Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Goth music for dummies

The basic definition of Gothic music is this: "Gothic rock (also referred to as Goth rock, or simply Goth) is a musical subgenre of alternative rock and post-punk that developed during the late 1970s." (Thank you, Google.) It combines dark music with introspective and usually sad lyrics. Often it features deep, droning vocals, e.g. Joy Division, The Sisters of Mercy.

Gothic music does not include ANY of the following bands:
Marilyn Manson
In Flames

Adora BatBrat
Avenged Sevenfold
Linkin Park
Papa Roach
System of a Down
My Chemical Romance
Green Day
The Rasmus
Iron Maiden
Snow Patrol
Alice Cooper
Stone Sour
etc., etc., etc. That doesn't mean that there is anything 'wrong' with liking any or all of the above bands - heaven knows I'm into most of them myself. But they are a far cry from what is considered Goth music, which is something you should really be aware of if you are interested in being a part of the subculture. Many of the bands on the above list are mistakenly labelled Goth by the media or general public based on their appearance, or because they have a 'heavy' or dark sound.

A note: because many metal and rock bands are also popular amongst Goths, it is not uncommon for them to be played at Goth clubs, be featured in Goth magazines or perform at Goth festivals. Many if not all Goths enjoy different types of music from lots of dark (and a few not-so-dark) genres. But true Goth music is the common thread of the subculture and the most popular genre within it.

As well as rock and metal, there are other, lesser-known subgenres that enjoy popularity with Goth music fans. Goth's closest musical relations are punk, Industrial (many events aimed at Goth club-goers feature a mix of Goth, Industrial and metal music), New Romantic, dark cabaret, neo-classical, dark ambient and steampunk. Other popular but less closely-related genres include J-rock (commonly associated with Visual Kei and Lolita fashion - more on this later), classical and ambient music, and Gothic, symphonic and operatic metal.

Also, as I mentioned before, Goth is an umbrella term for many sub-subgenres of music, including but certainly not limited to the following: post-punk, batcave, deathrock, darkwave, new wave, coldwave, dark or Gothic electro, and synthpop. It gets confusing, but with all these different types of music to choose from, the budding Goth is practically spoilt for choice.

To start checking out some Goth music, pop on over to (don't worry, it's free).

Listening to: Meds - Placebo


Mark said...

Hi there Ultimate Goth Guide. I also have a problem with Nightwish. I just can't get into their music. I know of a much better band called Nightsky Bequest. This band are a little bit better than Nightwish. I also dislike HIM. But I do love many proper Gothic bands. I was listening to The Beauty Of Gemina last night. I think they should be bigger.

LisbethSalander said...

I was soooo obssesed with Nightwish when i was younger.I used to listen only to their music.I still respectand love Tarja Turunen ( Specially after i met her,she is really a lovely person) cause i like to sing to and i learned a lot from her way of singing.Ofc,i know that Nightwish is not goth.Even their frontman Tuomas Holopainen laughed when he heard stories about his band being a goth band.Even Tarja doesn't look gothic.She is more into a dark elegance,but certainly not goth looking at all.I don't have problem with music in this way.I just listen what i found beautiful,a music that i can feel the best.I like bands with unique sound.Like Lycia for example.Or Closterkeller(and their music is mix of lot of thinngs).I am also a big fan of Fields of the Nephilim,XIII Stoleti and some really underrated gothrock bands.

Anonymous said...

Onr question is Angelspit considered goth? I really don't know their genre

Anonymous said...

Onr question is Angelspit considered goth? I really don't know their genre

Dark Mistress said...

When Nightwish - Sleeping Sun was just released, I had it on repeat for days literally, love this band.
And thank you very much for such a full review of everything that is not gothic. Sometimes when I say that I listen to gothiс music, people ask me if it's 30 seconds to mars or anything like that since it's not pop. SO glad you've posted this list here.

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