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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Gothic metal debate

10,144 views IN ONE DAY?!? O.O Wow, you guys! <3

Anyhoo. Today's post comes about after a plantive plea on my personal Facebook page (we are not amused) regarding Gothic metal and why it is not accepted as 'part of the Goth genre'. Now, personally, I am in two minds over this whole debate. First and foremost, I know that there are some Goths who roll their kohl-lined eyes at those of us who enjoy music from this genre, and oh, yes, I am well aware that can be, in essence, darkly bombastic metal-tinged cheese, which is precisely why I like it, actually. But I do like it. I like it a lot. Think of me what you will.

But. Despite its obvious influences from the spooky world of Goth, its dark themes, imagery and lyrics, and the Gothy nature of a large proportion of its fans, I don't percieve Gothic metal (or symphonic, operatic, black or doom metal) as 'Goth music'.

I don't get my bloomers in a twist about this, because whilst I do listen to and enjoy a lot of Goth rock, post-punk and deathrock bands ('proper Goth', if you will) I also enjoy a lot of other genres and artists too, many of which (Emilie Autumn, The Birthday Massacre, The 69 Eyes) have people almost constantly arguing about whether or not they are Goth. My personal (with the emphasis on PERSONAL) opinion is that if it's not in some way related to actual Goth rock, its Gothiness is negligible at best, but the thing is, I also don't care much. The umbrella of 'Goth and dark culture' covers a lot of territory, and whether or not it's Goth specifically, a lot of the music we all listen to falls under the vague label of 'dark culture', including Gothic metal.

There is a lot of crossover between Goth and metal; both are 'dark' genres in general, enjoy much similar imagery in some cases, and a large proportion of both genres' fanbase is shared. Again, my personal opinion is that, despite shared influences and imagery, Goth is Goth and metal is metal, but for goodness' sake there's nothing wrong with being a fan of both! A good band is a good band, whatever label you stick on the can.

If we were to classify Gothic metal as 'Goth music' because a) you sometimes hear it at Goth clubs and events, b) it has dark influences and imagery and c) a lot of Goths like it, I would like to point out that going by such logic Evanescence, Marilyn Manson and My Chemical Romance would also become 'Goth music'.

However at the end of the day I think this is the sort of topic where everyone has their own ideas. I don't think there will ever be one single agreed-upon definition of What Goth Is (or even What Goth Isn't) because nowadays it's a fluid term that covers a variety of things in the world of music alone. So I'm going to turn this one over to you guys - I don't suppose we shall all agree on a definitive answer as to whether or not Gothic metal can be classified as a genre of Goth music, but it would certainly be intriguing to hear (or rather, read) everyone's opinions on this subject.

But first, some bullet points (yay!).

German symphonic metal band Xandria (check out their song Ravenheart and you will understand why this whole debate is still raging).
Should Gothic metal be accepted as a 'Goth genre'?

Yes:
  • Most Gothic metal bands do have a very ‘Gothic’ sound – you could easily imagine them as the soundtrack to an Anne Rice novel.
  • The lyrics tend to be about the usual Gothic themes – love, death, revenge, redemption… you know.
  • Lots of Goths do enjoy music from the genre, and many Gothic metal bands have played at the Wave Gotik Treffen.
  • If bands with such a diverse and wide-ranging spectrum of sound as VNV Nation, Emilie Autumn, KMFDM, and The Birthday Massacre can be considered Goth (by some), why not Epica, Xandria, Tristania, Nightwish, After Forever, Theatre of Tragedy and Leaves' Eyes, who, it could be argued, have a sound closer to what we traditionally think of as 'Goth'.
No:
  • Most artists touch on supposedly 'dark' themes like loss and betrayal at some point or another. By such reasoning, Britney Spears is Goth. :-/
  • They sound nothing like any of the bands that are inarguably Goth – The Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus et al. Not implying that all Goth music should sound the same, but Goth developed from punk so surely its true descendants should have some discernable punk or Goth rock influence?
  • Metal bands and mainstream(ish) bands also play at the Treffen and other Goth events. Diversity is key. It's not unusual nowadays to hear Evanescence or MCR at a Goth club. It's a nod to the tastes of the patrons, not a symbol of that band's Gothiness.
  • There is no rule that says ‘if you are Goth, you can only listen to Goth music’. Therefore, if a Goth listens to a certain type of music, that doesn’t make it Goth by default.
Over to you guys.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Andrew Eldritch, himself, has always maintained the Sisters of Mercy are NOT Goth, but in fact, Metal...

Under_The_Stairs said...

Yeah,I dont feel a though gothic metal should be part of "goth music".
Not bad,just not goth.

LadyFlaneur said...

To me, the term Goth ranges in every spectrum of style / music the world has to offer the vanilla side of life. There really isn't a limit one should place upon themselves. We like what we like, doesn't grant us any less Goth points at the end of the day.

Chloris said...

Amy, your posts are always so timely!

I am totally bewildered by the unspoken rules that dictate what goth music is. I absolutely don't get them. I was just thinking about this today - about how much I don't get it. I know everyone will say it's because I'm a newbie so there's a lot of things I "just don't get". Maybe there is a magical moment after spending years in the subculture when one can instinctively say "this is goth" to one thing and "this is not goth" to a nearly identical other-thing...

Who knew listening to music could get this complicated!

ZombieDoll said...

Actually I have no problem with metal but I don´t like the term "gothic metal". BUT to me the oldschool is "true goth" even though I adore EBM and psychobilly (and so on) as much as deathrock. Goth is more melancholic punkrock at its roots than metal - and do you consider punk as metal?! Not me. Howgh.

Btw, Amy, I finally wrote you comment!,
freak from last.fm (morticie)

Nightwind said...

Here we go again. This is one of my favorite topics.

The Miriam Webster Online Dictionary defines gothic this way:

"of or relating to a style of fiction characterized by the use of desolate or remote settings and macabre, mysterious, or violent incidents."

While the above definition relates more to literature, I would think it safe to assume that it could just as well apply to music as well; and lots of metal, particularly the Gothic and Doom subgenres, fit the bill.

The way I see it, this discussion concerns word symantics as opposed to the music itself. Sure, metal was not a part of the original Goth scene;I think we can agree on that point. On the other hand, I would argue that a lot of metal sounds much more Gothic than many of the bands described as Goth. Go to YouTube and search for Amederia, a Russian Gothic/Doom band, and listen to the song entitled, "And So I." Now that's Gothic if anything is!

I think we're confusing the words "Goth" and "Gothic." If the argument is about metal not being a part of the original Goth culture I can agree; it's not Goth per se. However, as a Goth (as opposed to metalhead) who listens to metal more than anything else I would say that the much of the music is extremely "Gothic;" some of it much more so than bands like Nightwish, which I categorize as "symphonic" rather than Gothic.

TheHalloweenLadybug said...

10,144?! Haha, I'm happy if I get more than 10 XD
Anyway, I agree that metal shouldn't be counted as Goth (even though I don't really know how to tell the difference between what is and what isn't Goth when the two things in question are both so similar) The point is, it may have similarities to Goth, but so does a lot of things so it doesn't mean it should be counted as Goth. Even a subculture as diverse as Goth must have some limits. I think that makes sense o.O

Kali Darklore said...

I don't really see the problem here. Just because you're a goth doesn't mean you SHOULD NEVER listen/like other music (although of course most goths predominantly listen to goth rock, death rock and post-punk) But Goths are free to like whatever music they like. I don't think that metal/gothic metal should be classed as goth. But there shouldn't be anything wrong with goths liking the music. It's good music. But I don't think that you should label music something it's not.

BellaDonna said...

Meh, whatever. Personally, I don't care. If music makes me FEEL goth when I listen to it, then as far as I'm concerned it IS goth.

BabybatDanielle said...

Funny thing is I had a bit of a rant about this a while ago. I don't really mind whether people class metal as goth or not, but I still like it.
I have had a lot of people assuming that ALL goth music is metal, however, which is quite annoying.
Just like what you like I guess!

Danielle xo :-)

Glitterish Allsorts said...

I feel like this debate rears its head every few months and I've always been unsure of my feelings on the matter. I think I'm still sitting on the fence *swings legs idly*

Anonymous said...

I agree with BellaDonna 1,000%!


Besides, we've allowed things like "cybergoth" and "lolita", amongst others to be included in the subculture, why not some metal? I mean, if neon, faux-fur boot covers & frilly pink dresses can cross over, why not certain metal bands that fall into metal subgenres?


Some metal subgenres are closer to goth than cybergoth, industrial, etc...


As I said ealier, Andrew Eldritch considers his band "Metal", and how many "Goths" adore them?

gothified said...

The problem (despite Gothic Metal strictly speaking not being goth in the sense of musicology) is that many bands are labeled as "Gothic Metal" that are actually not playing Gothic Metal (most prominent example being Nightwish, who play a mix of symphonic and power metal). Most of these bands (especially of the metal-with-female-vocalists variety) are just sold as Gothic Metal by their labels / distributors because in the last years the genre was kinda "hip" and there was more money to make that way.
Furthermore "Gothic Metal" actually never was part of the musical Gothic / Goth genre, it's simply a misnomer that appeared when Paradise Lost named their second album "Gothic" which nowadays is considered to be one of the definining milestones of the genre (I suggest you read the excellent wikipedia articles on gothic, gothic metal etc.)
I've enjoyed the original Gothic Metal bands like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Tiamat, Type O Negative, younamethem, basically since their beginnings 20 years back but I still wouldn't call them "goth".
Strictly from a music-centric view Gothic Metal is NOT part of the Goth _genre_, but it is considered to be a part of what is called the dark culture which also includes goth, neofolk, ebm, industrial etc etc.
But in the end it all doesn't matter as long as you enjoy the music. Just don't make it a criterion for determining if someone is "goth" or not....

Daniel_8964 said...

I do like Gothic Metal a bit, but I prefer Goth rock, Punk rock, post-punk and Deathrock more. Metal isn't bad and is still enjoyable, but it isn't really 'goth' in proper sense and it just shares its dark imagery with the culture. It is also dark music in its own right but takes some gothic influences in and it is not musically gothic sounding like Bauhaus (as in rock or punk influenced, it takes the metal path) Most of all I don't limit myself to one genre. I even like soundtracks than listen to everything that's Gothic Rock or Deathrock only.

Traicetrak said...

A hotbed topic, indeed! I've been meaning to jump into the fray on my own blog, but I'll put my 2 cents in here since you asked so nicely. =)

To me the whole goth music debate is territorial. Those who identify as Goth want their most beloved bands to be identified as such. Likewise, we often would rather the music we disdain to be "ousted" as goth proper. In other words, we're all fickle. Then you have nearly all (if not all) of the original Goth bands denying they're goth at one point or other b/c, at best, they feel hemmed in by the label (Cure) or, at worst, seem to have actual animosity towards goth culture (SoM).

All this leads me to say there's no such thing as a "Gothic" genre of music at all. Just as with our fashion, it's an aesthetic that encompasses many genres. To me, any band that consistently calls forth gothic imagery in both music and lyrics is a "goth band," regardless of their official genre. Ant that's all I have to say about that. ;^D

Cliff said...

Goth or not, if it sounds good I'll listen to it. Gothic metal is one of my favorite subgenres of metal.

Anonymous said...

It also seems that with each new "generation" of babybats, there comes a new subgenre, with each group wanting to put there own stamp on what Goth is. This is why we are having this sort of discussion now.



I've been around since the late '80's, and back then it was "Goth" or not; even Industrial was it's own entity. We didn't break down Goth into Ether-, Cemetery-, Romantic-, Victorian-, or whatever. It was Goth or it wasn't.


The Goth culture has just been muddied up over the years to the point I don't know where the boundaries are anymore. Personally, I don't consider most of the current bands "Goth", compared to what I grew up on, but apparently they are.

Nightwind said...

I'd like to double dip in the comments column on this topic. I hope you all don't mind.

First of all, I pretty much agree with BellaDonna and Traicetrak on this topic. If it enhances our dark moods or invokes it within us, how can it not be considered Gothic? Isn't that what Gothic music is supposed to do.

I'd like to address a couple of points made by gothified:

You said, "Most of these bands (especially of the metal-with-female-vocalists variety) are just sold as Gothic Metal by their labels / distributors because in the last years the genre was kinda "hip" and there was more money to make that way."

I agree that a lot of bands of the female vocalist variety are classified as Gothic Metal and probably shouldn't be. That's the problem with trying to label things precisely; it usually doesn't work. Still, there are some so-called "Gothic Metal" bands out there with female vocalists, which in my opinion, are totally Gothic. Even the symphonic bands sometimes invoke Gothic influences. Nightwish's "Nemo" comes to mind.

The second point I'd like to address is this one:

"Furthermore "Gothic Metal" actually never was part of the musical Gothic / Goth genre..."

I disagree a bit more on this point. I offer Exhibit A as evidence:

Amederia, the band I cited in my first post on this subject, formed with the intention of using its music to start a Goth scene in the local community. So, here's a group of metal musicians who obviously identify as Goth! If anything then, I can only hope that musicians such as these will not be denied any of their Goth points because they play metal instead of Death Rock.

It's kind of funny though, the Sisters of Mercy have pretty much disavowed any relationship between their music and Goth culture; yet, I always considered them to be more Goth sounding than some of the early Goth bands.

Anonymous said...

Hello amy loved this post and the one about "the downsides of goth" I would love to see more of these type posts.

also I have some questions what would you say is your favorite metal music also will their be more goth fashion posts??

Arcaline said...

All these comments have very good points, so I guess i'll put my two cents in.

'Gothic Metal', to me, is what goth would stereo typically sound like to a non goth?
Just putting it out there, doesn't mean its correct in all situations.

That's not just me either, having some of my non-goth friends who enjoy Gothic metal say it themselves.

That being said, some metal does seem to be more 'Goth' than others, while some seem more 'Gothic'. (Goth being more closer to its roots)

Although, I do believe label marketing is most at fault for the confusion.
For example, my first band that got me interested in the musical world of Goth, was Dommin, labeled as Gothic Rock.
When I listened to other Gothic Rock bands I feel they sound nothing alike.
Dommin is more mainstream Rock with dark influence.
Thus I think the genre tag is more saying "Gothic"(Dark sounds) "rock"(Normal Rock) As opposed to "Gothic Rock"

And another example: http://www.last.fm/music/Various+Artists/The+Best+of+Gothic+Rock+2
This album has mostly what id call Gothic Metal or Symphonic, not Goth Rock at all?

On another note, Goth has so many sub genres to it and is so diverse, why not a metal side to it?

In the end, we all like music, whatever its styles, so it doesn't matter as long as you enjoy it and are not only listening to it, because its 'Goth' to enhance or validate your position.
It's a bit like fashion, as I like to say "Where what makes you Happy"

Anyways that's just my opinion, you're welcome to yours. To each there own :)

Battleskull said...

@Nightwind, I think that with those two sentences:
"If it enhances our dark moods or invokes it within us, how can it not be considered Gothic? Isn't that what Gothic music is supposed to do."
you summed the crux of the debate of "what music is goth and what isn't?" and how two schools of thought oppose themselves, not about the music but on how classifications are created and what is their purpose. One side's reasoning goes a little like "I'm a Goth and so the music that I enjoy listening to is goth because I listen to it" and the other side take themselves out of the equation entirely and only consider the instrumentation as well as the musical influences that shaped the sound of a band.
Now, I don't think any kind of classification can be based on someone's deep feelings, not because I deny anyone a right to his/her own opinions, but because for a classification to have any kind of use as a way to communicate meaningful information amongst people, it must be based on some objective facts observable by anyone; hence the accent placed on how the music actually sound and not how the music makes us feel because of the inevitable variations between listeners's opinions on that point. I think that we'll agree that musical labels should be based on a distinctive sound and not the imagery or the band's stage clothing?
I don't mean either that any band should have an audible heritage from punk in its sound but that the band's main influences should lie in the rock scene and not in the metal scene. To put that into a more readily audible form, I urge anyone interested to listen to Love Like Blood's "Chronology of a love affair" (not because it's particularly good but because it's a compilation of covers by LLB of some of the gothic rock's standards) and then to listen to the original songs, and then the difference between a goth band and a goth metal band should become very clear to your ears; there's a world of difference in the way arrangements are done and what is emphasized in the mix as well in the guitar sound (more saturation, for starters) and the bass (which is a very minor instrument in metal but a gothic rock staple).

Battleskull said...

cont'd


In the same way, gothified, with who I agree wholeheartedly btw, wasn't stating a personal opinion (no matter what his snarky tone might have lead you to believe ;) but a fact; I still remember a time when Nightwish and others were "symphonic metal" or simply "dark metal" and gothic metal was basically only used for Type O Negative's first albums. At a time, it was also a very handy label that was often used to name a offshoot of doom metal with faster rhythms, a more experimental sound and sometimes, female vocals, like the couple of first albums from The Gathering, Anathema, Paradise Lost, Tiamat that really broke the mold of the doom metal scene and yet didn't create a scene of their own. After a time, all those bands moved in different directions to more atmospheric or more symphonic sounds and suddenly came the explosion in popularity of opera-style female vocals in metal (circa 2000?) and suddenly, everybody and their bandmates were doing "gothic metal", irregardless if their roots was in black metal, power metal or in those few "gothic" doom metal bands. So a rather distinctive sound became conflated under that new "gothic metal" label with bands that had very different musical backgrounds, and for the bulk of them except some old-timers, that classification was only window-dressing done by their label to keep up with market trends and "gothic" was then used as a synonym for "symphonic with female vocals". It's not a bad thing, per se, but it's a very annoying one because as many other people, I like my labels to describe how the music will sound and not what kind of clothes people who buy this music wear; for the majority of bands in the market, the "gothic metal" moniker could be replaced by another existing label that is really descriptive of their sound.

sgath92 said...

This debate is really an American & British phenomenon because people here tend to form subcultures around the ways genres have evolved [and therefore make distinctions on what is "Goth" based on the musical heritage of what a band is playing] which is totally unlike the "Schwarze Szene" of central Europe which does not care what a band's musical pedigree is.

In places like Germany it would not be out of the question to see a "Gothic Metal" band like early Theatre of Tragedy [when Liv was still in the band], along side a darkwave band like Kirlian Camera, along side a more industrial-ish band like Blutengel all at the same festival taking turns on the same stage. That's why you find so many cross over bands blurring the lines in central Europe like Asrai, or even Lacrimosa [compare their first and latest releases if you can].

Such genre-mixing is relatively rare when a subculture is formed around a genre like Goth is. That's why only bands with members who have been around for so long can get away with becoming so much louder & harsher with time [i.e. today's NFD versus the Fields of the Nephilim].

sgath92 said...

Also, I forgot to add: the Schwarze Szene is probably part of why when people think of "Gothic Metal" they think of symphonic metal bands or progressive metal bands and not something closure to Peter Steele of Type O Negative.

InfiltratorN7 said...

At least gothic metal is now recognised as a genre and being discussed and freely debated. I remember several years ago when some members on goth.net flat out denied it's existence and would lock any thread discussing the genre.

BabybatDanielle, I've come across the same problem as well. Non-goths assuming goth is all metal, in particular that it's all like Cradle of Filth (who incidentally I like but they're not goth!). It's frustrating as this comes up so often.

Sisters of Mercy metal? Don't sound very metal to me. :-/

Metal makes me feel different to goth music, it puts me in a different place, a different frame of mind and emotional state.

I do find the cases made by some people here about goth being so diverse to cover darkwave, industrial and EBM so why not metal to be quite interesting. I also liked Battleskull's points about the importance of classifying music objectively and not based on personal opinion or feelings.

Cassandra said...

This sounds very similar to the debates people get into in biology. Is a platypus really a mammal? It has fur and feeds milk to its young; but the milk doesn't come from teats, and it lays eggs.

I even think the difficulty comes from a similar source: attempting to classify something that emerges and evolves very organically and often in complete defiance of our attempts to classify them.

Cassandra said...

After much soul-searching, it is debates like this that have made me decide not to self-identify as goth. That actually won't change much of anything for me. I'll continue wearing my black-lace-coated outfits, wearing theatrical makeup any hour of the day I please, listening to whatever music I please, reading delightful goth blogs like this one, signing my e-mails "sanguis fluit," and generally indulging my penchant for "The Dark Side."

I just feel like if I start calling myself goth, I'm going to get into a senseless argument with someone (probably multiple people) eventually, and it's just not worth it to me. If someone else identifies me as goth, I probably won't argue with them. If someone else tries to tell me I'm not goth, I don't feel the need to defend anything I'm doing aesthetically to anyone. Now that I think about it, this is kind of a liberating decision. I was kind of sad about it up until now.

ultimategothguide said...

Cassandra - I have been thinking very much along the same lines lately, so I entirely understand your decision. :-)

Darling Violetta said...

I agree with Traicetrak on this. The funny thing is, this debate is going on particularly because the old school set wants to keep goth as they remember it. No different than hip hop kids from the original scene wanting everything in their scene to keep sounding like Afrika Bambaataa. Or old school punks wanting to keep the dreaded metal influence out of punk and keep everything sounding like the Sex Pistols (which is funny considering Crust Punk, Grindcore, and Crossover are the result of metal influence). With a lot of scenes there will be changes as time goes on. Then a rift forms between members of the original scene and the newer set of members and creates such a debate you see here. ;)

Where the argument against gothic metal not "sounding" goth falls short is that the original Goth bands weren't grouped together by sound. They were labeled Goth by the media in an effort to give a name to the movement that was rising to popularity (David Bowie, Siouxsie, and the rest were using the term "gothic" to describe the overall aesthetic in their music and NOT to ascribe themselves to a certain scene or subculture). The term goth was used to group these bands together by scene/audience association. Which is why you have bands such as Bauhaus and Dead Can Dance that many DO accept as goth bands. Yet don't sound alike at all. Furthermore, bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, Klaus Nomi, the Smiths, Depeche Mode, Concrete Blonde, and Strawberry Switchblade were amongst the playlist of favorites goths listened to back in those days, that also got many people into what we now consider the early goth scene, and were played commonly in goth clubs. And, when many talk of the early scene those bands are often named amongst other bands such as The Cure and the like. Yet, arguably don't sound like Bauhaus at all.

I also disagree at the notion of goth having punk roots. When most of the earlier bands were influenced primarily by bands such as The Velvet Underground, T Rex, and David Bowie (Leonard Cohen in the case of the Sisters of Mercy). Even Joy Division admitted to only being inspired by punk as a movement and not punk bands themselves. Then take a look at bands like 45 Grave and Super Heroines that weren't influenced by the goth movement at all (as goth was a word post-humously used to describe the UK movement). They're spooky punk bands that sound nothing like Bauhaus in my opinion. Yet, they're only considered goth bands because they were later on adopted by those in the goth subculture.

Which is why I don't believe you can legitimately call goth rock a genre. However, I do believe you can call the goth subculture a music based scene. Except that the music is not defined by a certain sound but the people who listen to it and the aesthetic it consistently envokes. So, in my mind, not all metal is goth. However, there are some bands that could be traditionally classified as metal that are beloved and important to many in the goth scene. So to call, say, Lacrimosa or Type O Negative goth bands wouldn't be too far fetched.

I personally don't mind people calling Gothic Metal goth music. To me, the goth subculture is unique from other music scenes in that it is an umbrella term to describe music that falls within a certain aesthetic. Which is why there are so many bands under the term Goth that really don't sound alike except for the imagery and the overall aesthetic.

Darling Violetta said...

"I even think the difficulty comes from a similar source: attempting to classify something that emerges and evolves very organically and often in complete defiance of our attempts to classify them."- Cassandra

I agree with this 100%! People want to classify something that, as far as I can tell, was very much an organic thing. From what I can tell there weren't any rules on what is and isn't goth back then. Actually (from what I read and have heard from people who where there) people back then didn't call themselves goth. Someone else (i.e. the media) did and many back then rejected the term because it was the media's attempt at confining a very much amorphic movement.

Where I live people aren't concerned about what is or isn't goth. You do what you like and happen to find others who share your interests. It just happens that what we all have in common is a common draw to a particular aesthetic that shows up in many of our interests (i.e. fashion, literature, music, movies). Sure, we may like similar bands. But, the only thing connecting these bands would be the aesthetic not the genre classification. Honestly, as much as we argue online about what is or isn't goth it doesn't change anything in real life. People will still dress in their black clad finery, listen to bands like Mandragora Scream, Blutengel, and Deathstars regardless if someone thinks they're goth or not, and hang out with others who do the same. To all of you out there who don't fit the traditional more narrow defintion of Goth there's a whole group of wonderfully dark and whimsical people who couldn't care less. Where do you think the Schwarze Szene came from? ;)

Cassandra, you're not alone in your decision. Really, most people I know don't consider themselves Goths. Yet, are the delightful ookie spooky people I know them to be. I feel that's the point of it all, really. Defining Goth isn't as important as it is to define yourself. :)

ultimategothguide said...

Darling Violetta - this is quite simply the best comment I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Thank you. :-)))

Anonymous said...

why is this label anyway? if it's a good music, it's a good music and we listen to it. period.

wings unharnessed said...

Darling Violetta said it better than I was going to. :)

jakeov said...

Now, I have a whole new debate, what is gothic metal, and what isn't?

I think a lot of this argument comes from the fact that a lot of the bands labelled gothic metal are not gothic metal. Any symphonic or female fronted band has come to be labelled as "gothic metal", when in fact many of them are far closer to power metal, a prime example being Nightwish.

A lot of gothic metal contains symphonic elements, but this doesn't mean that every symphonic metal band is gothic metal.

I think true gothic metal bands must be influenced directly by goth rock itself. This direct influence can be heard in bands such as Theatre of Tragedy, Tristania, Theatres des Vampires and Tiamat. Funnily enough they all begin with T too, and none of them started as gothic metal either.

If other genres weren't labelled as gothic metal incorrectly, then I think it would be accepted as goth music far more easily. Embracing Lorelei by Theatre of Tragedy is something entirely different to accepting Bring me to Life by Evanescence or Amaranth by Nightwish.

Minnie Pax said...

This is definitely an interesting post. As someone who came up in the trad prog and prog / power metal community who loves Gothic fashion and other elements of the dark culture, I would have to say that this debate comes up in my scene as well.

Metalheads accept everyone but Evanescence or new Nightwish is viewed as hard rock and less accepted. One band similar to Nightwish that definitely gets respect is Kamelot, for whom Epica is their "little sister band".

In extreme metal, some "gothy" bands include Alcest, Agalloch, and Emperor. The first two cross over with neofolk. In power/traditional metal, I would say that pre-1989 Fates Warning, and Iced Earth, are two accepted "darker" bands. A lot of the more bombastic power metal bands, like Malice Mizer, come from the Japanese scene.

There is definitely something like the 'schwarze szene' in the US too. I notice that many younger metalheads have more of a crossover with goth or gothic lolita, like I would be able to talk about fashion with another metal girl 10 years younger than me than with someone my age who prefers jeans and T-shirts.

Please excuse my ignorance about the proper goth scene, and my reduction of it to fashion, as I know little about it experientially.

Thanks for posting this. I think a huge part of this goth vs goth metal debate comes from the metal vs punk debate in the Anglosphere; as the terms schwarze szene and gothic lolita indicate, the line is more blurry in other cultures. Whereas goth rock and industrial derive from punk, goth metal derives from metal and it seems strange to blend the two.

Anonymous said...

To be honest with everyone here, I'm getting tired of this debate. Why don't we reclassify the bands that use the "beauty and the beast" or "symphonic female" vocals as Symphonic Metal and put an end to this argument and people can get back to they're lives.

I am the 14 Winged Holy Devil (the Embodiment of Sin [Chimera of the Gods])
"I sympathies with enemies until the time is right, for with God and Satan at my side, from darkness will come light." - Ozzy Osbourne

Anonymous said...

Amy I love your profile . Specially the part about why your not an evil genius.

I am the 14 Winged Holy Devil (the Embodiment of Sin [Chimera of the Gods])

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