Gothic metal

Gothic metal (or goth metal) is a fusion genre combining the heaviness of heavy metal with the dark atmospheres of gothic rock.[1][2] The music of gothic metal is diverse with bands known to adopt the gothic approach to different styles of heavy metal music. The genre originated during the early 1990s in the United Kingdom originally as an outgrowth of death-doom, a fusion of death metal and doom metal. Lyrics are generally dark and introspective with inspiration from gothic fiction as well as personal experiences.

Pioneers of gothic metal include Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema, all from the north of England. Other pioneers from the first half of the 1990s include Type O Negative from the United States, Tiamat from Sweden, and The Gathering from the Netherlands. Norwegian band Theatre of Tragedy developed the "beauty and the beast" aesthetic of combining aggressive male vocals with clean female vocals, a contrast that had been adopted by groups before them, but not as a regular trademark; several bands have employed the technique since. During the mid-1990s, Moonspell, Theatres des Vampires, Rotting Christ and Cradle of Filth brought the gothic approach to black metal. By the end of the decade, a symphonic metal variant of gothic metal had been developed by Tristania and Within Temptation. Nightwish also integrated elements of gothic metal into their well-known mix of symphonic metal and power metal.

In the 21st century, gothic metal has moved towards the mainstream in Europe, particularly in Finland where groups such as Entwine, HIM, Lullacry and Poisonblack have released hit singles or chart-topping albums. In the US, however, only a few bands such as Type O Negative, HIM, Lacuna Coil, Evanescence and Cradle of Filth have found some degree of commercial success.


The term gothic entered heavy metal music with the release of Paradise Lost's Gothic album in 1991. Since then, fans have often been at odds with one another as to "which bands are, or most definitely are not, authentically Goth".[3] Some musicians have disputed the gothic label associated with their bands, including Rozz Williams of Christian Death and Andrew Eldritch of The Sisters of Mercy.[4] In the gothic metal subgenre, members from such groups as After Forever,[5] HIM[6] and Nightwish[7] have similarly downplayed or dismissed the gothic label from their music.

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