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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.


Sub-genre collaborators (shared with Symphonic Metal):
  • DippoMagoo

gothic metal top albums

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PARADISE LOST Obsidian Album Cover Obsidian
4.68 | 22 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Draconian Times Album Cover Draconian Times
4.39 | 53 ratings
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THEATRE OF TRAGEDY Velvet Darkness They Fear Album Cover Velvet Darkness They Fear
4.29 | 28 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Icon Album Cover Icon
4.19 | 48 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Tragic Idol Album Cover Tragic Idol
4.22 | 27 ratings
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MOONSPELL Wolfheart Album Cover Wolfheart
4.18 | 28 ratings
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TYPE O NEGATIVE October Rust Album Cover October Rust
4.12 | 36 ratings
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THE GATHERING Mandylion Album Cover Mandylion
4.11 | 41 ratings
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MOONSPELL Irreligious Album Cover Irreligious
4.14 | 24 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us Album Cover Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us
4.10 | 25 ratings
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TRIBULATION The Children of the Night Album Cover The Children of the Night
4.16 | 12 ratings
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THEATRE OF TRAGEDY Aégis Album Cover Aégis
4.06 | 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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TYPE O NEGATIVE The Origin of the Feces

Live album · 1992 · Gothic Metal
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"The Origin of the Feces" is a live album release by US, New York based heavy/doom/goth metal act Type O Negative. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in May 1992. It bridges the gap between the band´s debut full-length studio album "Slow, Deep and Hard" from 1991 and their sophomore full-length studio album "Bloody Kisses" from 1993. It´s a bit unusual (although it´s been done before by other artists), to release a live album, when you only have one studio album out, but Type O Negative were never the band to do things in a conventional way. Although "The Origin of the Feces" is credited as a live release, it´s actually a live in the studio recording with added crowd noises. In typical sarcastic fashion, frontman Peter Steele even has arguments with the fake audience (who screams back at him "You Suck") and suddenly the concert stops in the middle of the album because a bomb threat is called in. All manufactured for the entertainment of the listener, and it works.

The original version of "The Origin of the Feces" (which featured a cover artwork with a picture of Steele´s anus) predominantly features re-arranged versions of tracks from "Slow, Deep and Hard (1991)", where the titles of the tracks have been altered. In addition to those tracks the album also features a cover of Billy Roberts' "Hey Joe" (titled "Hey Pete" here) and the Type O Negative original "Are You Afraid", which is exclusive to "The Origin of the Feces" (the song never saw a regular studio version release). Reissues of "The Origin of the Feces" feature a different cover artwork (a black and green portrait of 1493 painting "The Dance of Death" by Michael Wolgemut) and a cover of "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath in a regular studio recording. Type O Negative put their own spin on "Paranoid" and make the song their own. The pace is much slower than the original, and they incorporate the main riff from "Iron Man" too. So while it´s still obvious that it´s "Paranoid" being covered, Type O Negative succeed in doing what any artist who covers another should aspire to, which is making another artist´s song their own.

"Are You Afraid" is a short, dark, and goth tinged track, which points forward to the sound Type O Negative would bring to the table on "Bloody Kisses (1993)", while the material off "Slow, Deep and Hard (1991)" are unconventional doom/hardcore tracks. They have been re-arranged here, and some of them are considerably shorter than the originals. Other than that the biggest changes involve changing some words, choir arrangements, and at one point singing in a British accent. "The Origin of the Feces" features a decent quality sound production, and while it´s not the most interesting release by Type O Negative, it´s still a quality release which is a greatly entertaining listen. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

TIAMAT Skeleton Skeletron

Album · 1999 · Gothic Metal
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"Skeleton Skeletron" is the 6th full-length studio album by Swedish band Tiamat. The album was released through Century Media Records in August 1999. It´s the successor to "A Deeper Kind of Slumber" from 1997 and features one lineup change as guitarist Thomas Petersson has jumped ship, leaving Tiamat a trio for the recording of "Skeleton Skeletron". The album features quite a few guests/session musicians though.

Tiamat had been an almost ever changing act on their preceding releases, starting out playing old school Swedish death metal on their debut album, quickly moving into death/doom metal territory on the next couple of releases, and on "Wildhoney (1994)" and especially "A Deeper Kind of Slumber (1997)", they played an atmospheric Pink Floyd influenced psychadelic tinged heavy rock/metal style, and actually completely abandoning the distorted guitars from their sound on the latter. To those who feel Tiamat strayed a bit too far from the metal path on "A Deeper Kind of Slumber (1997)", they will be glad to hear that "Skeleton Skeletron" is a heavier and more metal oriented release than its direct predecessor. The psychadelic Pink Floyd influence is also more or less gone from the soundscape and instead Tiamat play a dark gothic rock/metal influenced style and it´s now artists like The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission, and Fields of the Nephilim, which are valid references. Contemporary releases by artists like Paradise Lost and Kreator (their 1999 "Endorama" album) are also references which can be used to describe the sound on "Skeleton Skeletron".

The 10 track, 45:34 minutes long album features both heavy and atmospheric tracks and more energetic and slightly faster-paced tracks. An example of the latter is the The Sisters of Mercy influenced "Brighter Than the Sun", which is a full fledged gothic rock song, featuring deep male vocals and female vocals on the chorus. "Skeleton Skeletron" also features a heavy cover of "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones, which works well with the rest of the material.

"Skeleton Skeletron" is a well produced album, featuring a clear, detailed, and powerful sounding production, which suits the material well. Upon conclusion "Skeleton Skeletron" is a good quality release by Tiamat. The fact that the band seem to have suffered from an identity crisis almost since their inception isn´t that important when they churn out quality music like this. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.


Album · 2020 · Gothic Metal
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Just as Medusa was a return to the death-doom style of Paradise Lost's early years, Obsidian is a refreshed update of the gothic style of metal they rolled out on their run from Shades of God to Draconian Times. Focusing more on guttural, harsh vocals rather than the clean vocals which came in towards the end of this period (though there are some of those), this is not an album to reinvent the wheel, but it might be an album which reminds you just how good that particular wheel is.

For instance, Hope Dies Young is, at once, a song which could have sat proudly alongside any of their early 1990s output, and at the same time perhaps a song which they needed to go on their long sonic journey away from their roots before they could pull it off quite this well.

In other words, as with Medusa this is the result of the band having moved away from this musical style over the years, and thus gaining the ability to have some perspective on it which they might not have picked up had they not undertaken that journey. It shouldn't be a surprise when a band as consistently good as Paradise Lost make an album this excellent this late in their career, but somehow Obsidian even exceeds their usual standards.

TIAMAT Judas Christ

Album · 2002 · Gothic Metal
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Tiamat’s seventh full-length album has not a great rep among fans, which is somewhat unjustified in my opinion. The album was released three years after Tiamat’s “commercial” exploit, 1999’s Skeleton Skeletron. The line-up is largely unchanged. The band is still led by singer/guitarist Johan Edlund, with bassist Anders Iwers and drummer Lars Sköld forming a solid, no-frill rhythm section. The only addition to the line-up on the new LP is Thomas Petersson, who plays lead guitar delivering a handful of tasty solos throughout the record. Musically, Judas Christ continues Tiamat’s exploration of “easy-listening” gothic tunes. Edlund’s croony voice takes centre stage, with his catchy vocal lines and witty lyrics layered over simple guitar riffs, melancholic arpeggios, sultry Hammonds and atmospheric keyboards. The album mostly sticks to a pleasant mid-to-low tempo, enough to make you nod your head, but at a speed that is entirely safe for your neck muscles. It’s gothic metal, but soft and melodic, of the kind that you would have expected to hear in a rock club around those years.

The ample concessions to melody are partly the reason why Judas Christ disappointed fans of the band at the time, especially those who were already left unimpressed by Skeleton Skeletron. But there is another aspect of the album that somewhat penalizes the listening process. While Skeleton Skeletron had a very clear and coherent identity from start to finish, Judas Christ is much more heterogeneous, and probably even too diverse across its 12 songs for its own sake. The warning signs come early. While inspecting the album’s backcover, you will notice that the songs are divided into four “chapters”: Spinae (tracks 1 to 4), Tropic of Venus (tracks 5 to 7), Tropic of Capricorn (tracks 8 to 10) and Casadores (tracks 11 and 12). This is not just cosmetics: each group of songs sounds quite different from the others, to the point that one can almost think of Judas Christ as a collection of 4 distinct mini-EPs.

Spinae explores soundscapes at the intersection between gothic metal and melodic doom. The music is solemn, somber and dark. Even the most uptempo songs such as “Vote for Love” retain a deep sense of darkness and melancholy that makes them quite irresistible, frankly. The next chapter, Tropic of Venus, takes the doom and gloom of Spinae and filters it through a haze of 1970s psychedelia. “Fireflower” feels like a love affair between The Beatles and Black Sabbath, while the instrumental “Sumer by Night” screams Pink Floyd. “Love Is as Good as Soma” closes the chapter in great fashion, with a splendid combination of programmed loops, moody keys and dreamy melancholic guitar arpeggios. So far, Judas Christ is a phenomenal listen.

The other two chapters are alas much less interesting, in my opinion. The three songs included under Tropic of Capricorn feel a lot like outtakes from Skeleton Skeletron. They have the same “silly” rock vibe, playing on the combination between easy melodies, disturbing lyrics and gloomy atmospheres. However, while Skeleton Skeletron pulled that off with class, the songs here feel forced and tacky – not unlike Edlund’s side-project Lucyfire that was released one year prior. The album closes with Casadores – a chapter that takes Tiamat’s gloom in acoustic rock territories (“Heaven of High” is folksy, while “Too Far Gone” could have been written in collaboration with Tom Petty). It’s not a totally uninteresting experiment, although both songs fall a bit flat and are too long, ultimately coming across as slightly boring.

The rather dull second half is the sword on which Judas Christ ultimately falls. As the record comes to an end, I am left with a bittersweet taste that is hard to shake off entirely. It’s a pity because the album contains some of my absolute favourite songs in Tiamat’s discography (“The Return of the Son of Nothing”, “Vote for Love”, “Love Is as Good as Soma”). Indeed, the first 7 tracks are all of really high quality and I just kinda wish the album stopped there, rather than dribble along for another 5 lackluster songs until its unceremonious end. Despite these mixed feelings, it’s undeniable that Judas Christ once again confirms that, when it comes to gothic metal/rock, Tiamat are miles ahead of the competition in terms of class, artistry and musicality. So, whatever you think of this genre, Tiamat are among the very best that this particular brand of metal had to offer in the early 2000s.

ATROCITY Die Liebe (feat. Das Ich)

EP · 1995 · Gothic Metal
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"Die Liebe (feat. Das Ich)" is an EP release by German metal act Atrocity. The EP was released through Massacre Records in November 1995. Along with the "Calling the Rain" EP from July 1995, it bridges the gap between the band´s 3rd and 4th full-length studio albums "Blut (1994)" and "Willenskraft (1996)". "Die Liebe (feat. Das Ich)" is a collaboration release with German electronic music group Das Ich and is another departure in sound from the band´s early death metal releases.

In only 5 years Atrocity have gone from playing technical deathgrind, to playing goth/groove metal, to the neo-folk excursions on the "Calling the Rain (1995)" EP, and now this...

..."Die Liebe (feat. Das Ich)" sees Atrocity playing an industrial/electronic tinged metal style. About half of the tracks are sung in the band´s native language, and although Atrocity as a band predates Rammstein, this particular release came out only a few months after Rammstein´s debut album "Herzeleid" was released in September 1995, and it´s hard not to make some comparisons. Atrocity are a bit more experimental than their fellow countrymen and not quite as catchy either, but the premise of hard pumped rhythms, industrial sound effects/keyboards, and heavy angular guitar riffs are similar on the two projects.

While some of the material featured on the 9 track, 40:37 (album length) EP are new, Atrocity have also included some altered versions of tracks from "Blut (1994)", including another version of the rap metal styled "Miss Directed", which is retitled "Misdirected" on this release. Atrocity are skilled musicians and adventuruos musical souls too, which their creative songswriting approach bear witness to, but "Die Liebe (feat. Das Ich)" is not their most shining musical hour. I praise the boldness of the idea, but this experiment just doesn´t work. The material is simply not well written or catchy enough. A 2.5 - 3 star (55%) rating is warranted.

gothic metal movie reviews


Movie · 2011 · Gothic Metal
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Released to celebrate the 16th anniversary of the classic gothic doom metal album, Paradise Lost's Draconian Times MMXI simply has them play through the entire album in order, then add on some encores from their wider discography at the end. It's a decent capture of the Paradise Lost live experience, though ultimately they stick close enough to the studio rendition to make this a little redundant in the end. If you're very keen on this specific period of the band's career - after their early pioneering death-doom work, before they steered away from metal entirely to explore other gothic realms prior to their 2000s return to metal - then it's probably worth it, but even then you might find you just prefer to spin the studio album again.

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