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).|
- 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'.
- 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.