The Guide To Goth Music

Goth music, culture and its evolution by Erling and Alix Dorrington.

Ultimate Guitar
First things first... This article is intended to banish a few myths and explain modern day Goth, the Music and Culture. It is not open flaming for the narrowminded or plain ignorant thats what forums are for, if you are either of these, click back on your browser, and read somthing else. Though all constructive criticism is more than welcome. Moving on swiftly. Enjoy the article (Its a long read but very worth it).

Who Are The Goths?

Goth is an alternative subculture; it is both a style of music and a fashion, like Punk. People who listen to the music don't necessarily dress in the style, and people who look like goths don't necessarily like the music either - a lot of metal fans have adopted the goth look, making for a great deal of confusion. The Goth Rock and the Goth Metal genres started around the same time, but Gothic Metal has very little in common with Goth Rock.

So What Does "Goth" Mean?

The name originally came from a Germanic tribe (The Goths). The Romans regarded them as barbaric and uncultured. "Gothic" was later applied to a style of medieval architecture by critics who regarded it as similarly barbaric and uncultured. Therefor the name Goth. The Doors were described as being gothic rock. In 1967 which is interesting because important Goth Rock bands like Joy Division were really influenced by them. This very important band (Joy Division for those whose attention lapsed) was called "Gothic compared to the pop mainstream" by Tony Wilson TV show on BBC in 1979. Which brings us onto the important dates of Goth music.

So what important dates do we have?

  • 1974 - David Bowie describes "Diamond Dogs" as "Gothic".
  • 1979 - Souxie and The Banshees describes their new album "Join Hands" as being gothic.
  • 1979 - Tony Wilson describes Joy Division as being Gothic compared to the pop mainstream.
  • 1982 - The fans of the Goth Rock band "Sex Gang Children" gets the name "Goths".
  • 1983-84 - Goth was a well known and growing subculture, but a lot of the big bands had split up, even Bauhaus the only band that can be called true Goth Rock had split up...
  • 1985 - Another major Goth Rock casualty as The Sisters Of Mercy split up. Then we have the newcomers and famous "Fields Of The Nephilim" they also had the deep vocal stylings, similar to The Sisters Of Mercy... but their sound ended up far away from goth rock. At the same time The Cure were really popular amongst The Goths "Pornography" would be their most goth like cd (Although in arguement the spaced out drearyness of Disintegration comes close). In the 1990`s with terrible covers of songs like Temple Of Love the Goth scene slowly died but still stayed quite popular in London (And still does, Camden being a Goth Hotspot amongst other things). The punk influenced Goth was dead. But Goth as we know it today just got born, with the power of distorted guitars, female vocals, male growling, organs (Do not misread as growling male organs) and lyrics which are/were both romantic and sad. The 80`s Goth still exists but its strongest in the UK and Germany, but the sound will never be the same anywhere because the new Goth Rock bands are to influenced by industrial and techno. Bands like Blutengel, Wumpscut, Gothminister (from Norway), The Cruxshaddows and Icon Of Coil, are all examples of this. Though under scrutiny, these bands get classed as industrial and into other subgenres. So the kids who hear about Goth today and get into it (including Ourselfs) get into Goth Metal bands like Type O Negative, Tristania, Theatre Of Tragedy, Sins Of Thy Beloved and many many more. Because this is the new goth style... Just like the evolution in the 70´s and 80`s. So the New wave of Goth Metallers/Rockers if we can call it that, is really far from the roots of real goth music. Bands like H-I-M (Who are not nu-metal, to clear up the argument before it begins) and The 69 Eyes... These are Goth Rock but they are much darker then Bauhaus, Sisters Of Mercy etc... Bauhaus and Sisters Of Mercy was actually called happy punk by some... Very strange since the stereotypical Goth today is slitting their wrists and commiting suicide. Bands like These (HIM, Evanescence, The 69 Eyes) is just another sign that the subculture is changing into new styles and attracts young listeners to the culture so that they also can learn about Bauhaus, The Cure, Sisters Of Mecy Ect, And enjoy these old bands. Many of these new Goth Rock bands are called Nu-Goth (like Metal and Nu-metal) by the people who are deep into goth music. The Goth Metal band "Type O Negative" have a song called "We Hate Everyone" and the lyrics are a mockery of the people who are narrowminded, judging Goths and Metallers, You can check the lyrics here. Thus ending our history of Gothic Rock and Metal, Proceed to read if you want some good recommendations of what to listen for. (The layout is Band: Song).

    Goth Metal And Goth Influenced Doom Metal

  • Cradle Of Filth - A Gothic Romance, Her Ghost In The Fog
  • Tristania - Angellore, Wormwood, My Lost Lenore, Lionheart
  • Theatre Of Tragedy - Machine, A Rose For The Dead
  • Seraphim Shock - Little Gothic, Prey, Beyond Forever
  • Lacuna Coil - Heaven's A Lie, Swamped
  • Sins Of Thy Beloved - Lake Of Sorrow, My Love, the kiss, all alone
  • Type O Negative - We Hate Everyone, Everything Dies
  • My Dying Bride - The Raven and The Rose, The Dreadful Hours
  • After Forever - Black Tomb
  • Moonspell - Vampiria, Made Of Storm, Opium
  • Poisonblack - Lay Your Heart To Rest
  • Sirenia - Sister Nightfall

    Goth Rock, Goth-pop And Nu-Goth

  • Bauhaus - She`s In Parties, The Man With X-Ray Eyes, Rosegarden Funeral Of Sores
  • Joy Division- Transmission, New Dawn Fades, Love Will Tear Us Apart
  • Sisters Of Mercy - Temple of Love, Kiss The Carpet
  • H-I-M - Your Sweet 666, Razorblade Kiss, The Funeral Of Hearts, Soul On Fire.
  • The 69 Eyes - Brandon Lee, Wasting The Dawn, Gothic Girl, Lost Boys
  • Scarling - Make You Belive, The Last Day I Was Happy, H over C
  • Jack Off Jill - Vivica, Fear Of Dying, Star No Star, Strawberry Gashes
  • Evanescence - Even In Death, Tourniqet The Cure - Burn, A Night Like This, A Forest, Lovesong, Pictures Of You
  • Miranda Sex Garden - A Fairytale About Slavery The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary, Firewoman

    Industrial, EMB/Alternative And Electronic Goth Music

  • Gothminister - Angel, Devil
  • Blutengel - Weg Zu Mir T
  • The Cruxshadows - Ave Maria, Even Angels Fall
  • Rasputina - tourniqet
  • Gothica - Medusa
  • Celldweller - Frozen
  • Icon Of Coil - Stimulated PM Either of us (Me, Alix Dorrington, or Erling). If you have any questions. This article in full is work of Erling and Alix D.
  • 233 comments sorted by best / new / date

      Great article... I'm glad to see you've noticed that evanescence actually has been goth. Before some dickhead record-executives decided they needed another linkin park.
      good article...except i didnt see nick cave and the bad seeds anywhere in it...lemme know if i missed it
      in every way possible plus everyone that is goth is either fat or they cut themselves
      no metion of NIN,Alkaline trio, Afi, the Beatles(thats right), Dead and Gone, the smashing pumpkins, manson, vendetta red, the mtsfits, the pixies, the smiths, or the church? these bands are great examples of the diversity in goth rock and its many faces.
      we know that,but now we focused on the music. can people get any dumber on this site?
      ^ lol, yeah people can get dumber on this website by making posts like this :
      erling: we know that,but now we focused on the music. can people get any dumber on this site? [POSTED: 31 January 2005 - 00:11]|
      GBO (gothic boner music) is always a treat when you're in a depressed mood.. haha made you look... heheeh bitches.
      "plus everyone that is goth is either fat or they cut themselves" :laughs for ten minutes: Ahhh, good times... I can't believe there are people that actually BELIEVE that! Whatever... Good article, you guys, but I really can't wait for the one in which you talk more about the culture. The music is awesome, and I'm so happy you mentioned the Crxshadows!!!! Thank you! Typing makes everything so difficult, but it's even worse when people can't keep an open mind about other people's opinions. There's more under the surface than what everyone seems to think. A lot of people are "gothic," but they aren't depressed at all. There are all kinds of different people under every label. Anyway, thanks again for the article! I understand you guys couldn't put ALL the bands you thought of, so I won't try and mention some. lol. In short, Goth music deserves recognition! ^_^\m/ ~Lita~
      "good article...except i didnt see nick cave and the bad seeds anywhere in it...lemme know if i missed it" My bad...I didnt include nick cave&the bad seeds...dont like them anyway ,lol.
      you know i am really starting to hate all the narrow minded, genre bashin dicks who must have little people on their shoulders going, "Go bash this genre bash it." if you don't like the music then shut ur trap all ur doin is pissin off a bunch of people who would like to hurt you. personally i thought this was a great article awesome job.
      man where's hendrix isn't he goth? jk i'll wait for the next article before i make any judgements, but i'm really pretty neutral on the whole "is goth good or bad" thing. i've just realized that there are way way way too many subgenres out there though.
      good artical. but i think that there are way too many different genres of music, and it confuses (sp?), but i get confused easilly.
      I hate Slipknot. SK is almost pop-punk. Heh, whoever said that about Ashlee Simpson would be right.
      Slipknot sucks!!!! What about nightwish?! Gothic or not? Good article dude!
      bass tron: No mention of Interpol that sucks they have awesome lyrics and The Cure never really was goth Yes, but they had some influences.
      L.A. Woman
      ...The Doors...gothic...? wtf? weren't they like, psychedelic rock or something? *okay i'm a huge Doors fan but i wouldn't really know how to call what they made, i just love it :p*
      L.A. Woman
      yay for Within Temptation btw :p they're from my town. It's good 'gothic' music, though they deny that they're gothic or so i've heard *sighs* and ofcourse nice article dudes clears things up a bit i hope
      I freaken hate it when people think that a band sucks because it has gone pop. pop is short for popular, and there is a reason they are P o p u l a r, its because they are noticed by other people and are enjoyed, it might even be because they simply are good. I hate it when people hate bands because the band has become popular. It does not mean that they sold out, cause wouldn't you rather get paid good money for playing a show instead of living in a trashy place and not getting really any money in the name of "not selling out" (I do agree that some people do see out but, thats still a really small number). So just because someone has been found and becomes big doesnt mean that they have changed or anything. And for those of you who do not want to see a band progress in thier style because you feel that they are "leaving thier roots" you are full of it. progression leads to profection, and is a healthy path for a band to take, that way the song you wrote when you first started out doesnt sound like something you write now.
      it does mean they sold out if they f*cking sound nothing like they used to and only got popular cuz of their image.
      Cool article It's interesting to know Bauhaus (a very famous art school/muesum in germany) actually inspired a band name. I'm not really to heavily into gothic rock for my own reasons, but its still a pretty cool genre and alot of the musicians have talent
      slipknot = nu-metal manson + rammstein = industrial metal goth metal is lacuna coil, paradise lost etc. the doors are not goth but have been influences of the early scene so can be said to have been one of the founders cradle of filth and dimmu borgir are black metal
      Who freaking cares whether manson is goth or why black metal is different than goth metal? It doesnt have to be that complicated! That's how you give yourself an aneurysm...
      Mr. Clean
      erling: "Goths are an East Germanic tribe that originated in Gtaland and Gotland, which lies within modern day Scandinavia." not exactly..the "viso goths" and "ostro goths" came from east europa...not sweden. bad But in all seriousness, I meant the general tribe considered the Goths not the sub-tribes
      bass tron
      No mention of Interpol that sucks they have awesome lyrics and The Cure never really was goth
      Goth churches during midieval times were actually bright, with large columns and colorful stained-glass windows, contrary to what most people think of as goth today.
      NirvanaRocks00: the doors and david bowie are not goth music, they are alot better than all that goth stuff
      are you retarded and cannot possess the abibily to read an article completly and thouroughly? read the article again.
      Dlawso: Slipknot is NU/Death-Metal.... I think.....
      slipknot are about as close to death metal as ashless simpson is close to punk.
      bass tron: No mention of Interpol that sucks they have awesome lyrics and The Cure never really was goth
      hmm.. interpol was heavily influenced by Joy Division, but i cant say theyre goth rock.
      lyingfromyou118: Goth churches during midieval times were actually bright, with large columns and colorful stained-glass windows, contrary to what most people think of as goth today.
      speaking of goth churches...i actually have a church in my town that has a gothic (as in the subculture theme) "first church of the living dead".....i just don't get it.
      Emenius Sleepus
      teo_huat: more people are more into the fashion of goth rather than listening to goth music in my opinion .... anyone agree??
      unfortunately you are right,.. there are a fair few that adopt the style of dress (often not complete), and concentrate on that rather than the ideology and life as a goth. And the more annoying thing is then they call themselves goths. So go figure.
      Emenius Sleepus
      I'm going to go ahead and have to disagree with you about your comment of Gothic architecture being considered barbaric.
      I'll join you in disagreeing that it is barbaric, but when it first started appearing that is what people saw it as, not all of course, but still... It is however very beautiful... Manson's music isn't goth, although it certainly has elements of it, and he loves and is influenced by Bowie and Bauhaus. His music is more of an industrial persuasion, and at least a mention of him would have been appreciated, otherwise a very nice effort... A lot better than "Why goth music is bad" article that was posted on UG a while a go.