Gothic metal is a genre of heavy metal music that combines the dark atmosphere of gothic rock with the aggression of heavy metal. It originated in the early 1990s in Europe as an outgrowth of death/doom, a fusion of death metal, doom metal, and gothic rock. The music of gothic metal is diverse, with bands adopting different styles and influences. However, some common elements are the use of keyboards, female vocals, symphonic elements, and lyrical themes of romance, horror, and melancholy.
In this article, we will explore the 10 best gothic metal bands of all time. This will be based on their popularity, influence, and musical quality. We will also highlight some of their best songs and albums that you should check out if you are a fan of gothic metal or want to discover more about this genre.
10. The 69 Eyes
The 69 Eyes are a Finnish band that started as a glam rock and hard rock group in the late 1980s, but gradually evolved into a gothic metal band in the 1990s. They are known for their catchy hooks, dark lyrics, and vampire image.
Moreover, bands like The Sisters of Mercy, The Cult, and Type O Negative influence their sound. Some of their most popular songs are Gothic Girl, Brandon Lee, Lost Boys, and The Chair. Also, their best albums are Blessed Be and Paris Kills.
9. Lacuna Coil
Lacuna Coil are an Italian band that formed in 1994. They are one of the most successful and well-known gothic metal bands in the world, with over two million records sold.
They are famous for their dual vocals, featuring the soprano voice of Cristina Scabbia and the growls of Andrea Ferro. Their music is influenced by alternative metal, nu metal, and symphonic metal. Some of their most popular songs are Heaven’s a Lie, Our Truth, Swamped, and Spellbound. Also, their best albums are Comalies and Karmacode.
Tiamat are a Swedish band that formed in 1987. They started as a death metal and black metal band, but later changed their style to gothic metal and gothic rock. They consider themselves one of the pioneers and innovators of the genre, blending elements of folk, psychedelic, and ambient music into their sound.
Furthermore, some of their most popular songs are Gaia, The Sleeping Beauty, Cold Seed, and Cain. Their best album is Wildhoney, which is also regarded as a masterpiece of gothic metal and one of the best metal albums of all time.
7. Theatre of Tragedy
Theatre of Tragedy are a Norwegian band that formed in 1993. They credit themselves with creating the “beauty and the beast” vocal style, which features the contrast between female soprano vocals and male death growls. Their music is influenced by doom metal, classical music, and electronic music.
They also gain recognition for writing poetic and archaic lyrics in Early Modern English or Shakespearean English. Some of their most popular songs are A Hamlet for a Slothful Vassal, Der Tanz der Schatten, Cassandra, and Machine. Also, their best albums are Aegis and Velvet Darkness They Fear.
Draconian are a Swedish band that formed in 1994. They are one of the most respected and acclaimed gothic metal bands in the scene, especially among fans of doom metal and death metal. Slow, heavy, and melancholic riffs, atmospheric keyboards, and emotional vocals characterize their music.
Their lyrics deal with themes of sorrow, pain, love, and death. Some of their most popular songs are The Cry of Silence, The Last Hour of Ancient Sunlight, Stellar Tombs, and Pale Tortured Blue. Also, their best albums are Arcane Rain Fell and Sovran.
5. Type O Negative
Type O Negative are an American band that formed in 1989. They are one of the most influential and successful gothic metal bands of all time, selling over four million records in the US alone.
They are famous for their dark humor, sarcastic lyrics, and long songs that often exceed 10 minutes. Their sound is influenced by bands like Black Sabbath, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd. Some of their most popular songs are Black No. 1, Christian Woman, Love You to Death, and Everything Dies. Their best album is Bloody Kisses, which is also the first album by a gothic metal band to achieve platinum status in the US.
4. Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost are a British band that formed in 1988. They are considered one of the founders of gothic metal, along with Anathema and My Dying Bride. They are also one of the most influential and diverse bands in the genre, experimenting with different styles and sounds over the years, such as death metal, doom metal, synth-pop, and electronic rock.
Moreover, some of their most popular songs are Gothic, As I Die, Say Just Words, and Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us. Also, their best albums are Draconian Times and Icon.
Nightwish are a Finnish band that formed in 1996. They are the most successful and popular gothic metal band in the world, with over nine million records sold worldwide. Known for incorporating symphonic and power metal elements, they feature the use of orchestral instruments, choirs, and operatic vocals.
Their music is influenced by classical music, folk music, and film music. Some of their most popular songs are Nemo, Wish I Had an Angel, Amaranth, and Ghost Love Score. Also, their best albums are Once and Dark Passion Play.
2. Within Temptation
Within Temptation are a Dutch band that formed in 1996. They are one of the most successful and acclaimed gothic metal bands in the world, with over three million records sold worldwide.
Moreover, their symphonic and melodic metal elements are well-known, characterized by the use of orchestral instruments, choirs, and the angelic voice of Sharon den Adel. Their music is influenced by bands like Iron Maiden, Queen, and Enya. Some of their most popular songs are Ice Queen, Mother Earth, Stand My Ground, and What Have You Done. Also, their best albums are Mother Earth and The Silent Force.
1. Cradle of Filth
Cradle of Filth are a British band that formed in 1991. They are one of the most controversial and notorious gothic metal bands of all time. This is due to their extreme and provocative image, lyrics, and music. They are also one of the most innovative and diverse bands in the genre, incorporating elements of black metal, symphonic metal, thrash metal, and industrial metal into their sound.
Horror literature, mythology, history, and culture influence their music. They have produced some of their most popular songs, including The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, Her Ghost in the Fog, Nymphetamine, and The Death of Love. Their best album is Midian, which is also considered a classic of gothic metal and one of the best metal albums of all time.
The Bottom Line
Gothic metal is a genre that has a lot to offer to fans of heavy metal and gothic rock. It is also a genre that combines the darkness, the beauty, and the power of music in a unique and captivating way.
The bands that we have listed in this article are some of the best examples of gothic metal. But there are many more that deserve your attention and appreciation. To explore more of this genre, you can also check out some of the suggested bands and artists listed below.
Related Bands and Artists
- My Dying Bride
- The Gathering