Jump to content

Classic Gothic Metal Albums


Requiem
 Share

Recommended Posts

I wanted to start a thread where people could post about a specific gothic metal album that they really love. It would be really good to hear from people about albums that mean a lot to them, and act as a bit of a recommendations thread as well. Basically it's an opportunity to talk about great albums in the genre. Posts wouldn't have to be long (like mine below...) but just a couple of lines to kickstart (my heart) a conversation. 

 

One of my favourite gothic metal albums is Tristania - Widow's Weeds

Tristania is one of the most important gothic metal bands in the world, and 'Widow's Weed' is a brilliant example of the genre. It was their first album, released in 1998, and even though there were plenty of great examples of this style of music already out there (Theatre of Tragedy), Tristania really seemed to push the envelope.

The choirs all over the album blew me away when I first heard it. Just like My Dying Bride's use of the violin was cool and original, Tristania's use of choirs on 'Widow's Weeds' really impressed me. Basically the more bombastic the better for me back then, and this album nailed it. From the iconic cover of a bleak stone manor house, these are Poe-esque tracks of love and loss without the later need for experimentation or innovation. Tracks like 'Evenfall', 'Angellore' and 'Midwintertears' are phenomenal. 

I'd be really interested to hear from anyone who followed Tristania closely after Morten Veland left the band, because for me, once he left after their next album 'Beyond the Veil' I really thought the band lost a really important part of their essence. Here he is a god, writing the lyrics, singing and writing a lot of the music. He went on to do Sirenia who are cool, but I don't think either Morten nor the rest of the band ever reached the heights of 'Widow's Weeds' and 'Beyond the Veil'. 

Anyway, I really hope others post something about albums they really like - even if it's just a couple of lines to get a discussion started. 

Pour yourself a glass of absinthe and kick back to a track from 'Widow's Weeds':

 

Quote

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don´t know if this officially counts as a gothic metal album, but to me it is. Still in my books the best album they ever made, Elegy as a close second. I used to listen to this album again and again, still after all these years i do it every now and then. To me this album has unbeaten atmosphere, it´s something truely special to me.
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't call "Tales" Gothic - I suppose I consider it melodic death metal, by virtue of the vocals and the production, although most of the early Finnish DM sound had already been dropped in favor of the rock influences that would take over their music. I suppose the commonality with goth rock is in the 60s and 70s rock roots that they share. Somehow that album managed to avoid the "death n' roll" trend that took over so many of its contemporaries. It's probably the first melodic DM album I ever had, and was formative to my taste in death metal, so I'm definitely not disparaging it, though I prefer "Karelian Isthmus" these days. "Elegy" is fantastic as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When it comes to Amorphis, I feel a bit like one of those guys who picked up Metallica at the Black album and never paid much interest to anything prior.

I'm a big fan of their more 'recent' sound & output. The earlier stuff never really appealed to me.

Their later, more melodic sound is what I've grown to associate the band with and at the risk of discounting some great music from them, I'm happy with the Amorphis I know.

Now I'm smart enough to appreciate that those earlier releases are terrific in their own way and I 'get' their importance to the melodic death scene as a whole - but honestly 'Skyforger', 'Eclipse', 'Under the Red Cloud' and 'Silent Waters' are Amorphis for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's funny, we basically like two different bands with the same name and some of the same members. [emoji4] I'll give Tomi Joutsen's offerings another chance, but I love that grim old Finnish death metal... I am surprised that the stuff with Pasi doesn't appeal to you. "Elegy" has some great melodies.

Ha ha yes. Elegy was the first album of theirs I bought. Seldom listen to it...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, GrayscaleDawn said:

I don´t know if this officially counts as a gothic metal album, but to me it is. Still in my books the best album they ever made, Elegy as a close second. I used to listen to this album again and again, still after all these years i do it every now and then. To me this album has unbeaten atmosphere, it´s something truely special to me.
 

I LOVE this album GrayscaleDawn - great call. While it might not be exclusively a gothic metal album, it definitely contains plenty of the elements that go into that genre. Amorphis are definitely in my top 5 all time bands and I've loved them for decades. Glad you posted it! :)

I'm with you regarding their best two albums except I'd put them around the other way: 'Elegy' as number 1 and 'Tales' number 2. Just brilliant releases. 

As for later Amorphis with Tomi Joutsen, well I guess it's no secret that I love that version of the band too.  'Under the Red Cloud' was close to my album of 2015, but love all of them with the exception of 'The Beginning of Times' which is strangely lacking in passion and conviction. 'Eclipse', 'Silent Waters' (the title track gives me chills), 'Skyforger' and 'Circle' are all modern metal classics. 

2 hours ago, True Belief said:

Ha ha yes. Elegy was the first album of theirs I bought. Seldom listen to it...

If you feel up to it, go back and give it another chance. This album's in our DNA True Belief! 

Also one more thing I forgot to say about 'Tales' and 'Elegy', the lyrics from Finnish folklore (the Kalevala and Kanteletar respectively) is the icing on the cake for me. It gives the music a whole new meaning while they're bringing medieval folktales to life. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cradle of Filth - Dusk and Her Embrace

Firstly, this album by Cradle is about as black metal as my grandmother's church scones. I'm not trying to be a genre fascist but if anyone thinks Cradle of Filth is a black metal band they need to go and listen to some *insert actual black metal release here*. 

This album came out in 1996 when I was an impressionable 16 year old, and at that point my friends and I had only heard bits and pieces of Cradle's 'Vempire' EP which we loved, but this album blew us away. The high pitched screams were genuinely intriguing in 1996, and the keyboards and production in general were just next level. 

Yes, Dani Filth sometimes seems a little more Lars Ulrich than we might desire, and his band(s) has released some albums admittedly better than others. But 'Dusk and Her Embrace' is an incredible release. It's epic, beautiful, haunting and with some of the greatest gothic themed lyrics you will ever hear/read in a metal band (or any other). 

Coming out prior to the internet's proper germination, I know all the lyrics to this album - test me if we ever meet - after years of booklet reading. The artwork is also one of my favourite of all time and the booklet is a thing of true gothic beauty. The cover with the (haunted) house up on the hill and the river in the foreground pretty much nails the aesthetic I love so much. 

Think of them what you will, but back in 1996 Cradle of Filth pushed the envelope and amazed a huge portion of the metal community. Check out this lyrics version of 'A Gothic Romance': 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even when someone hates Dani they must admit that he has always had a pretty unique sound and vision for his bands and certainly has a true passion for what he is doing. I used to enjoy COF a lot when i was younger, but haven´t listened to it much for few years. I don´t know if anyone here has heard his current project Devilment, it´s pretty awesome.. well.. especially the first album, what few songs i´ve heard of the second album sounds a touch too much like COF. :D 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, GrayscaleDawn said:

Even when someone hates Dani they must admit that he has always had a pretty unique sound and vision for his bands and certainly has a true passion for what he is doing. I used to enjoy COF a lot when i was younger, but haven´t listened to it much for few years. I don´t know if anyone here has heard his current project Devilment, it´s pretty awesome.. well.. especially the first album, what few songs i´ve heard of the second album sounds a touch too much like COF. :D 

I've got 'The Great and Secret Show', which is pretty cool - with some great themes and lyrics, but the music doesn't hold me for long.

It seems to lack a little bit of magic with it's more modern metal sound and structure. It's competent though. 

I've bought every Cradle album over the (many) years because I keep hoping for some more magic. And I got some with 'Hammer of the Witches' due mostly to an almost entirely new songwriting team. The old spirit is well back and it's their best since 'Midian' in my opinion. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Post-Midian CoF totally lost me.

For some reason I gave them another chance with Manticore and I appreciated the more straight-ahead metal approach & structures. But it was an uneven album.

Hammer of the Witches was another level up again, really strong output and some fantastic riffs without all of the usual histrionics that made the band suck. I still spin it regularly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'Hammer of the Witches' is great. Just a really good album. The final song before the outro is also about the Crusades and it's just done beautifully. 

I really think it's because Paul Allender has finally left the band. He simply isn't that great a songwriter and we had to put up with him for over a decade. He had his moments but I tend to blame him for the 'riff heavy' direction the band went in.

They got rid of Allender, brought in two new guitar wizards who are great songwriters, set an agenda to write a gothic metal album without silly commercial hits and boom, 'Hammer of the Witches'. 

I'm seriously really impressed that both Cradle of Filth and Paradise Lost can produce such brilliant albums this late in their careers. It's really amazing. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'Hammer of the Witches' is great. Just a really good album. The final song before the outro is also about the Crusades and it's just done beautifully. 

I really think it's because Paul Allender has finally left the band. He simply isn't that great a songwriter and we had to put up with him for over a decade. He had his moments but I tend to blame him for the 'riff heavy' direction the band went in.

They got rid of Allender, brought in two new guitar wizards who are great songwriters, set an agenda to write a gothic metal album without silly commercial hits and boom, 'Hammer of the Witches'. 

I'm seriously really impressed that both Cradle of Filth and Paradise Lost can produce such brilliant albums this late in their careers. It's really amazing. 

Yeah I mentioned it a bit on the forum here coz I loved it at the time; and I'm sure FA tried it out too as a result? Not sure if he's as bigger fan of this one as us though. I know his son has a real good liking for Midian though. Always smile when I hear about him requesting it. Ha ha, mines hooked on Seek & Destroy. Great song but damn he's killing it for me. Oh, And Usher - (blame the good wife for that....).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paradise Lost - Icon

To put this album into context you have to understand what was happening in 1993. The answer is, not much when it comes to doom and gothic metal. It's the same year as My Dying Bride's immortal 'Turn Loose the Swans' and Anathema's first album, the awesome yet rustic 'Serenades', and in many ways a momentous year. But when you think of what is to come in the mid to late 90s, no one had any idea how huge this would all be. 

My Dying Bride and Anathema released absolute classics, but they were (beautifully) naive albums, and in many ways they struck it lucky. Paradise Lost, however, already had two albums out when they produced one of the greatest gothic metal albums of all time, 'Icon'. 

They were the first to bring a more rock orientated style into their sound which would become standard in three or four years across the globe. Songs like 'Embers Fire' and 'True Belief' are gothic metal classics with a great sense of melody and 'song'. They really set the path that would take quite esoteric metal bands into a more mainstream rock zone. 

Artwork is amazing, with a huge fold-out inlay that features a very young looking band on one side and the lyrics on the other. The stone statue images and green/yellow colour tone looks great, and the eye is drawn to all parts of the 12 panel fold-out.  

If you've ever wondered where the European gothic metal style and sound came from, it came from this northern British band in 1993. Name one gothic/doom band who was doing this in 1993: 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Usher? Ouch. My wife apparently has our little guy listening to Taylor Swift on Pandora now. But! As a gift to myself, I got him headphones for Christmas! :D

 

For me, you can't have a discussion of Gothic metal without acknowledging Celtic Frost's "Into The Pandemonium". I can understand how this bizarre mashup of sounds might not click for everybody - a trip through oddly inflected rock, dark symphonic elements, industrial, and the boneheaded, angular riffing style they'd used to good effect on previous records. "To Mega Therion" does feature female vocals and symphonic instruments, but on "Into The Pandemonium", they're not just supporting characters; they're integral to the experience. Tracks like "Mesmerized", "Rex Irae", and "Tristesses De La Lune" set the stage for a decade's worth of further developments. It's twenty years since I first heard this album and nearly thirty years since it was released, and I still love it every time I put it on.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, GrayscaleDawn said:

Just noticed that the version of the album you posted has a different track than what i am talking about, i talk about this:

 

Huh, I guess the link I posted has the track order from the CD remaster but omits that song for some reason? Not sure why, it's on my version of the CD. Anyway, hell yeah, this is a killer track.

14 minutes ago, deathstorm said:

I whould put type o negative's bloody kisses up there as a great gothic record it has spawn two their biggest hits on that record black no 1 and christain woman I'm sure alabaster whould agree on my choice

Yup, Bloody Kisses definitely belongs here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, deathstorm said:

I whould put type o negative's bloody kisses up there as a great gothic record it has spawn two their biggest hits on that record black no 1 and christain woman I'm sure alabaster whould agree on my choice

Deathstorm is on to something here. I hope you don't mind if I elaborate on your great call! 

 

Type O Negative - Bloody Kisses

Released in 1993, this is another amazing album that pretty much came out of nowhere. Who would have thought that one of the greatest gothic metal albums of all time would come out of Brooklyn? 

Songs like 'Christian Woman' and 'Black Number 1' are classics, but so too are lesser discussed songs like 'Too Late: Frozen' and 'Summer Breeze'. They are melodic, elegant and long, with nothing rushed and nothing deliberately commercial. 

The original version of the album contained several less than serious tracks, but a later Roadrunner Records digipak edition was released (this time featuring the two girls on the cover kissing!) that had the joke 'songs' removed and the track order rearranged somewhat - and being the miserable old geezer that I am, it is the digipak version of the album that I find is the best representation of what is going on here. This may be anathema (pardon the pun) to some traditionalists, however. 

Long, gothic songs. Layers of keyboards. Peter Steele's inimitable deep and smooth vocals. Songs about sex and religion. If you like gothic metal check this album out. It's haunting, beautiful and erotic. 

Amazing fact: it actually went on to sell over a million copies! Here's 'Christian Woman': 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Join Metal Forum

    joinus-home.jpg

  • Our picks

    • Whichever tier of thrash metal you consigned Sacred Reich back in the 80's/90's they still had their moments.  "Ignorance" & "Surf Nicaragura" did a great job of establishing the band, whereas "The American Way" just got a little to comfortable and accessible (the title track grates nowadays) for my ears.  A couple more records better left forgotten about and then nothing for twenty three years.  2019 alone has now seen three releases from Phil Rind and co.  A live EP, a split EP with Iron Reagan and now a full length.

      Notable addition to the ranks for the current throng of releases is former Machine Head sticksman, Dave McClean.  Love or hate Machine Head, McClean is a more than capable drummer and his presence here is felt from the off with the opening and title track kicking things off with some real gusto.  'Divide & Conquer' and 'Salvation' muddle along nicely, never quite reaching any quality that would make my balls tingle but comfortable enough.  The looming build to 'Manifest Reality' delivers a real punch when the song starts proper.  Frenzied riffs and drums with shots of lead work to hold the interest.


      There's a problem already though (I know, I am such a fucking mood hoover).  I don't like Phil's vocals.  I never had if I am being honest.  The aggression to them seems a little forced even when they are at their best on tracks like 'Manifest Reality'.  When he tries to sing it just feels weak though ('Salvation') and tracks lose real punch.  Give him a riffy number such as 'Killing Machine' and he is fine with the Reich engine (probably a poor choice of phrase) up in sixth gear.  For every thrashy riff there's a fair share of rock edged, local bar act rhythm aplenty too.

      Let's not poo-poo proceedings though, because overall I actually enjoy "Awakening".  It is stacked full of catchy riffs that are sticky on the old ears.  Whilst not as raw as perhaps the - brilliant - artwork suggests with its black and white, tattoo flash sheet style design it is enjoyable enough.  Yes, 'Death Valley' & 'Something to Believe' have no place here, saved only by Arnett and Radziwill's lead work but 'Revolution' is a fucking 80's thrash heyday throwback to the extent that if you turn the TV on during it you might catch a new episode of Cheers!

      3/5
      • Reputation Points

      • 11 replies
    • I
      • Reputation Points

      • 1 reply
    • https://www.metalforum.com/blogs/entry/52-vltimas-something-wicked-marches-in/
      • Reputation Points

      • 3 replies

    • https://www.metalforum.com/blogs/entry/48-candlemass-the-door-to-doom/
      • Reputation Points

      • 1 reply
    • Full length number 19 from overkill certainly makes a splash in the energy stakes, I mean there's some modern thrash bands that are a good two decades younger than Overkill who can only hope to achieve the levels of spunk that New Jersey's finest produce here.  That in itself is an achievement, for a band of Overkill's stature and reputation to be able to still sound relevant four decades into their career is no mean feat.  Even in the albums weaker moments it never gets redundant and the energy levels remain high.  There's a real sense of a band in a state of some renewed vigour, helped in no small part by the addition of Jason Bittner on drums.  The former Flotsam & Jetsam skinsman is nothing short of superb throughout "The Wings of War" and seems to have squeezed a little extra out of the rest of his peers.

      The album kicks of with a great build to opening track "Last Man Standing" and for the first 4 tracks of the album the Overkill crew stomp, bash and groove their way to a solid level of consistency.  The lead work is of particular note and Blitz sounds as sneery and scathing as ever.  The album is well produced and mixed too with all parts of the thrash machine audible as the five piece hammer away at your skull with the usual blend of chugging riffs and infectious anthems.  


      There are weak moments as mentioned but they are more a victim of how good the strong tracks are.  In it's own right "Distortion" is a solid enough - if not slightly varied a journey from the last offering - but it just doesn't stand up well against a "Bat Shit Crazy" or a "Head of a Pin".  As the album draws to a close you get the increasing impression that the last few tracks are rescued really by some great solos and stomping skin work which is a shame because trimming of a couple of tracks may have made this less obvious. 

      4/5
      • Reputation Points

      • 4 replies
×
×
  • Create New...