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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
4.61 | 19 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Draconian Times Album Cover Draconian Times
4.33 | 49 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
4.20 | 45 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Tragic Idol Album Cover Tragic Idol
4.23 | 24 ratings
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MOONSPELL Wolfheart Album Cover Wolfheart
4.21 | 26 ratings
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THE GATHERING Mandylion Album Cover Mandylion
4.17 | 38 ratings
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TYPE O NEGATIVE October Rust Album Cover October Rust
4.13 | 34 ratings
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MOONSPELL Irreligious Album Cover Irreligious
4.14 | 23 ratings
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TIAMAT Wildhoney Album Cover Wildhoney
4.09 | 37 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us Album Cover Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us
4.12 | 22 ratings
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TYPE O NEGATIVE Life Is Killing Me Album Cover Life Is Killing Me
4.08 | 31 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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Neither Moth nor Rust
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Album · 2005 · Gothic Metal
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On their self-titled album, Paradise Lost don't so much set a new manifesto for their sound as they continue their evolution back towards the genre they had originally pioneered - having left the metal sphere altogether on Host before Believe In Nothing and Symbol of Life began their evolution back.

Whilst back in the 1990s the band were true trailblazers of gothic metal, here they feel more like they are comfortably plugging along in the middle of the road of the genre. This doesn't bother me as much as it might, however, because whilst this is slightly generic gothic metal, it is at least extremely well-crafted generic gothic metal, and as a result I can accept it as an album which manages to be rather fun even if it isn't necessarily all that substantial next to the likes of Draconian Times.


Album · 2021 · Gothic Metal
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"Infernum in Terra" is the 4th full-length studio album by US alternative/doom/goth metal act A Pale Horse Named Death. The album was released through Long Branch Records in September 2021. It´s the successor to "When The World Becomes Undone" from 2019 and features two lineup changes since the predecessor as bassist Eric Morgan has been replaced by Oddie McLaughlin and drummer Johnny Kelly has been replaced by Chris Hamilton. The remaining part of the lineup who recorded the predecessor is intact, including band founder/lead vocalist/guitarist Sal Abruscato. The latter is known as the original drummer in both Type O Negative and Life of Agony.

Stylistically the material on "Infernum in Terra" continue the heavy (even doomy at times) and dark alternative rock/metal style of the preceding releases. One shot heavy and groove laden Black Sabbath riffing and one shot melancholic, heavy, and laid back Alice in Chains influence. A Pale Horse Named Death don´t exactly reach the compositional heights or the unique sound of their influences, but they are skilled musicians and the songs are generally well composed, relatively memorable, and well produced too. So fans of heavy, melacholic, and dark heavy rock/metal may find this an enjoyable listen. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

HANGING GARDEN Neither Moth nor Rust

EP · 2022 · Gothic Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Cited as Finland’s answer to Sweden’s Katatonia, HANGING GARDEN also started out as a typical death doom metal band having formed in 2004 in the city of Mikkeli but just like Katatonia grew restless in its musical comfort zone and quickly expanded its palette to include all kinds of metal influences including the world of sludge and post-metal but more importantly a heavy addition from the world of gothic metal, where for the most part, the death and doom have all but left the scene altogether but HANGING GARDEN has never really abandoned those early sounds completely and continues to crank out a series of albums and EPs.

So far the band has released seven full-length albums and six EPs which includes this latest NEITHER MOTH NOR RUST fresh out in early 2022 a mere nine months after the last album “Skeleton Lake.” Like many metal bands, HANGING GARDEN keeps its experimental touches on a leash for its bonafide albums but releases these EPs to take those musical detours that don’t quite jive with the established sound spectrum of their making. This lil shorty features six tracks that only add up to just over 25 minutes of playing time but showcases the band’s flirtation with various non-metal genres including post-rock, dream pop, Finnish folk music and atmospheric ambience.

In fact, this EP isn’t consistently metal at all with tracks like “And Leave All Love Behind” sounding more like an indie folk track and “The Raven Portrait” merely cranking out a mysterious sounding piano piece with symphonic touches. While death doom moments occur, when the metal comes into play it’s clearly in the gothic playbook and not in the Type O Negative or Moonspell sorta way but more akin to The Gathering or Lacuna Coil world with a mix of male and female vocals, lugubrious atmospheric backdrops and rather straight forward alternative metal guitar riffs. Probably the most authentically goth of these tracks is “On The Shore Of Eternity” but all tracks resonate in the dark mysterious goth universe even if instrumentation varies.

The My Dying Bride influences of their past still find their way into the mix as well with the soul piercing moments of violin making their way into the mix. Unfortunately the EP ends on a bad note with the oddball “Field Of Reeds” sounding like a dance mix with programmed drums and an overly poppy upbeat demeanor despite the attempts of the piano roll to lower the mood setting. On this one death growls are kept to a minimum and clean male / female lyrical deliveries rule. The main emphasis of the piano accompanied by ominous atmospheric backdrops is the common denominator.

I’m not overly familiar with this band but i can’t say NEITHER MOTH NOR RUST is an EP that would lead anyone to further explore this band’s past canon however we must always keep in mind when delving into the side world of EPs that in the modern era, these shorter releases are meant to be explored outside of the band’s “official” context of whatever style they have developed. Basically this one sounds like a bunch of leftover tracks that didn’t quite make the cut for other albums. Nothing on here is bad but on the flip side of things nothing here is memorable either. The tension between the darkened goth aspects and the more cheerful pop elements finds the melodic touches winning out. Not quite goth enough for my tastes but as a goth pop rock release it’s not at all a horrible listen.


Album · 1993 · Gothic Metal
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I’ll have to admit right off the bat, as someone who loves Gothic Metal, Type O Negative are pretty much antithesis to what I like to see in the genre. Full of humor and groove, the album is about as far removed from Doom as Gothic can get, and spits in the face of any melancholy normally associated with Gothic Metal. Most of the time, the band is just having fun, and as a result there is a lack of any genuine emotion to it.

There are at least plenty of moments of decent musical composition. The Title track stands out as quite a good song, their closest to Doom here, and a few other tracks make great use of keys and other sound effects to layer the music. Unfortunately, Peter is always throwing ridiculously stupid lyrics over the music, which ruins a good amount of it for me. His delivery in general is hammy in a bad way, like he’s always trying to parody something.

Impressive musically, disappointing altogether.

PARADISE LOST Believe in Nothing

Album · 2001 · Gothic Metal
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Paradise Lost began as pioneers of a distinctive death-doom sound before they went on a long, gradual journey, shifting through gothic metal to increasingly less extreme metal-oriented styles until on Host they exited the metal world altogether, producing an album of synth-oriented gothic rock.

Believe In Nothing begins their long trek back to their roots. Ultimately, I think Paradise Lost's journey away from and then back towards the gothic-doom metal blend which is their main forte was a good thing: by undertaking that trip, they were able to return to extreme metal having stretched their wings a bit and learned a few lessons they wouldn't have if they'd stayed in their comfort zone, and were stronger for it.

That said, the journey itself is a little rough to listen to. Host was good but not great, and anyone who's into synth-heavy goth music has probably heard better. The return of heavy guitars and metal stylings on Believe In Nothing is in that respect a welcome reprieve, though it has to be said that their sound ends up feeling a little generic here - there's a few too many moments where they sound like commercial pretenders to the throne, rather than the mighty unit which gave us albums like Draconian Times.

Still, the album does do some interesting things, exploring how the synths of Host and current alternative rock trends could work their way into a sound suggestive of Paradise Lost's glory days without quite arriving there. If Believe In Nothing doesn't sound like top tier Paradise Lost, it at least sounds like a pretty decent support band warming up the crowd before Paradise Lost themselves take to the stage - and in its grander moments, you can get a good whiff of the real deal.

If you are into gothic metal to any particular extent, that probably sounds good to you, and it sounds alright to me - except it can be very hard to get over the fact that it's Paradise Lost themselves doing this, and you know they're capable of more.

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