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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 | 5 min. caching

THEATRE OF TRAGEDY Velvet Darkness They Fear Album Cover Velvet Darkness They Fear
4.60 | 16 ratings
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TRISTANIA Beyond the Veil Album Cover Beyond the Veil
4.54 | 7 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
4.29 | 16 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
4.33 | 10 ratings
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THEATRE OF TRAGEDY Aégis Album Cover Aégis
4.21 | 12 ratings
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LACUNA COIL Unleashed Memories Album Cover Unleashed Memories
4.12 | 15 ratings
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THE 3RD AND THE MORTAL Painting on Glass Album Cover Painting on Glass
4.15 | 10 ratings
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MACBETH Romantic Tragedy's Crescendo Album Cover Romantic Tragedy's Crescendo
4.33 | 4 ratings
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SIRENIA Perils Of The Deep Blue Album Cover Perils Of The Deep Blue
4.33 | 4 ratings
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TIAMAT Amanethes Album Cover Amanethes
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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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gothic metal Music Reviews

TYPE O NEGATIVE Life Is Killing Me

Album · 2003 · Gothic Metal
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"Life Is Killing Me" is the 5th full-length studio album by US, New York based doom/goth metal act Type O Negative. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in June 2003. It was their last album released through Roadrunner Records as their long running relationship came to an end. Their next album "Dead Again (2007)" was released through SPV/Steamhammer Records.

While the music on "Life Is Killing Me" is unmistakably the sound of Type O Negative it´s still quite a different sounding release to it´s predecessor "World Coming Down (1999)". "World Coming Down (1999)" is probably the most bleak and heavy album in Type O Negative´s discography, and while "Life Is Killing Me" certainly isn´t a happy album, the trademark sarcastic humour from the early releases is more present on "Life Is Killing Me" than it has been on the last couple of releases. I also sense a tiny light at the end of the tunnel on some tracks.

The most notable difference though is the return of more hardcore sounding tracks. "I Don't Wanna Be Me", "I Like Goils", and especially "Angry Inch" are all, at least to some degree, in hardcore territory. "I Like Goils" actually created quite a stir, with lead vocalist Peter Steele being accused of homophobia. While it´s easy to interpret the lyrics like that, and there certainly is a very strong homophobic element to be found there (I guess lyric lines like "To make it clear that you can't bone me, My tattooed ass reads exit only" and "Now I don't know whose ass you've licked, No shit-tongued boy will ever taste my dick" really can´t be misunderstood), the story behind the track is actually a bit entertaining. Apparently Peter Steele´s decision to pose nude for the August 1995 edition of Playgirl Magazine backfired, as he began to receive more and more sexual offers from men, and rumour has it that some of them were very persistent. So to set the record straight, Peter Steele came up with the lyrics for "I Like Goils".

The music on "Life Is Killing Me" is not only aggressive hardcore though, and we´re predominantly treated to the doomy/gothic Black Sabbath influenced metal with psychadelic Beatlesque leanings, that Type O Negative are mostly known and loved for. Very well constructed vocal melodies (sung with a burning passion by Peter Steele) and choirs, heavy distorted bass and guitars, and atmospheric keyboards. It´s not all material on the album that are equally interesting and "Life Is Killing Me" is to my ears the first Type O Negative to feature filler material. Nothing is of bad quality or anything like that, but there are a couple of unremarkable tracks on the album, that I still to this day, can´t remember how sound, when I pick up the album for a listening session. On any of their previous releases I know exactly how each track sound just by reading the songtitle. At 74:32 minutes the album is also a bit too long for it´s own good, when not all material are equally entertaining. On the other hand there are also very strong tracks on the album like the above mentioned hardcore tinged tracks, "Nettie" (beautiful track that one), "Life Is Killing Me", and the quite odd and different sounding "How Could She?".

Upon conclusion "Life Is Killing Me" isn´t an album that developed the band´s sound much. It´s as if at this point, their unique sound was fully established and they had little desire to explore new ground ("How Could She?" is probably the only track on the album that surprised me), and it more or less sounds like they just picked what they felt were the best elements from their previous releases and combined them here. When you´ve developed a sound as unique as the sound of Type O Negative, it´s not "do or die" though and "Life Is Killing Me" is still a high quality release deserving a 4 star (80%) rating.

THE GATHERING Strange Machines

Single · 1995 · Gothic Metal
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The MANDYLION album, where most of these songs originated, initiates The Gathering's real growth. IMO the band lost a key component when they shed their metal trappings about the time of SOUVENIRS. However, all three of the songs on this EP are strong ones. The general consensus seems to agree with me, and rates the MANDYLION album highly.

I won't discuss the individual songs at length. I only have two criticisms of this Strange Machines EP. The first is that there's nothing to suggest to the listener that the two "live" tracks were actually recorded live. The other one is that an album track and an edited version of the song for radio is unnecessary IMO. Otherwise this is a very enjoyable way to spend 20 minutes.

ENSOPH Les Confessions du Mat

EP · 1998 · Gothic Metal
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"Les Confessions du Mat" is the debut release by French goth metal act Ensoph. The EP was released through Nobrain Records in 1998. Orofarne Records re-released "Les Confessions du Mat" in 2000.

"Les Confessions du Mat" features 3 tracks and a full playing time of 27:07 minutes. "Venice" and "My Gloomy Glare" are both over 10 minutes long and perfectly display the band´s adventurous goth metal style. I´ll even dare call it semi-progressive. Male and female vocals compliment each other well (with the addition of the occasional extreme vocal section) and provide good variation to the already varied instrumental part of the music. The tracks are atmospheric and well played too. The sound production is decent, but could have been better.

"Les Confessions du Mat" is a promising first release by Ensoph, even though there are a couple of issues that prevent me from handing out a really high rating. The worst is the female vocals, which to my ears are at times slightly out of tune. Still a 3 star (60%) rating is fair.


Album · 2006 · Gothic Metal
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Vim Fuego
Have you ever been listening to a song on the radio thinking “hmm, this isn’t too bad, but you know, it would be better if the drummer suddenly let rip with a double kick drum frenzy”? Or perhaps you’ve thought “this song is OK, but it would be really cool if the guitarist really kicked his guitar into overdrive here”? Well, chances are, listening to the radio, neither of these things are ever going to happen, but listen to ‘Materia’ by Novembre and that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Thankfully, the album title has nothing to do with a Final Fantasy video game obsession. Italian outfit Novembre started as an off-centre death metal band, throwing in acoustic passages and clean vocals to create moods and atmospheres in an era where such things were gimmick rather than commonplace. Over five albums, the band’s sound has evolved to a point where it is not death metal by any stretch of the imagination, but more an amalgam of modern rock, moody melodies and metal highlighting. Imagine if bands like Tool or Audioslave or Nickelback actually knew what metal was, and occasionally used metal-sounding guitars, or had drummers who could genuinely kick out the jams.

The advantage of playing mostly rock, while coming from a metal background, means that Novembre still know how to let rip and carve up a song when they need to. Listening to the album, the first few tracks pass by, doing more than enough to keep the listener interested, but occasionally there seems to be something missing. That’s where the old metal skills come in. The vocals are clean, clear and plaintive, which can become a little one-dimensional at times, and you wish the vocalist would just cough up a wad of phlegm and let rip with a gravelly death grunt, and fuck me sideways, on the fourth track “Aquamarine” he does! A bit further on through the album, you find yourself wondering “hey, do ya reckon these guys can still play fast”? And then the introduction to “Comedia” blasts through the speakers, a high tempo, full on death metal blast.

If you’re looking for an album of Cryptopsy-esque techno-death, or slabs of straight forward Obituary-style death metal, you’re looking in the wrong place here. This is an album of subtleties, but without the all too common descent into Gothic fuckwittery. Often, the only clue to this not being above-average radio rock is a too-heavy guitar, or drums being played too aggressively. Still, Novembre keep it reasonably simple, relying on little outside the guitar/drums/bass/vocal staple. “Geppetto” is sung in the band’s native Italian, something which many bands from non-English speaking backgrounds don’t do enough of. Perhaps a criticism which could be levelled at this album is the songs are too long at times, sometimes playing like a couple of different, unrelated tunes stuck together with a bridge.

While not something likely to become an instant classic, or indeed anyone’s favourite album, ‘Materia’ is an album to revisit when you can’t face a dose of screaming bloody gore. Imagine Opeth without the boring bits, or a less folk-oriented Amorphis. And forget all your hair-splitting genre labels, like atmospheric melodic trad/death folk metal, because you’ll just end up with a silly list of meaningless words which don’t come near describing the music.

TYPE O NEGATIVE World Coming Down

Album · 1999 · Gothic Metal
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Vim Fuego
Behind all the machismo and muscle headed bravado, there lay a sensitive, acutely aware soul in Pete Steele. Don't laugh. Just listen to this.

Have you ever thought about death? Are you scared to die? Why do people you love die? Why don't people talk about it? All are considered here.

Type O has produced one of the darkest atmospheres ever created on record. This is not dark in the Spartan black metal sense. This is blacker, thicker darkness. It is something like sinking in a bottomless pool, the light gradually fading, and you are utterly helpless to save yourself. The darkness becomes all enveloping, and the instinct to save yourself is replaced by an anaesthetising, almost mildly euphoric dream like state. It is like being buried in a black velvet lined coffin, letting the blackness surround you, keep you warm, keep you safe.

Type O tried a more commercial sound with ‘October Rust’, and it didn't work. Apparently the record buying public who claim to be into dark, "Gothic" music prefer androgynous puppets and pyromaniacal Germans with scary dildos. Their loss. Darker than Manson, more dangerous than Rammstein, more introspective than Manic Street Preachers, more coherent than The Cure, it seems Type O were simply too damn depressing for the self–proclaimed depressed.

This is just so gloriously depressing it's… inspiring. Songs like "Everything Dies", "Everyone I Love Is Dead", and "World Coming Down" are played with so much feeling they have a greater impact than any death metal band blasting away for an entire album. The dirge like feel of these songs is built on with subtleties, like Gregorian chants, heavenly choirs, acoustic interludes, and excellent song dynamics. Pete Steele's incredible distinct bass sound rumbles beneath the dark beauty created above by the rest of the band. This is also his most accomplished vocal performance, ranging from a vampiric sensuality to a dejected moan.

There is none of the silliness of tracks like "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend" or the hate of "I Know You're Fucking Someone Else". The only cheerful point of the entire album is a sinister rumble through a medley of Beatles tracks tacked on the end. Like other Type O Negative covers, it probably sits better on its own than as part of an album.

This is essential listening for anyone interested in dynamics or atmosphere. Just put the razorblades well out of reach before you start.

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