes, SOM ),it was interesting reading your HUGE article
I agree with the part about bands with female vocalists considered as gothic only because of the appearance and some ''melancholy''.
And I agree also with the last part about Suomi metal bands.I cant,I cant i'll explode if I dont say it.HIM are not gothic *feels relieved*
And the last sentence too,when you say that metalheads that dont know anything about the genre,but they keep judging.Unfortunately this thing happens on other genres too,and it's very sad to see people judging,criticising music ,without listening to it.
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Sin my soul,blesses with fire....
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24.05.2006 - 23:14
AntaeusM
Elite
eh Rozz..you are wrong about your Visual Kei statement.

A lot, I repeat, A LOT of the Visual Kei bands are influenced by bands such as Bauhaus. Actually, try to listen to some Lucifer Luscious Violenoue or Fiction. Both bands are the most obvious example of gothic rock influences(hell, I would almost call that band the female version of Bauhaus with Japanese lyrics).

As far as Moi Dix Mois and Malice Mizer goes. Malice Mizer isn't gothic metal, Moi Dix Mois is. How would you decribe them otherwise? The riffing are quite similar to other gothic metal bands. And what about the atmosphere? it could easily be compared with bands such as Sirenia.

For the rest, I heavily agree with you about the whole "minsinterpretating" of gothic metal, but I cannot really say that influences from the gothic rock scene are an essential part of being a gothic metal act. The gothic metal bands who are more metal than gothic hardly show any influences from the gothic rock scene, but still they are gothic metal.

Great article nonetheless, it was interesting to see how a die-hard gothic rock/metaller thinks about it
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25.05.2006 - 00:26
wolfborn
Jah, good that it's written down, alltough that's probably too much to read for most of the people. And maybe you should have given an "alternative" genre definition for some female fronted metal bands, which is very often atmospheric metal.

I would have added Stillborn's (swe) "Necrospirituals" as a pure gothic metal referense. Truely classic album from 1989. It's often worshiped by doom metal fans, but it is truely 100 % gothic/metal crossover music, the way it should be. it's also an album that influenced Paradise Lost and Type'O'Negative pretty much.

I wouldn't have mentioned Yearning. They are truly talented band, but as I know them personally, there's no traditional gothic rock influence behind the music, it's more like classical music & metal.

But the basic thing is there - in gothic metal, you must hear the presence and influence of both music styles, metal and gothic rock (Joy Division, Bauhaus, The Cure, The Mission, Fields of the Nephilim and so on). The knowledge of gothic rock is the side that metal people usually lack, and on the other hand, metal knowledge is the thing that most gothic people don't have.
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www.myspace.com/deathstyler
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25.05.2006 - 01:24
Deus Ex Machina
This needed to be written down,and no better person to do it than you,cause you seem to be one of the rare ones with patience to explain this stuff.I'd probably lose myself half way through the text you know how i am...aaaanyways.The stuff you said is very true and i hope will help in clearing possible misunderstanding that occur too often when discussing this subject.
Isn't labelling wonderful?Label on Pzycho Bitch(you know what i mean )
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25.05.2006 - 03:35
Jason W.
Razorbliss
Well I'm mostly familiar with your interpretation of the real definition of gothic metal, so I followed your article pretty well. It may be exhausting to read for gothic newbs, but I think anyone with a genuine interest in gothic metal or metal knowledge would want to read this... so thank you for putting so much time into this!

I am not as knowledgeable about the 80s gothic scene as you are, but back in the late 90s when I first heard Sentenced (and all their albums since), I never understood why all these reviews kept calling them "gothic metal." I had (at the time) recently started listening to the ToT "Aegis" album and the new band, Tristania, and their album "Widows Weeds," and a band like Sentenced seemed so far away from the gothic sounds of Tristania especially. I think articles like this are very important to the future of "genre classification," because as history shows, it takes several years for a "genre" to really be explained properly by the metal world. I'm sure in 10 years, we will have much less confusion in this subject if enough of us convince the metal community to understand what gothic really is--and also what it is NOT.
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"After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley
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25.05.2006 - 14:35
DerRozzengarten
Odysseus
@Black_Handed: You very welcome.

@GT: Thanks a lot for your positive words, i'm truly really glad it helped you in the search of what gothic metal is. But it was long indeed, even i got bored writing it from a moment and on! :p

@Markku: To me, LAcuna Coil are a kind of an atmospheric metal band, haven't listened to their new release, but i own their previous three and that's what they are to me, an atmospheric metal band; once i had read that they are a post gothic metal band, it only made me laugh. Within Temptation, without having listened to their latest album as well to me are a symphonic/atmospheric metal band and so it goes on. I'm glad you know what isn't gothic, it's something important to me. As for the gothic rock/dark wave article, i would love to do so sometime, but it requires a whole lot more work than this article, it requires a whole lot more time because the important bands are many, with a personal sound, their influences, how it all began from post punk and stuff, it requires a lot of work which i don't know if i can accomplish right now, but it's a good idea the one you gave me.

@Necrolust: Hey ho Maria! Thanks a lot for taking your time to read my 1-line article! I'm glad your comment after having read my article made you feel relieved (points at HIM)! I bet you had an awesome and tranquil sleep at night after you cleansed your soul, or the gorylanthrwps came? Yes, this happens with metalheads, judging without knowing, that's why i dislike a big part of the metal audience and i would be ashamed up to an extent to be called a metalhead (anymore).

@Blackgir: I'm pretty damn sure you know a whole lot than me on the gothic/"gothic"-driven side of the Visual Kei musical movement and i'm pretty damn sure that i don't know as much as i should, i only spoke judging from Moi Dix Mois and such, a band i didn't find so gothic, their latest release was metal nevertheless, i'm not so sure about the gothic touch of it, but as i said above, i won't be absolute with this scene, they could be the japanese option for gothic metal/rock, something different from the european/american scene, relying quite a lot though on the image. As for their riffing though i didn't find it so gothic-oriented, it is in fact very simple and he almost just plays specific things, heavily distorted of course, but just playing specific chords. As for the atmosphere i definitely enjoy it, it's pretty dark. As for the Bauhaus references on Moi Dix Mois, the only reference that caught my attention was that they are definitely influenced in the make-up and stuff by the most extreme dark macabre photos of Bauhaus, didn't find some sound references. But i have to check the other two bands you mentioned, but the goddamn thing is that after the format my pc didn't recognise the sound drive and i can't listen to something from the pc and Nero causes me unxpected problems while writing cds this period, it must have been the new mark of cds i bought the last time probably, i will download though and sooner or later i will have the chance to listen to them. I'm glad you agree on the misinterpretation of the scene, it happens every day! As for the gothic rock/dark wave references it's really important to me for them to exist. I'm glad you enjoyed reading the article, thanks!

@wolfborn: Haha, it was a really big article for people to read, but you know, i am generally pissed off with the whole sHituation that i couldn't stop! I definitely agree with you, i should have given an alternative explanation on what these female-fronted bands are, i consider them as something like atmospheric metal most of them, some others having more symphonic elements and so it goes on. But damn, this "Necrospirituals" album! I'm searching for it since the first time you mentioned it to me and still i haven't found it and i want to listen to it so badly! As for Yearning, dunno, you may be right since i'm new to their music and i have listened to their latest releases the most, but i had found some elements in their sound, but i totally agree on the classical music references! You're one of the persons i agree in many parts concerning the scene, something i appreciate a lot! "The knowledge of gothic rock is the side that metal people usually lack, and on the other hand, metal knowledge is the thing that most gothic people don't have." So true!

@Deus Ex Machina: Majita! Thanks a lot for kind words you sweet zombina cenobita! Labels labels everywhere! (you know as well what i mean, I'm Joe Labell! ) I'm glad you agree with my opinion and i hope it will clear some misunderstandings in the scene. Now the label on Pzycho Bitch Pzycho Bitch is Sina's band that has influences from the industrial, the techno, the EBM, the intense dance-pop scene etc and along with the unique personality of Sina the bands tends to form a sound of its own! Labels labels evewywhewe! XD

@dismaleuphony: Thanks a lot for your kind words dismal! They are very much appreciated! But it was exhausting indeed! XD I never understood why Sentenced were "gothic" either, it still remains a mystery to me. I'm glad you enjoyed reading this article and i'm really glad as well you have a really good opinion on gothic metal! And i hope as well that in ten years for example the things will be much clearer in what is and what isn't gothic metal.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! It took some time to reply! Now some rest time!
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Dec. 30, 1334.

...And the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.
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25.05.2006 - 22:06
VaronoZz
Vampbaron
oh... i really liked this topic its one of the best topics have been written, and in the majority of his points he is absolutely right..
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give praise for the blood it bled,
grant a rose for the dead...
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26.05.2006 - 03:23
Vanwarp
Your article is confusing and not conclusive. Here are some decent definitions I found:

Gothic Rock:

Gothic Rock has its roots back in the Eighties or even Seventies, with bands like BAUHAUS or THE SISTERS OF MERCY. The sound of these bands mostly was/is very dark and melancholic, with a big emphasis on dark, suicidal or also romantic lyrics and a strong visual image as well, black clothes, black hair, stark white skin. The genre bounced into greater popularity with a new breed of Gothic Rock bands with many of them coming from Finland such as H.I.M. and 69 EYES. With them the music changed into an even more romantic one and incorporated a more Pop approach while still keeping a certain level of melancholy with the band's image and the lyrics. With the darkly romantic and suicidal music especially H.I.M. have created a new Gothic Rock sub-genre called Love Metal. Examples: THE SISTERS OF MERCY, BAUHAUS, H.I.M., 69 EYES. (Alex Melzer/Jari Huusko)

Sonically, goth rock took the cold synthesizers and processed guitars of post-punk and used them to construct foreboding, sorrowful, often epic soundscapes. Early on, its lyrics were usually introspective and intensely personal, but its poetic sensibilities soon led to a taste for literary romanticism, morbidity, religious symbolism, and/or supernatural mysticism.

Goth rock was generally not a critically acclaimed style, given its penchant for florid poetry, relentlessly mournful dirges, and melodramatic excess. However, it spawned a devoted, still-thriving subculture that kept its aesthetics alive long after the music's initial heyday had passed. The godfathers of goth-rock were British post-punkers Joy Division, whose bleak, remote, obsessively introspective music and lyrics laid the initial foundation for goth. But for all intents and purposes, the true birth of goth rock was "Bela Lugosi's Dead," the 1979 debut single by Bauhaus. Already chilly post-punk outfits like the Cure and Siouxsie & the Banshees became full-on goth bands around the same time, and their heavy, menacing makeup and dark clothes became an important part of their fans' expression.

As goth rock's popularity spread among a certain segment of sensitive, alienated youth (first in the U.K., where most of its bands came from, then in the U.S.), its fashion sense grew more and more outlandish, and the original sound evolved somewhat. The Cure, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and the Mission UK incorporated more pop and alternative elements in their music, while the Sisters of Mercy, Fields of the Nephilim, and the American band Christian Death took a heavier, sometimes metal-influenced approach. By the end of the '80s, the original goth-rock movement had ceased to exist, but the music mutated into new forms and continued to influence many of rock's darker subgenres. During the '90s, the goth sound began to cross-pollinate with industrial music, producing hybrids that appealed to both sides, as well as the darkwave subgenre (which also incorporated '80s synth-pop and dream-pop).

The latter half of the '90s also saw goth rock's influence cropping up all over heavy metal; a new breed of progressive black metal bands drew heavily from goth's sound and style, while some alternative metal bands also borrowed from goth rock's visual imagery (including Marilyn Manson, who — despite countless news reports to the contrary — is not a goth-rock artist).

Gothic Metal:

As so often it has been the title of an album that founded a scene: "Gothic" (1991) by British PARADISE LOST was a milestone of heavy, but very sad guitar music. Additionally they had a female singer on board, a future genre defining "element", because in no part of guitar oriented music the female quota is higher than in Gothic Rock/Metal. Generally one could say that Gothic Metal is about sad topics and stuff like dead, longing for death or also romanticism, the musical side is just as widespread, so you can find slow and crushing variations as well as more electronic or a more orchestral and bombastic direction. Especially the latter kind has been popularised by bands like THEATRE OF TRAGEDY or TRISTANIA, the above mentioned attributes plus a female singer in mostly very high pitches. After this direction had almost "died", bands like SIRENIA or AFTER FOREVER gave it a new breath. Examples: (old) THEATRE OF TRAGEDY, TRISTANIA, SIRENIA, AFTER FOREVER, SENTENCED, TYPE O NEGATIVE. (Rainer Köninger/Alex Melzer)

Gothic metal bands tend to write songs with a slightly more orchestral feel to them. Often the vocal style of such bands is a dead giveaway, with either choirs or the so-called "beauty and the beast" style (a male, death-like vocalist paired with a more angelic female voice) often employed. The vast majority of bands who feature a female lead vocalist (excepting the rare female extreme metal vocalists such as Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy and Karyn Crisis of Crisis) are usually considered gothic metal bands. Theatre Of Tragedy, in their early years, was a prime example of this style (though they have transformed into quite a different style now), with bands such as Tristania and The Gathering also releasing prototypical gothic metal albums at least at some point in their careers.

Goth metal fuses the bleak, icy atmospherics of goth rock with the loud guitars and aggression of heavy metal, finding the middle ground between the two styles in a melodramatic sense of theater and lyrical obsessions with religion and horror. Prior to the emergence of goth rock as a post-punk genre, the vaguely medieval, minor-key sounds of metal bands like Rainbow, Dio, and Judas Priest had been described as "gothic," but true goth metal is always directly influenced by goth rock — ethereal synths and spooky textures are just as important as guitar riffs, if not moreso. Thus, goth metal frequently holds appeal for listeners on both sides of the equation.

Goth metal first emerged during the early to mid-'80s, centered around Los Angeles' so-called "death-rock" scene headed by Christian Death. Many goth metal bands have since sprung up in both America and Europe, with the tongue-in-cheek Type O Negative breaking out to a wider alternative metal audience in the '90s. During the latter half of that decade, goth metal also proved to be an important influence on black metal bands searching for new ways to darken their sound.

Some other Gothic Metal bands not mentioned here or in your article: SAMAEL, BESEECH, LEAVES EYES and PENUMBRA.

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"Only sick music makes money today." Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844 - 1900)
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26.05.2006 - 04:07
wolfborn
Sorry, vanwarp. that is faraway from being decent and acceptable.


Meanwhile, forget about everything else, this is KULT!! www.myspace.com/stillbornnecrospirituals
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www.myspace.com/deathstyler
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26.05.2006 - 13:38
robbiru
Account deleted
I read the whole thread and I think I can share my opinion with you all who likes something called "gothic" music.

Let me tell you that I was chasing that gragon called "gothic metal" for a long time. The beginning was about 10 years ago when I first heard Lacrimosa - you can imagine ha - it was album Stille... well since then I was a big fan of so called "githic metal" plus I was playing guitar/drums and that hobby gave me a good sense of taste in music and let me filter the huge stream of cheap and intellectually weak music like heavy metal or stuff like that - maybe the reason was that I'm coming from east european culture and American music sounded way toо primitive to me (no offense).

So I was spending much time on understanding gothic music because I liked it much and I was thinking it had certain wheight and it's serious and beautiful. I always was treating "gothic" band that doesn't have strong symphonic/acoustic influence (instruments) something funny, so the bands like HIM or Beseech or Within Temptation or Lacuna Coil (I mean bands that have all those cheap studio artificial samples and whole load of electronic stuff inside) is in my opinion always a POP cheap commercial act that can satisfy young people in age of 15 but not expirienced listener who is musically educated.

With time I found the fact that classical instruments have more influense on me than typical guitar riffs that really become boring with time. Although "Virgin Black" (which absolutely great band) can play guitar as if it was a violin, and It's most welcome!

Now I would like to discuss the original article which emerged the thread.
Early 80's sounded too many times and I would like to clearify this. Early 80's or 90's or whatever time in the 18-20 centuries can not be treated as time when "Gothic" music was born - this is just funny to hear and let explain why.

Gothic music can be called as such only if it is music played (whith only acoustic instruments) in original style of MIDDLE AGES, which are the true gothic ages. So if we call GOTHIC all those funny constantly depressed people with stupid haircuts, black nails and primitive guitar music they listen - then it's absolutely wrong!

So what I'm trying to say is that nowadays we're aloud to name everything as we wish - why not - let's call POP music GOTHIC with no respect to our history or people that created gothic music or architecture, because that's what is happening now - and it's со wrong!

Of course, you all may criticize what I say, but before you do that please try to look deaper.

But for me it's all clear - I call gothic only the special kind of Medieval music played with only medieval acoustic instruments - all the rest is modern POP or underground music with use of acoustic instruments, if there are such.

Before you start bombarding me with angry replies, please find "Corona Borealis - Cantus Paganus" - that will give the certain understading of what it's all about and how it was in gothic times of dark middle ages, and believe me that even "Ulver - Kveldssanger" is even more beautiful and havier than any modern so called "gothic" or even "black" metal music.

Our ancestors found the perfect way of expressing the feelings/history/emotions/rage/hate/joy with acoustic instruments of their times. If you understand the deppness and beauty of that classical music, then you will understand the uglyness of many modern musical bands.

Thanks everyone, cheers!
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