Gothic Metal

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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.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_metal

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • DippoMagoo


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
THEATRE OF TRAGEDY
4.59 | 15 ratings
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MOONSPELL Under Satanæ Album Cover Under Satanæ
MOONSPELL
4.49 | 16 ratings
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TRISTANIA Beyond the Veil Album Cover Beyond the Veil
TRISTANIA
4.54 | 7 ratings
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SAVIOUR MACHINE Legend, Part I Album Cover Legend, Part I
SAVIOUR MACHINE
4.49 | 6 ratings
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LACRIMOSA Inferno Album Cover Inferno
LACRIMOSA
4.36 | 9 ratings
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CRADLE OF FILTH Cruelty and the Beast Album Cover Cruelty and the Beast
CRADLE OF FILTH
4.24 | 27 ratings
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LACUNA COIL In a Reverie Album Cover In a Reverie
LACUNA COIL
4.20 | 16 ratings
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CRADLE OF FILTH Dusk and Her Embrace Album Cover Dusk and Her Embrace
CRADLE OF FILTH
4.15 | 25 ratings
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THEATRE OF TRAGEDY Aégis Album Cover Aégis
THEATRE OF TRAGEDY
4.21 | 12 ratings
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LACUNA COIL Halflife Album Cover Halflife
LACUNA COIL
4.31 | 5 ratings
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LACUNA COIL Unleashed Memories Album Cover Unleashed Memories
LACUNA COIL
4.12 | 15 ratings
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MACBETH Romantic Tragedy's Crescendo Album Cover Romantic Tragedy's Crescendo
MACBETH
4.33 | 4 ratings
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gothic metal Music Reviews

NOVEMBRE Materia

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.

TYPE O NEGATIVE The Origin of the Feces

Live album · 1992 · Gothic Metal
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Vim Fuego
There is some debate over how "live" this album actually is. Some claim it was recorded in the studio. The liner notes say it was recorded October 31st 1991 at Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. However it was recorded, Pete Steele and the rest of Type O Negative were having a bad day, and couldn't be happier.

Early in their career, the band were largely misunderstood, alienating the undeserved right wing following Steele's previous band Carnivore had picked up. They simply weren't hardcore enough for the skinheads. At the same time, the gothic crowd who later championed the band, were scared off by the double kick drum flourishes, and thrash outs in many of the songs, but at the same time were drawn in by the melancholic, introspective lyrics, the theatrical vocals, and the doom laden keyboards and dirge–like arrangements.

Right from the start, the band are taunted with chants of "You suck, you suck!" but continue to play anyway. The jeers continue through the first song, originally titled "Unsuccessfully Coping With The Natural Beauty Of Infidelity", but more popularly known as "I Know You're Fucking Someone Else". And the song winds its way through pipe organ gothicism, acoustic sections, hardcore sing–a–longs, a Scottish accent, and thrash metal kick outs. It sounds a mess, but is an incredibly listenable epic.

The between song abuse between Steele and the audience is a treat, as are the moments when it all goes wrong. Third track "Gravity" breaks down completely, and in something reminiscent of Bad News or Spinal Tap, the band has to stop for an apparent bomb threat. "I guess this ain't your lucky day, huh? Let's just get this over with," mutters Steele as the band returns to the stage and blasts through a raucous version of "Pain". It may seem silly re-creating such an incident in the studio, but it is rumoured to be based on a real occurrence.

There's a silly but fun take on "Hey Joe", with Steele's mournful moan and the trademark lumbering juggernaut guitar and bass sound adding some seriously sinister overtones Jimi Hendrix would never have dreamed of.

The show ends with a rollicking romp through a reprise of "Kill You Tonight", a cheerful ode to murdering an unfaithful lover, complete with cheesy new romantic "whoa whoa" backing vocals, and a silly accent, sounding like a cross between Crocodile Dundee and EastEnders. There's an ill–advised cover of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" tacked on the end. It doesn't fit Type O Negative's style, so the less said the better.

This whole album is surprisingly good fun from a band who are meant to be miserable bastards. It also benefits from losing the infamous original artwork — a close–up picture of an asshole stretched so far as to make your eyes water!

THE GATHERING Adrenaline / Leaves

EP · 1996 · Gothic Metal
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FMOTP
I will start my review by confessing that The Gathering have become one of my favorite bands. So, I have to admit some bias toward anything they put out! I think more of their music needs to be reviewed, so I did so. Anneke van Giersbergen had become the lead singer by this EP, Adrenaline/Leaves, was released; she's a large part of the reason for the band's success. She has a terrific alto voice, although I wish there was more variety to her singing. The band's early material is often considered simple, derivative death/doom metal, and usually not given a lot of respect. However, these songs come from The Gathering's breakthrough album Mandylion, which is excellent.

All three songs are good ones, with "Leaves" probably being my favorite. Generally I don't care for a lot of versions of the same song, but in this case the second version of "Leaves" takes up less than a third of the total playing time. This is a good listen for anyone who is interested in The Gathering and wants a brief introduction. This is certainly not their best EP or single; some greater variety could have boosted the over all rating. However, Adrenaline/Leaves is a good introduction to the innovative sound that first brought The Gathering to the world's attention.

CRADLE OF FILTH Midian

Album · 2000 · Gothic Metal
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Vim Fuego
Self–appointed "true" black metallers do not consider Cradle Of Filth to be true black metal.

No, Cradle Of Filth are not as raw as Dark Throne, early Burzum, or Mayhem. No, they don't play as fast as Marduk. No, their atmosphere and songwriting ability is not equal to that of Emperor. And the cardinal sin for the subterranean black metal judges, Cradle Of Filth have sold too many albums!

Look a little further into Cradle Of Filth, and you will see why they have sold so well. The band does not fall into the clichéd black metal trap of having to have paper–thin production, indecipherable strangled cat vocals, and one–dimensional songwriting. Midian is an excellent example of what a band can do when they do not follow the true black metal path, and people have voted with their wallets.

And why not! There are plenty of tasty melodies, the ubiquitous female vocals, and despite the naysayers complaints, plenty of instrumental, vocal and lyrical talent on display here. Dani Filth is his usual filthy self, creating twisted torrid tales of bloodlust and vempiric lesbianism, which he screeches, moans and rasps with glee. The guitars duel a la Iron Maiden, and the rhythm section is as tight as it's ever been.

Without getting into any sub–genre labeling arguments, this is first and foremost a metal album. Yes, metal, that long forgotten music form, played with loud guitars, guitar solos, over the top vocals, and the lyrics cover irreverent subjects like vampires, sex, and, er… sex with vampires… If you're a "true" black metal fan, you will hate this. If you're a fan of metal in general, check it out. It's damn good, tongue–in–(butt)cheek fun!

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