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Gothic metal or goth metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music. Gothic metal combines the aggression of heavy metal with the dark melancholy of gothic rock. The genre originated during the early 1990s in Europe as an outgrowth of death/doom, a fusion of death metal and doom metal. The music of gothic metal is diverse with bands known to adopt the gothic approach to different styles of heavy metal music. Lyrics are generally melodramatic and mournful with inspiration from gothic fiction as well as personal experiences.

Pioneers of gothic metal include Paradise Lost, Theater Of Tragedy, The 3rd And The Mortal. Other pioneers from the first half of the 1990s include Type O Negative from the United States, Tiamat from Sweden, and The Gathering from the Netherlands. Norwegian band Theatre of Tragedy developed the "beauty and the beast" aesthetic of combining aggressive male vocals with clean female vocals, a contrast that has since been adopted by many gothic metal groups. During the mid-1990s, Moonspell, Theatres des Vampires and Cradle of Filth brought the gothic approach to black metal. By the end of the decade, a symphonic metal variant of gothic metal had been developed by Tristania and Within Temptation.

In the 21st century, gothic metal has moved towards the mainstream in Europe, particularly in Finland where groups such as The 69 Eyes, Entwine, HIM, Lullacry, Poisonblack and Sentenced have released hit singles or chart-topping albums. In the US, however, only a few bands such as Lacuna Coil, Evanescence have found commercial success.


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gothic metal top albums

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm

THEATRE OF TRAGEDY Velvet Darkness They Fear Album Cover Velvet Darkness They Fear
4.59 | 15 ratings
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MOONSPELL Under Satanæ Album Cover Under Satanæ
4.50 | 15 ratings
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TRISTANIA Beyond the Veil Album Cover Beyond the Veil
4.59 | 6 ratings
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SAVIOUR MACHINE Legend, Part I Album Cover Legend, Part I
4.49 | 6 ratings
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LACUNA COIL In a Reverie Album Cover In a Reverie
4.30 | 14 ratings
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LACRIMOSA Inferno Album Cover Inferno
4.36 | 9 ratings
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CRADLE OF FILTH Cruelty and the Beast Album Cover Cruelty and the Beast
4.19 | 26 ratings
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THEATRE OF TRAGEDY Aégis Album Cover Aégis
4.22 | 11 ratings
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CRADLE OF FILTH Midian Album Cover Midian
4.16 | 17 ratings
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SEIGMEN Total Album Cover Total
4.40 | 4 ratings
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LACUNA COIL Halflife Album Cover Halflife
4.31 | 5 ratings
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CREMATORY Illusions Album Cover Illusions
4.38 | 4 ratings
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Album · 2014 · Gothic Metal
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"Morning Star Rise" is the 3rd full-length studio album by New Zealand doom/goth metal act The House of Capricorn. The album was released through Svart Records in November 2014. It´s been some years since the release of "In the Devil's Days (2011)", but The House of Capricorn makes a welcome return with "Morning Star Rise".

The band have obviously developed their core musical direction on "Morning Star Rise" and also honed their skills in the process. The strong and quite dominant Type O Negative influence which graced "In the Devil's Days (2011)" has been toned down considerably. Actually to a point where it´s only the 9:32 minutes long closing track "Dragon of Revelations", which features that particular influence. The band´s doom metal leanings have also been toned down and while there are certainly heavy beats and riffing enough on the album so satisfy listener´s with a preference for that, it´s only "Ashlands" and the above mentioned "Dragon of Revelations" that can be labelled doom metal. The remaining part of the album is closer to the gothic/doom rock style of Babylon Whores, which means a hard edged "black leather jacket/shades" type of gothic metal style, and not the more soft eyeliner type goth metal. In other words this is pretty badass occult themed (check out song titles like "The Road to Hell is Marked" or "In the Light of Lucifer") gothic metal with an attitude. Sisters of Mercy is of course also a valid reference.

There´s a dark rock´n´roll atmosphere to the album, which is created by a generally energetic pace (except on the two doomy tracks on the album, which are both slow and epic in nature), hard rocking riffing, rock´n´roll style guitar solos, and an attitude filled vocal performance by Marko Pavlovic. It´s not that this style is completely new to The House of Capricorn, as they´ve explored it some on their first two releases, but they´ve really embraced it fully on "Morning Star Rise". The two doomy tracks, which in this respect, are the odd ones out, still fit with the overall musical concept though and they are great for the variation and flow of the album.

The band are well playing and the vocals are delivered with both passion and conviction, and they are relatively varied too, which often provides the music with an extra dimension. "Morning Star Rise" also features a strong, powerful, and organic sounding production, which suits the music well, so upon conclusion it´s quite an entertaining quality release by The House of Capricorn and definitely their most memorable album so far. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

LACUNA COIL Unleashed Memories

Album · 2001 · Gothic Metal
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siLLy puPPy
LACUNA COIL continued their transition started on the EP “Halflife.” The band have always delivered their own brand of melodic Gothic metal with particular emphasis on Cristina Scabbia's sweet sensual vocals however on the male vocal side Andrea Ferro who delivered more death metal growls on previous works doesn't do as much here thus leading the band into a more accessible sound that would propel them into one of the more popular and commercially successful bands under the Goth metal world. The emphasis on UNLEASHED MEMORIES is purely on the mid-tempo melodic developments that pretty much lend support to the vocals, mostly of Cristina alone.

Personally I don't find this direction as satisfying as that which came before. Although I cannot claim that I really dislike any of the tracks on this album, I feel there are too many that simply run together without really distinguishing themselves from the others. Too much mid-tempo and not enough surprises. I find the first few tracks to be fairly uninspiring and for me the album starts to pick up on the second half of the album beginning with 1:19 when we get some beefier guitar riffs and something a little different including the “Beauty and Beast” effect more common on earlier albums. Overall not a bad album but not enough truly killer cuts for me to get super excited about as well.


EP · 2000 · Gothic Metal
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Following a pattern of releasing EP then full album LACUNA COIL put out their third release HALFLIFE as an EP. This five song lovely still utilizes the “Beauty And The Beast” affect from their previous work but this is also a transitional album that sees Andrea Ferro belting out clean vocals as well which would lead the band down a more mainstream path that would result as one of the more successful bands lumped into the Gothic metal camp although I don't find this to sound very Goth at all as it seems more symphonic with some death metal parts and still leans somewhat in a slightly progressive direction.

HALFLIFE is also the debut of guitarist Marco Biazzi who would become a key member in the classic lineup. This EP was originally only released in their native Italy but is available as bonus tracks elsewhere on the following album “Unleashed Memories.” I like the sound of Lacuna Coil in general but they seem to have a lot of tracks that sound too similar for my tastes but on this short little beauty there is some diverse elements that make it a really good listen. I love the guitar tones and the ranges between the alternating female and male vocals. Basically I find a lot of mid-tempo music to lack a bite that really excites me but this one seems to for whatever reason!


Album · 1995 · Gothic Metal
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"Mandylion" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Dutch doom/goth metal act The Gathering. The album was released through Century Media Records in August 1995. There´s been a very important change in the lineup since the release of The Gathering´s second full-length studio album "Almost A Dance (1993)" as male lead vocalist Niels Duffhues has been replaced by female lead vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen. This would have a major impact on the band´s future sound and consequently also on their popularity. The addition of Anneke van Giersbergen to the lineup meant that The Gathering suddenly sounded very original for the time. You won´t find many doom/death metal releases from 1995 featuring a female lead vocalist. For the most part female vocals were used for effect by the band´s contemporaries, and only in short sections or on specific tracks on an album. So instead of being reduced to a footnote in the history of the early nineties doom/death metal scene, forever being overshadowed by acts such as Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, The Gathering branched out and tried something different. And they succeeded.

The instrumental part of the music on "Mandylion" has changed quite a bit since "Almost A Dance (1993)" too and has become much more accessible, memorable and melodic. Anneke van Giersbergen´s distinct, powerful and emotional vocal style brings a much needed improvement to the sound of the The Gathering. She is arguably one of the most unique sounding female vocalists in metal. The music is heavy and doomy at times but always with melodic vocal lines and dominant melodic keyboards courtesy of the very skilled keyboard player Frank Boeijen. The song structures are fairly simple for the most part, but the band almost always have a little section or detail up their sleeve to spice things up.

The sound production is grand and suits the music well, the musicianship are on a high level, and the songwriting is memorable, so all in all "Mandylion" is a quality release. The first part of the album with tracks like "Strange Machines", "Eléanor" and "In Motion #1", is especially strong, while the last part of the album is slightly less interesting, but still entertaining. Overall a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating isn´t all wrong.


Album · 2014 · Gothic Metal
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With their 2011 observation entitled Salam, French metal act Arkan impressed me with their ability to follow many melodic death metal conventions, while still incorporating a Middle Eastern flair that is largely unheard of in this genre. The result was an album that felt familiar enough to instantly click with its listener, but also broke enough rules to leave a lasting impression. 2014's Sofia, the band's third full-length, follows down the same path of its predecessor, though I would argue that Arkan sounds even more unique this time around.

Like Salam, Sofia's main selling point is its Middle Eastern-influenced approach to metal, and although other acts like Orphaned Land and Myrath have similar gimmicks, Arkan sounds unique even when placed next to their stylistic brethren. Sofia is also perhaps the band's most adventurous album to date - the melodic death metal part of the band's sound only sparsely appears here, and it seems as though the band is now playing a Middle Eastern-inspired brand of gothic metal, rather than melodeath. Death growls are used sparingly, and the focal point here is the distinct and angelic performance of vocalist Sarah Layssac. Consequently, Sofia lacks some of the "bite" that impressed me on Salam, but it is also the band's most mature and stylistically consistent album to date.

Whether you enjoy Sofia more or less than Arkan's previous outings ultimately depends on your preferences. If you are a gothic metal fan looking for a unique foray into the genre, Sofia will undoubtedly impress you, but if you (like me) were more into the band's melodeath-focused tracks, this may leave you a bit unsatisfied. Regardless of your preferences, however, there's no doubt that this is a well-performed, well-produced, and extremely catchy album from Arkan. Recommended!

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