With this article I hope to create a short, brief but at the same time complete history of the genre and subculture know as Goth.
The often believed beginning of the culture is the club in England known as The Batcave. The Batcave was run by the band Specimen and had concerts from many of the founding fathers of Goth such as Sex Gang Children, Bauhaus, Alien Sex Fiend and Specimen themselves.
Now onto the actual music.
Often believed the earliest form of Goth, Deathrock is based around Glam Rock and Post-Punk with influence from old 50's Horror movies and an interest in the occult. Artists in this genre include Specimen, Christian Death, 45 Grave and Kommunity FK.
First Wave of Goth Rock:
Bands in this period were apart of the Post-Punk genre but wanted to experiment with things such as appearance. The first band in this is one of the most popular bands in the Post-Punk and Gothic genre and that is Joy Division (for an example give their last album "Closer" a listen) because many of the bands in this genre made music with an influence from them in particular Bauhaus, Bauhaus is often credited with the first Goth song due to "Bela Lugosi's Dead". The two most influential bands in this Genre are arguably Siouxsie And The Banshees and The Cure due to the guitar playing of both John Mcgeoch and Robert Smith both popularizing the heavily flanged guitar that would be used on COUNTLESS Goth Songs to come. Artists in this genre include The Cure, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Bauhaus and Joy Division also The Virgin Prunes, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, The Birthday Party and also Killing Joke.
Ethereal Wave (including Dream Pop and Neoclassical):
Goth has often been involved in the Dream Pop genre Cocteau Twins are often used as an example due to their very atmospheric guitar sounds and indecipherable vocals. A band with connections in Ethereal and Neoclassical is Dead Can Dance they create a very dark and haunting sound combining elements of folk, world and Gregorian Chant. The common thread between these bands is the record label 4AD in particular the label's supergroup This Mortal Coil. This Mortal Coil was created by the Label's founder as a way to give back to the artists that he loved by having artists on his label cover them (with originals thrown in). The most famous recording of This Mortal Coil is the cover of the Tim Buckley's "Song To The Siren" which has been used in movies such as "The Lovely Bones" and "Lost Highway". Artists in this genre include Xmal Deutschland, Love Spirals Downwards, Autumn's Grey Solace and Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil also Dead Can Dance.
Darkwave is a combination of Goth's dark oppressive sound and Dance Music.
The band often considered the beginning of this is Clan Of Xymox who took the slightly dark sound that Depeche Mode were trying to make and pushed it way further and used guitar to compliment the atmosphere created by the synths. Darkwave in America though is much more Ethereal based though due to Sam Rosenthal's Projekt Records and his band Black Tape For A Blue Girl.
Artists in this Genre include Clan Of Xymox, The Frozen Autumn, The Crxshadows and Wolfsheim.
Second Wave of Goth Rock:
The second wave of Goth begins with The Sisters Of Mercy's album "First And Last And Always" which created the almost cliche Goth sound on songs such as Marian and the title track. Another extremely important band at this point is The Mission which formed from Wayne Hussey a former member of The Sisters Of Mercy they combined what The Sisters were doing with a hard edged rock sound thus creating the sort of sound The Cult would become popular with when they released "She Sells Sanctuary". Artists in this Genre include The Sisters Of Mercy, The Mission, The Cult and also bands such as Fields Of The Nephilim, Nosferatu and Inkubus Sukkubus.
During the 90's nothing very much happened in the Goth genre other than Dark Cabaret and their was not much of it at the time. Basically the only Dark Cabaret artist then was Voltaire. With his album "The Devil's Bris" he began to popularized an new style for people to experiment with such as The Dresden Dolls. Artists in this Genre include Voltaire, The Dresden Dolls, Black Tape For A Blue Girl and Rozz Williams, Gavin Friday, Gitane Demone.
Now for the final chapter in our journey. Goth I believe is slowly building a comeback through artists such as Zola Jesus and Black Marble by creating a sound coming almost directly from the founding fathers but still being fairly rooted in modern music through Zola Jesus's almost Gothic Lady Gaga look and sound and also through Black Marble's Coldwave and Minimal synth simplicity and beauty. But their are still many bands who hold on to the tradition of Goth's older sound but are still able to write amazing songs evidenced by bands such as Plastique Noir and She Past Away.
So that's that I perhaps maybe this will change some peoples minds about Goth if it doesn't oh well but for the people who it did hears a list of Goth Albums to listen to going from the beginning to now:
Christian Death - "Only Theater Of Pain"
Joy Division - "Unknown Pleasures" or "Closer"
Bauhaus - "In The Flat Field"
The Cure - "Pornography" or "Disintegration"
Cocteau Twins - "Treasure" or "Victorialand"
Dead Can Dance - "Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun"
This Mortal Coil - "It'll End In Tears"
Clan Of Xymox - "Clan Of Xymox" or "Medusa"
The Frozen Autumn - "Emotional Screening Device"
Black Tape For A Blue Girl - "Remnants Of A Deeper Purity"
The Sisters Of Mercy - "First And Last And Always" or "Floodland"
The Mission - "God's Own Medicine"
Fields Of The Nephilim - "The Nephilim" or "Elizium"
Voltaire - "Riding A Black Unicorn Down The Side Of An Erupting Volcano While Drinking From A Chalice Filled With The Laughter Of Small Children"
Black Marble - "A Different Arrangement"
Plastique Noir - "Dead Pop" or "Affects"
She Past Away - "Belirdi Gece"