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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

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THEATRE OF TRAGEDY Velvet Darkness They Fear Album Cover Velvet Darkness They Fear
4.53 | 20 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Draconian Times Album Cover Draconian Times
4.35 | 35 ratings
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WITHIN TEMPTATION The Dance Album Cover The Dance
4.41 | 12 ratings
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LACUNA COIL In a Reverie Album Cover In a Reverie
4.29 | 21 ratings
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CRADLE OF FILTH Cruelty and the Beast Album Cover Cruelty and the Beast
4.24 | 27 ratings
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LACRIMOSA Inferno Album Cover Inferno
4.35 | 11 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Icon Album Cover Icon
4.22 | 35 ratings
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MOONSPELL Wolfheart Album Cover Wolfheart
4.24 | 21 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us Album Cover Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us
4.21 | 20 ratings
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TRISTANIA Beyond the Veil Album Cover Beyond the Veil
4.35 | 8 ratings
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PARADISE LOST In Requiem Album Cover In Requiem
4.14 | 21 ratings
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LACUNA COIL Unleashed Memories Album Cover Unleashed Memories
4.11 | 19 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

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Down Below
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gothic metal Music Reviews


Album · 2018 · Gothic Metal
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With 2015’s Children Of The Night Swedes Tribulation had made the move they’d hinted at on The Formulas Of Death into more accessible territory. From early days where they were a blackened death metal band they had diversified their sound considerably to include gothic, traditional and prog metal. The result was a brilliant album of some of the catchiest metal, without resorting to any form of compromise, that I’d heard that year.

The single Lady Death, released late last year, suggested the band would be following a similar path on Down Below. That has proved to be the case but if anything they’ve streamlined the sound more and gone for a simpler and more direct approach, at least for much of the time, immediately apparent from the simple 4/4 drum pattern laid down by new drummer Oscar Leander which comes in on opener The Lament. The strong melodies that were such an integral part of COTN remain intact – we’re talking musically here as vocalist Johannes Andersson still sings with his black/death rasp which is perhaps the only barrier from Tribulation reaching a mainstream rock audience such is the accessibility of these songs. Once again the lead guitar work of Jonathan Hultén and Adam Zaars is fantastic – as I remember saying in my review of COTH they’re more old school with an emphasis on well-chosen notes taking precedence over a blur of notes. The same can be said for guitar work in general with no shortage strong riffs interspersed with arpeggios and licks, the overall feel often having a melancholic vibe no better demonstrated on the instrumental Purgatorio . If anything the second half of the album gets even better, the songs becoming a bit more expansive with more twists and turns - listen to Lacrimosa and album closer Here Be Dragons, the latter in particular with its slow build which is a brilliant way to close the album. The icing on the cake is the top notch production – organic and powerful with a rock solid drum sound.

In terms of style and feel Down Below can be considered Children Of The Night part 2. I wouldn’t say it’s better but if you loved that album as much as I do then this has got to be essential listening for you. So early in the year we’ve had excellent albums from Watain, Hamferð and Sinistro and Tribulation can join that list. At this rate I’ll have my top 10 of 2018 by March!

PARADISE LOST Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us

Album · 2009 · Gothic Metal
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Encouraged, perhaps, by the general applause received by In Requiem for its reintroduction of doom metal elements into Paradise Lost's sound, Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us finds Paradise Lost several steps further down their return journey. From the opening track, As Horizons End, Nick Holmes gives a more classic doom metal vocal performance rather than the more generic alt-metal/goth stylings that he'd been working as late as In Requiem, and the riffs are even heavier and doomier.

Fans of their gothic metal years aren't entirely left out in the cold - there's quieter, more atmospheric sections aplenty which will keep them well-satisfied. Overall, this is the sort of doomy gothic metal album which, counterintuitively, Paradise Lost might not have been able to make without moving away from metal and coming back again, thus gaining an external perspective which allows them to deploy their goth-doom chops with greater mastery and subtlety than before.


Album · 2007 · Gothic Metal
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Paradise Lost's slow curve back to their original turf really picked up steam here. On the one hand, there's still little sign of the death-doom that they originally made their name with, but on the other hand the riffs here are unquestionably doomy, though still in service to a more gothic metal atmosphere. Nick Holmes' vocal approach is about as generically alt metal-ish as you can get for much of it, except when he shifts gear (as he does in the midsection of Never For the Damned) to a more stentorian, Andrew Eldritch-esque tone. On the whole, a solid gothic metal release with more doom in its DNA than Paradise Lost had displayed for quite some time.

VIRGIN BLACK Requiem: Mezzo Forte

Album · 2007 · Gothic Metal
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Australian Gothic Metal... those words alone should have been enough for me to know I should move away from such a band like Virgin Black (what a fantastic and original name, right!?)!

Gothic Metal for me is the most unbearable atrocity that music, and Metal, has ever invented. The guy who decided that it was a good idea to join Heavy Metal with classical music, 'erudite' singers (read erudite with a lot of irony) and the whole 'Goticity' thing should burn at the stake.

But I must say that "Requiem: Mezzo Forte" is not the worst record I've ever heard in this genre (the title goes to anything Leaves' Eyes has ever recorded), being very well produced and full of interesting moments. Truth is that the album has very little Gothic Metal in it, it's more like something Therion would do, more Symphonic Metal with Doom Metal blasts I guess. But there is just no way, in the end, that this is any good in the end. You listen to it and it doesn't make you listen again, ever!

This style of Metal just doesn't do anything for me. What fans of the genre take for beauty I see only nonstop boredom. But I recognize the Australians' effort and maybe fans of the genre will like it.


Album · 2000 · Gothic Metal
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'The Game' was my introduction to Austrian symphonic/progressive metal band Dreams of Sanity, having snapped it up quickly after hearing some of their music online and loving it. Sadly, this, their third studio album, was also their last, as the group split up shortly after its 2000 release. Especially unfortunate as this is undoubtedly their strongest outing.

Falling under the subgenre of progressive, power, gothic or symphonic metal (pick one), Dreams of Sanity have that perfect blend of heavy, grooving guitar riffs with plenty of melodic keyboards and string sounds. The songs have complex structures with plenty of excellent interplay between all involved, but without the mindless shredding and endless soloing that the genre is sometimes (in)famous for.

The production is absolutely spot on here. While the band's debut 'Kömödia' was fairly average, it's follow-up, 'Masquerade' was a massive leap forward, and so building upon that, with 'The Game' the Austrian's have really nailed the rich, vibrant and clear sound that gives every instrument clarity and warmth.

With songs such as 'The Beginning That Lies', 'The Creature That You Came to See', 'And So (I Walk On)', 'We.II.Sea', 'The Empress', and... ah, you know what? Bugger it, they're all brilliant! Dreams of Sanity really hit their stride with this release, and it's an absolute travesty that the band fell apart shortly after. Still, I'm glad I stumbled across these guys, because this is an incredible album by a hugely underrated band.

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