Gothic Metal

Gothic Metal Radio

Gothic Metal Bands
  1. After Forever Buy: CDs
  2. Evereve Buy: CDs
  3. Delain Buy: CDs
  4. Lacuna Coil Buy: CDs
  5. Lacrimas Profundere Buy: CDs
  6. Lacrimosa Buy: CDs
  7. Lake of Tears Buy: CDs
  8. Liv Kristine / Leaves Eyes Buy: LK albums || LE albums
  9. Nightwish Buy: CDs
  10. Novembers Doom Buy: CDs
  11. Opera IX Buy: CDs
  12. Paradise Lost Buy: CDs || DVDs
  13. The Sins Of Thy Beloved Buy: CDs
  14. Sirenia Buy: CDs
  15. (NEW!) Tarja Turunen Buy: CDs || DVDs
  16. Theatre of Tragedy Buy: CDs
  17. Therion Buy: CDs || DVDs
  18. Tiamat Buy: CDs || DVDs
  19. Tristania Buy: CDs || DVDs
  20. Type O Negative Buy: CDs || DVDs
  21. Virgin Black Buy: CDs
  22. Within Temptation Buy: CDs

General Description

Gothic metal is a genre of heavy metal music that originated during the mid 1990s in Europe as an outgrowth of doom-death, a fusion genre of doom metal and death metal.

The definition of gothic metal is commonly debated amongst fans and the media; older fans and musicians have a firm concept of the genre and its characteristics, having been around through its growth and evolution, having strict ideas of what bands pertain to the genre and what bands don't. Newer fans reject this categorization as limiting, useless or wrong, often claiming bands are gothic metal that do not meet the criteria of the older fans


Gothic metal is sometimes considered a broad genre in the way it sounds due to a lack of a centralised ideology in regards to this aspect of the music. The genre is mainly defined by its composition and its aesthetics, leaving individual bands to provide their own artistic interpretations of what to include and/or leave out. The only prerequisite characteristics of the music are the genres use of dual vocalists, keyboards and acoustic guitars.

Gothic metal tends to take influence from the doom metal, black metal, and death metal subgenres of Heavy metal for its composition, heavily synthesizing the styles of their melody and rhythm ideas in its guitar riffs, often causing the music to be aggressive and fast paced. Acoustic guitars are sometimes present in gothic metal, with bands that feature two guitarists, one guitarist is often found playing a form of acoustic guitar. The acoustic guitar is used in the same way as its electronic counterpart, and is normally found playing melodies of equal technicality. The bass guitar in gothic metal is usually played using lower tones akin to doom metal, often combined with the aggressive playing of black and death metal. The bass guitar is often the main contributor to the atmosphere in songs, though has also been seen as performing a duet with the keyboarding in this regard.

Keyboards in gothic metal play a significant role in the music, often replacing the second guitarist in bands and taking on the role of either lead or rhythm. The keyboards are often used to imitate a variety of instruments, most often string and wind instruments, though this varies between artists.

Gothic metal makes heavy use of atmospheres in its music, which are commonly tailored to fit the song; warm and energetic, empty and enclosing. The atmosphere rarely follows the deep morbidity of doom metal unlike its origin/offspring, doom-death/gothic-doom, or the upbeat nature of closely related genre, symphonic metal. The use of the atmospherics is often to draw the listener into the music, as if to give them a sense of being involved with what is happening in the song.

Lyrical themes

Lyrically, gothic metal is centered around romances and fantasy tales that end in tragedy for one or more parties involved. The setting for the lyrics are most often in the New Age or the Dark Ages, but can also be in Victorian, Edwardian, Roman, or modern eras. The romantic- and fantasy-themed lyrics often used in gothic metal cover many broad subjects and are intended as being themes and guides to the lyricist, rather than a complete prerequisite of the genre. Gothic Metal bands typically do not write their albums in the form of separate songs; they rather write concept albums in the form of books. This is so that each song acts as a part, or, chapter, inspiring people to listen to the whole album in order to hear the story, instead of just certain songs. Penumbra's Seclusion and Silentium's Sufferion - Hamartia of Prudence are two gothic metal albums that prominently feature this style of lyrics.

Gothic metal bands normally have two vocalists, (also known as "Beauty and the Beast" vocals). One vocalist is typically male and uses vocals akin to black or death metal. The other vocalist is usually female, and often uses soprano vocals, or harmonic singing. Sometimes bands will use other forms of vocals included with the two prior vocalists, including (but not limited to) female death/black vocals, choirs, Gregorian chanting and male singing, but this tends to be limited to backing vocals and their thematic use within the song.


Origins (1983-1993)

Celtic Frost, although considered by many as an early black metal band, also played a semi-important role in the development of doom-death, due to their use of "gothic-sounding" atmospherics.

In the 1990s, a group of young bands in Northern England borrowed from the early gothic rock sound of the 1980s and incorporated it with the slow, down-tuned guitar dirges of Black Sabbath and similar doom metal bands. Doom-death, as it was known, was the first stage of the gothic-doom subgenre and the gothic-metal genre. Bands most notable for this style included Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and Anathema.

Although death metal and black metal were two of the larger genres of metal at this time, especially in the Scandinavian region, many bands who started in either genre had progressed more toward doom-death styles; two of these bands were Moonspell and Theatre of Tragedy.

While early doom-death bands Paradise Lost and Anathema used some female vocals in their music, the Netherland's The Gathering was the first doom-death band with a leading female singer, Marike Groot on the album Always... and then Martine Van Loon on Almost a Dance (both later replaced by another female singer, Anneke van Giersbergen). This set a pattern for gothic metal by adding the first implications of using two vocalists in the bands, which later became a signature of gothic metal as it was quickly imitated by bands including Tristania and Theatre of Tragedy.

Gothic Metal (1993-present)

Gothic metal originated in the early 1990s with bands such as Tristania and Therion taking the doom-death sound that had arisen and making romantically-themed music that borrowed from black metal's and death metal's guitar and vocal styles. These bands left behind some of the depressing nature and gothic rock elements of their origins to add more warm and classical elements into the music.

A softer genre known as symphonic metal had evolved in the mid- to late- 1990s from gothic metal bearing strong similarities to its predecessor, with bands led by female singers. During this time the divide between gothic metal and the new born symphonic metal became apparent; symphonic metal maintained a simpler approach, with more operatic and classical themes, while gothic metal incorporated more aggressive elements of death metal and black metal directly into the music, adding more technically complex melodies and rhythms into its music. Trail of Tears (band) and Penumbra (band) heading this last known progression in the music.

The gothic metal scene is currently very developed in Europe and Scandinavia, most notably in England, France, Norway and the Netherlands, and is growing rapidly in Germany. Much of the scene's core fan base has developed itself in England and France, with many of the bands coming from the Scandinavian region. Several groups of smaller bands are also emerging in eastern Europe and South America, struggling to gain a foothold where the scene is small.

Gothic Doom (1997-present)

In the late 1990s-2000 bands within the gothic metal genre had become somewhat prominent, and the genre symphonic metal had begun to emerge from it. At this point, several bands started to go the opposite path to symphonic metal for their, adding highly morbid themes, slowing down to a more slow-paced aggression akin to gothic metal, and began to abandon the Beauty And The Beast vocals that had become part of the gothic metal genre.

During this period, a boom of new bands occurred. These bands combined aspects directly from early 90s gothic metal with aspects of various forms of doom metal. Bands such as Chalice, Draconian (band), Even Vast, and Left Hand Solution all released albums or produced demo's at this time. These bands used various elements of gothic metal and doom metal in varied and undefined methods. This included the romantic lyrics and instrument usage with morbid atmospheres and slow, droning guitar work. These bands also often found inspiration from doom-death bands, often utilizing the same gothic rock mannerisms found in doom-death almost subconsciously. These new bands, with their morbid sound and nature, and noticeable gothic metal elements, were often debated as being gothic metal or doom metal, before finally being settled on as being 'gothic-doom'.

In the early 2000s another boom happened, many bands that were now considered gothic-doom released their first or second albums, with many more bands producing demo's. This second rush of bands and albums now emphasized parts of doom metal and gothic metal by melding aspects of the genres together. Lyrical themes of the genres were melded together, as were the guitaring, keyboarding, and atmoshperic styles of the genres.

Currently, gothic-doom is a widespread scene, with no centralized fan base or origins of bands. Gothic-doom's fanbase mostly tends to be fans heavily into gothic metal and/or doom metal, and currently lacks any major recognition beyond its borrowed stardom.



At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

I always find it incredibly hard to put labels on guitar based music. I do know that some of this stuff is quite tricky to learn on a guitar.

At 9:20 PM, Blogger Flora said...

Thank-you for that enlightening history of the genres I love so much. It was really cool to see how they all connect. Keep up the great work!

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