The Gothic Metal Thread

First Post March 26, 2020 08:10 PM

Type O Negative - "October Rust" (1996)

A classic gothic metal release with a more commercially accessible edge to it. Possibly their finest hour. For fans of Moonspell, Paradise Lost & Tiamat.


March 26, 2020 11:20 PM
I'm a fan of all 3 of those bands (Moonspell, Paradise Lost & Tiamat)! I might give this album a listen next week after I finish The Revolution Melodic Metalcore Clan Challenge...
March 26, 2020 11:34 PM

You've saved me from making the recommendation I was planning for you Andi. :)

March 26, 2020 11:41 PM
Thank you and you're welcome, Daniel!
April 01, 2020 10:21 AM

A gothic metal classic! 5/5. Cheers for that, Daniel!

October 02, 2021 03:18 AM

This week's list is my Top Ten Gothic Metal Releases Of All Time:

01. MonumentuM – “In Absentia Christi” (1995)

02. The Gathering – “Nighttime Birds” (1997)

03. Tiamat – “Wildhoney” (1994)

04. Type O Negative – “October Rust” (1996)

05. Paradise Lost – “Icon”

06. The Gathering – “Mandylion” (1995)

07. Paradise Lost – “Draconian Times” (1995)

08. Type O Negative – “World Coming Down” (1999)

09. Swallow The Sun – “Emerald Forest & the Blackbird” (2012)

10. Paradise Lost – “Tragic Idol” (2012)

October 02, 2021 04:03 AM

I haven't listened to that MonumentuM album yet, but that can make a good addition to my gothic metal bucket list...

October 02, 2021 04:49 AM

Don’t expect much metal on the MonumentuM record Andi. The links are tenuous at best. The main reason that “In Absentia Christi” is spoken of in metal terms is the links to Euronymous as it was released on his Deathlike Silence label. It’s really a gothic darkwave release in my opinion. I only cleared it for inclusion on the general consensus rather than my own personal feelings but it’s one of my all-time faves none the less.

October 02, 2021 01:43 PM
I took a quick listen to the first 15 minutes or so of the album, and I could hear what you mean, Daniel. This is indeed gothic darkwave with barely any emphasis of metal, and by what I've heard, it has no chance of ever making me reconsider my move out of gothic/doom metal to be finalized this month. By the beginning of track 5, with the twinkling of a lullaby crib mobile, I had enough. Darkwave is not my thing, so don't ever expect me to listen to more of this band or a group of a similar style like Nox Arcana. Though it has been great listening to those albums from Paradise Lost and Type O Negative, and earlier on, Tiamat and The Gathering, throughout my years in the gothic/doom zone...
August 14, 2022 12:59 PM

Hangman's Chair - A Loner (2022)

I must admit that this is my first exposure to French gothic metallers Hangman's Chair, so I was unsure what to expect. Well this isn't the gothic death doom of My Dying Bride or Swallow the Sun, but is a much cleaner style of doom metal altogether. It utilises contemporary melodic doom structures and overlays them with a clear, ringing lead guitar tone and clean vocals which in effect comes across as a metallised version of gothic rock bands like The Cult et al. With it's oft-catchy choruses, clean vocals and melodic riffs it is perhaps a little more commercial-sounding than I would usually be comfortable with, but I would be lying if I said I didn't find anything I enjoyed here.

Oh, and is it just me or does the lead singer often sound like Alison Moyet?

March 24, 2023 04:11 PM

Tribunal - The Weight of Remembrance (2023)

The Weight of Remembrance is the debut from Canadian gothic doom duo, Tribunal, who consist of vocalist/guitarist Etienne Flinn and vocalist/bassist/cellist Soren Mourne. I would classify this as a gothic metal album with a marked doom metal presence rather than an out and out doom metal album. The duo employ a dual female/male vocal dynamic, but rather than the female vocals providing an ethereal, angelic counterpoint to the harsh male vocals, Soren Mourne's singing is more powerful than that, not adhering to the overdone beauty and the beast vocal cliche and are one of the album's plus points. Unfortunately her blackened harsh vocals are nowhere near as successful as her cleans and the deathly growls of the male vocals isn't very impressive either.

Musically, there are plenty of doomy riffs, however none of them are especially great - they aren't bad, but they do feel a bit tired at times. The duo use drummer Julia Geaman in a live setting and indeed she is behind the kit here, but sadly the drum sound feels quite pedestrian and doesn't do her any favours at all. The cello adds a nice atmospheric touch occasionally, especially on my favourite track, Apathy's Keep, but generally it isn't really that much to write home about. The production seems a bit sparse for an album aiming for a gothic atmosphere, which really requires a more lush sound and, as such, contributes to the album's failings.

I feel like I have been overly harsh about The Weight of Remembrance, but I have listened to a lot of this sort of stuff over the years and even though this is perfectly servicable doom-laden gothic metal, containing all the requisite ingredients, it doesn't do anything particularly impressive or adventurous with them and fails to poke it's head far above the parapet of mediocrity for the most part - those clean female vocals apart.


April 13, 2023 09:06 PM

Lake of Tears - "Forever Autumn" (1999)

I hadn't heard anything Swedish gothic metallers Lake of Tears have done since their underwhelming 1994 "Greater Art" debut album when they were still a doom/death band but if this is the best they can do then I'm not sure they're for me. "Forever Autumn" is generally tagged as a gothic metal/gothic rock hybrid but there's no goth rock here that I can see. The majority of the tracklisting is made up of a pretty unintimidating form of gothic metal with the remainder of the album being comprised of stripped back acoustic progressive rock outings with a strong synthesizer component. Think Tiamat & Paradise Lost meets Pink Floyd & 90's Metallica & you won't be too far off the mark, particularly given that front man Daniel Brennare seems to want to clone "Load"/"Reload"-era James Hetfield pretty closely. There are a few enjoyable tracks here but I find the majority of the album to sound pretty flat.


P.S. Some of you might find it interesting that guitarist Magnus Sahlgren was a part of this lineup at the same time that he was in legendary Swedish death metal establishment Dismember.

April 14, 2023 09:43 PM

Theatre of Tragedy - "Aégis" (1998)

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed ToT's third album actually as I'm sure Ben would remember our conflict over the band's merits when it came to their earlier material back in the mid-1990's. I can't recall whether I've ever heard "Aégis" before but found it to be significantly less cheesy than I was expecting. It's certainly a much better record than the Lake of Tears album I checked out yesterday. The massive seven-piece lineup works nicely with the dual vocals being incorporated quite well, even if Liv Kristine isn't the talent that some of her gothic metal contemporaries might be. There's a strong Paradise Lost influence throughout as well as many of the big names of the 80's gothic rock scene although I have to admit that I fail to see how anyone could tag this album as gothic rock as it's clearly a metal-based release. I'd suggest that a decent description would be the gothic doom of Draconian meets female-fronted bands like The Gathering & The 3rd & the Mortal. There are a couple of flat tracks in "Cassandra" & "Poppaea" but the rest is quite engaging with the highlights being "Aoede", "Sirens" & "Bachante". This is one of the better gothic metal releases I've heard actually.


My updated Top Ten Gothic Metal Releases of All Time looks like this:

01. MonumentuM – “In Absentia Christi” (1995)

02. The Gathering – “Nighttime Birds” (1997)

03. Tiamat – “Wildhoney” (1994)

04. Type O Negative – “October Rust” (1996)

05. Paradise Lost – “Icon”

06. The Gathering – “Mandylion” (1995)

07. Type O Negative – “World Coming Down” (1999)

08. Paradise Lost – “Draconian Times” (1995)

09. Swallow The Sun – “Emerald Forest & the Blackbird” (2012)

10. Theatre of Tragedy - "Aégis" (1998)

September 18, 2023 01:47 PM

The Abbey - Word of Sin (2023)

The Abbey are a Finnish five-piece who play doomy gothic metal with some progressive tendencies. Probably the most well-known member is female vocalist Natalie Koskinen who is, of course, vocalist with funeral doom merchants Shape of Despair. The Abbey employ dual male/female vocals, but shy away from the "beauty and the beast" style of male growls and ethereal female wails, focussing on a harmonised and layered clean delivery. Formed in 2021, Word of Sin is the band's debut full-length release.

At their doomiest a comparison with Draconian Times-era Paradise Lost is justified, but that isn't the only card they play. They throw in a couple of quicker tracks, A Thousand Dead Witches and Temple of Pain, that have galloping, heavy metal-style riffs that energise the album and contrast quite nicely with the slower, more laconic material. In truth, though, for me there isn't enough weight to the majority of the album and it sits quite firmly on the lighter side of the gothic doom fence, concentrating on producing beautiful melodies rather than playing to the melancholy, sorrowful nature that the best of the genre has to offer. Admittedly, what they do, they do very well and Word of Sin has some very nice melodies indeed which may stay with you well after the album has finished playing.

The album ends with the Lovecraftian-themed two-parter of Old Ones Prequel and the almost thirteen minutes of Old Ones itself and sees The Abbey indulge a more progressive side of their sound. Old Ones Prequel is an acoustic guitar and male-voiced piece with singer Jesse Heikkinen sounding very much like Wayne Hussey of UK gothic rockers The Mission and serves as an intro to the album's main event. Old Ones proper begins with an ominous doomy atmosphere that possesses one of the albums most memorable melodies combined with some very nice, soaring lead work. Around mid-point the melody fades and we are treated to an organ-led instrumental passage that evokes a high-ceilinged and expansive volume of space set aside for the worship of the unseen Old Ones, eventually giving way to a ponderous riff, more soaring lead work and a harmonised choral vocal that combine as one to a rather satisfying crescendo. This closing two-parter is by far my highlight of the album and the band's unleashing of this more progressive side is a path I hope they continue down with further releases.

The production on  Word of Sin is decent, but again emphasises the lighter over the darker and heavier. The vocals and guitar leads are given particular prominence with the riffs lacking the density that I prefer in any doom-related enterprise and with the rhythm section taking a back seat for the most part. The production, however, does perfectly suit the Old Ones and it's more progressive tendencies and serves to emphasise just how superior this closing section of the album is.


October 09, 2023 11:15 PM

Type O Negative - Bloody Kisses (1993)

Genres: Goth Metal

Secondaries: Doom Metal, Alt-Rock, Hardcore Punk

Goth metal is one of my least explored genres, which I think is extremely hypocritical of me considering that I adore gothic and dark touches in things.  You have Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf to thank for that one.  As such, I've only heard a couple of Type O Negative albums, namely their most famous two: Bloody Kisses and October Rust.  I'm literally working on a couple of vampire novel ideas, and my debut novel was partly about zombies.  Ever since I saw The Nightmare Before Christmas as a kid, I realized how much I like dark and gothic stuff.  The desire for it became stronger and stronger, and the best album I can think of that replicates my current love of darkness is Bloody Kisses.

Bloody Kisses is an album all about the balance of everything that makes music what it is.  For example, the wide variety of the album brings gothic metal and rock into the world of doom, alternative, psych, hardcore punk, shoegaze and industrial in random places, despite the fact that we still have a primarily gothic sound.  The album's shorter songs have a tendency to morph into other genres while never breaking form, whereas the slower songs are all about the atmospheric gothic doom sound that fans of darker and slower music tend to love.  Yes, the songs still morph occasionally and the atmosphere is a gorgeously produced blend of the two genres with Steele's voice poetically chanting Nick Cave style topics with flawless delivery, which brings me to the next form of balance: deep gothic whispers and growls as well as higher pitched singing.  Everything in between is there.  This variety also has a bit of a humorous side, as we get a serious parody of hippie pop rock and a couple hardcore punk intros and outros for certain gloomy gothic doom songs.  And they still remain catchy as well as heavy.

On top of this Beatles-style exploration of the metal and rock worlds, there is a balance of the slower droning that the niche fanbase loves as well as some serious accessibility.  I mean, even the slower songs have SOME catchiness about them, because Type O Negative is one of the best bands you can get when looking for a melodic act.  This never gets in the way of whatever moods the band is trying to go for, and unlike a similarly handled album, say the overly-ambitious self-titled Beatles album, there are NO weak tracks.  In fact, the segues and skits have so much atmospheric power in them that I can't possibly even enjoy the idea of listening to this album without them.  I'm really glad Type O Negative made that choice, considering their back-to-back jokes tracks from their next album, October Rust, did nothing to set up the mood for that album.  On Bloody Kisses, it's different; they're all about setting up sexual and gothic tones.

I enjoyed every atmosphere, every note played and every word sung.  The whole album shows the band mastering the advanced tricks of music in a perfectly balanced way, and its presence glows green with gothic power and lust.  I'm having trouble deciding whether this is my favorite goth album instead of Let Love In.  It's an extremely close call.  On the second listen, October Rust has made it to my top 50 albums of all time, and I can even say I enjoy this album more than Paranoid, an honor I've given to only four other albums at this point.

And now for the obligatory "Rest in peace, Peter Steele."


October 13, 2023 12:43 AM

Type O Negative - The origin of the Feces (1992)

Genres: Gothic Doom Metal

I've officially become a fan of Type O Negative upon my revisits of Bloody Kisses and October Rust, as well as my exposure to World Coming Down and The Least Worst of Type O Negative.  I'm in love with their reliance on presence and personality over sticking with a scene, because they didn't really have much of a "scene" to stick to when they came out.  They helped invent goth metal, so they were very unique.  They also became controversial for their gruesome lyrical content, which showed heavily on their debut, Slow Deep and Hard, which mingled goth metal, doom metal and even bits of crossover thrash.  Now it seemed a little awkward but good at first, so they took the personality aspect to the next level and recorded a fake live album to show off that they were a black comedy band in a sense.

Basically, Type O negative's debut was when they were introducing their style, but The Origin of the Feces is the album where they were introducing their personality, and it didn't really get in the way of the music because the parody aspects were still handled in a serious manner to help the album.  Peter Steele feels like a real rocker and a metalhead when speaking out to the fake audience.  There's less of a drifting doom effect in this 40-minute album than the hour-long debut, and the production technique was replaced with a noisier and punkish sound that perfectly fused the doom and gothic elements with the crossover thrash bits that felt awkward on the debut.  Because of this, every great song from the original album is made more consistent, less awkward and easier to get behind.  This really isn't an album for diehard doom fans because of the noise; no, it's an album for fans of Type O Negative's personality as well as their music.  And if you have the extended edition at your disposal, you at least have to listen to the GORGEOUS doom metal cover of Black Sabbath's Paranoid.  It's more haunting and surreal than the fast-paced heavy metal original.  I honestly prefer it.

I finally have an ACTUAL controversial opinion: this is one of Type O negative's best albums.  This is boldness with a beautiful noise-production style and excellent flow, making this an improved variant of their debut if you ask me.  The joke might be unfunny or even pointless to some, but this sophomore work isn't so drawn out, each song has its own identity, and the noisier sound and mixing makes everything about the past album feel more natural, as if they finally found a proper ground to work with, removing some smoothness of the doom metal for this sound.  Once the joke wears off, there's personality, because this album really does feel like a live album with a very comedic side, like the cricket sounds at the end.  If only the original version included that incredible Paranoid cover, then I might've given it a 100.


October 15, 2023 11:29 PM

Tristania - World of Glass (2001)

Genre: Symphonic Goth Metal

After having finished the Type O Negative catalog, my next goth metal band to go through would be one I checked out a couple albums by years ago but wasn't fully into save one album: Tristania, and the album was Beyond the Veil.  After a revisit to the band, my opinions on their debut were exactly the same: same song ten times, beautiful and melodic but kind of generic.  I liked the next one slightly more, though; varied and experimental, even though every song is covering each influence in small doses, technically meaning that the variety aspect is hypocritically handled IMO by not bothering to differentiate the songs.  After checking out the genre tagging of their third album, World of Glass, I was interested in what these other sounds were supposed to be.

We get all of the familiar elements of the previous album with more of an idea of differentiating focal points on a track-by-track basis as opposed to combining them all in every track.  This is the best possible decision due to the extra influences that came aboard, notably the ethereal wave and the industrial metal.  There was so much to their identity, that they had to think about writing DIFFERENT TYPES of songs.  It might've been the only way to stay relevant to the goth scene.  And I'd say it worked.  Songs like The Shining Path and Crushed Dreams are all about that beautiful symphonic vibe, but there are even weirder, unique moments like the industrial Modern End which features heavy usage of repetitive riffs and a carefully placed symphonic layer to make it unique to the industrial vibe.  And considering how slow and dark Wormwood was, I'd say it was basically an epic doom metal track hiding under the symphonic tag and Tristania's signature aura.  There will be plenty of room for doom and death to make careful appearances depending on the pre-established vibes of each song, and each one has its own strong presence.  But there are a couple morphers which carry a few influences, progressively organized to keep the flow going and the Tristania feel strong.

There's been those who love this album, and those disappointed in the new directions.  Some ever say that this is a less "melodic" album.  But I think the melodies for both the instrumentation and the vocalists, though noticeably very different from each other, go hand in hand to keep the vibes strong.  I can honestly say that I prefer this Tristania album over the first two, and I hope to see more new ideas in the other albums.

October 16, 2023 11:30 PM

Tristania - Ashes (2005)

Genres: Goth Metal

So while I can't say I'm a Tristania "fan," I certainly appreciate how they've more or less become the kind of band I was looking for by the third album: a band that was willing to try a bunch of new things and differentiate songs.  The way I see it, a band good at multiple genres is a band with multiple talents, and I prefer a band with multiple talents over a band with one talent.  And of course, I'd like for it to show on a full album time and time again.  Although struggling with this on their first two albums, Tristania mastered this personality aspect on their third, and continued it on Ashes.

Ashes sees a dramatic shift from the symphonic sound in the long run.  The entire purpose of this album is to morph songs from genre to genre by using mood to keep the flow intact.  This album succeeds at this in every aspect, and may even be better at this than the previous album where they finally nailed the craft.  We have instances of symphonic blending with atmpsheric ethereal wave to bring out Tristania's strong gothic presence while still maintaining a metal edge as we see influences ranging from death metal to metalcore.  And it all fits the sadness and anger of this work.

However, while a part of me would like to give an album like that five stars, there are two major problems getting in the way of that.  First of all, one of the strongest aspects of World of Glass, the previous album, was that the vocal melodies and the instrument's melodies paired together beautifully despite being so different.  There is much less melody here in the vocals, leaving the instruments to deliver many beautiful melodies.  On top of that, the production is a little fuzzier, slightly drowning the vocals.

I think this is a well made album for its strengths, and it continues exactly what I wanted to see from Tristania in a diversity aspect.  But its flaws are pretty obvious.  Otherwise, this is an album where Tristania rely on their personality, and it makes for a good release in need of remastering.


October 21, 2023 03:56 AM

Draconian - Where Lovers Mourn (2003)

Genres: Gothic Doom Metal

This is a pretty special day for me.  I have officially marked my 13,000th music album heard.  And for that position I chose Kanye's live album, Late Orchestration.  I'm really happy with the outcome of recent musical ventures, but there's more to it.  Apparently, as this is smackdab in the middle of my goth metal phase, today just so happens to be the 20th anniversary of the debut album by one of the goth metal bands I was considering exploring: Draconian.  Since I was struggling with which band to check out next, the revelation made my decision.  Thanks a bunch to Shadowdoom9 for discovering this!

So Draconian are pretty much what you want from a gothic doom metal act: this slow droning and gothic sound have a strong potency, and this sound of theirs is so well done and good that it pretty much has a lot of staying power.  Even though this means the album's pretty samey, the sound really doesn't get tiring thanks to perfect production and a good balance between timing and melody, whether slow or fast.  These are all aspects that musicians can easily screw up, and so far Draconian don't seem to be doing that.  The fact that they were able to accomplish that much at least on the debut seems to be what makes this album a well-received classic among fans of the niche appeal.  However, as far as creating an album goes, I feel that I should only give the album extra points for its monotony while still acknowledging that they could've done more if they got the general idea right on their first try.  They could've even only taken one extra step forward in the creative department and improved this album quickly.  Despite this, I loved the inclusion of that very short folk song near the end.  It really brought some Celtic vibes to the album, which were out of place stylistically but perfectly suitable emotionally.

So while it's perfectly clear that Draconian had a strong grip on their style and identity with this album, a couple other things are very obvious: they were a less creative My Dying Bride with all of Tristania's vocal tricks, and featuring less potency on both sides of this delivery.  I mean, I like JUST finished the Tristania catalog a couple days ago, and I love The Dreadful Hours so the comparisons are pretty easy.  So unfortunately, I'd have to say that despite the clear strengths and staying power, this is a generic debut by technicality.  Still, it fit the vibe I was looking for, gives a fan what a fan wants, is good for fans of My Dying Bride, Type O Negative and Tristania and personally really helped me with the vibe of a novel I'm working on.  So I'll recommend this easy but well-produced album if not just to check out another gothic doom act.


October 21, 2023 08:49 PM

Draconian - Arcane Rain Fell (2005)

Genres: Gothic Doom Metal

The gothic doom sound pioneered by My Dying Bride and Type O Negative would be replicated by a large portion of the gothic scene, including Draconian, who mastered the basics of the genre on the debut without much creativity attached.  Doom and gothic fans seem to love their second album, Arcane Rain Fell, so I guess this was the most exciting part of exploring their catalogue.  When I turned this on, I was hoping for a serious improvement over the original and a stone-cold classic.

It's obvious that the band is becoming more poetic with their lyricism.  There seems to be a stronger focus on the imagery of the scene they're a part of.  And thanks to a stronger idea of using faint foregrounds as atmospheric tools, such as the choral backing vocals on The Apostacy Castle, the album has a stronger effect on the listener than before.  Because of this, the emotional core of the band is a little stronger here.  The elements that made the debut album good to begin with have a stronger harmony and balance.  This also means that certain aspects are going to shine at certain times even more than they did on the last album.  It was easy for certain focal points to shine when there was less harmony, but with a stronger sense of harmony from everything and stronger skill from the band, the focal points (when given extra strength), such as the bombastic gothica of Heaven Laid in Tears or the intro's slow sludge, feel more impressive.  In other words, the band is able to recreate the last album and all of its strengths with one difference: they've become a BAND.

Having said this, there are two problems I have with this album.  First, in following completely in the vein of the last album, it also recreates the sameyness problem.  While all of the songs are enjoyable, we know what we're getting.  And the second problem is that the lady singer is severely underused.  The male is given total priority, and it's kind of a shame.  I mean, as absolutely beautiful as our ending 15-minute track is, it's same old Draconian.  So the end all be all is that this is a slight improvement over a pretty good debut, and Draconian know who they want to be which from a moral perspective is perfectly fine, but from a musician's perspective it hurts their creative prowess.


October 22, 2023 01:47 AM

I was a pretty big fan of Draconian's 2020 album, but never made the jump back to their earlier stuff. Seems like I might have to remedy that as it looks like they're incredibly consistent straight from the start. I only have a few go-to Gothic Metal bands so it'd probably be worth branching out a bit. 

October 22, 2023 02:15 AM

I was a pretty big fan of Draconian's 2020 album, but never made the jump back to their earlier stuff. Seems like I might have to remedy that as it looks like they're incredibly consistent straight from the start. I only have a few go-to Gothic Metal bands so it'd probably be worth branching out a bit. 

Quoted Xephyr

I remember a little of a buzz around that album when it came out, but I never got around to a lot of goth metal back then.

April 19, 2024 12:49 AM