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Top 10 Gothic Metal Albums


Requiem
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And six months later we still wait for your top 10!  
You caught me, lol.

Moonspell - Wolfheart
Type O Negative - World Coming Down
Virgin Black - Elegant... and Dying
Draconian - Arcane Rain Fell
Cradle of Filth - Cruelty and the Beast
Septic Flesh - Ophidian Wheel
Tristania - Beyond the Veil
Celtic Frost - Into the Pandemonium
Paradise Lost - Icon
Funeral - From These Wounds

That's just off the top of my head. I may have missed something, but this should be mostly representative of how I like gothic metal to sound.

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11 minutes ago, BlutAusNerd said:

You caught me, lol.

Moonspell - Wolfheart
Type O Negative - World Coming Down
Virgin Black - Elegant... and Dying
Draconian - Arcane Rain Fell
Cradle of Filth - Cruelty and the Beast
Septic Flesh - Ophidian Wheel
Tristania - Beyond the Veil
Celtic Frost - Into the Pandemonium
Paradise Lost - Icon
Funeral - From These Wounds

That's just off the top of my head. I may have missed something, but this should be mostly representative of how I like gothic metal to sound.

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World coming down is a great album by type o negative everyone  dies is my favorite song 

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11 hours ago, BlutAusNerd said:

You caught me, lol.

Moonspell - Wolfheart
Type O Negative - World Coming Down
Virgin Black - Elegant... and Dying
Draconian - Arcane Rain Fell
Cradle of Filth - Cruelty and the Beast
Septic Flesh - Ophidian Wheel
Tristania - Beyond the Veil
Celtic Frost - Into the Pandemonium
Paradise Lost - Icon
Funeral - From These Wounds

That's just off the top of my head. I may have missed something, but this should be mostly representative of how I like gothic metal to sound.

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Great list. I love all these albums. ‘From these Wounds’ is a masterpiece. I’m so glad you finally shared the list! 

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Virgin Black many times and I’ve met them all. One of my associates/friends went out with Samantha at one point. She’s an amazing person. Cracking band.

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Great list. I love all these albums. ‘From these Wounds’ is a masterpiece. I’m so glad you finally shared the list! 
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Virgin Black many times and I’ve met them all. One of my associates/friends went out with Samantha at one point. She’s an amazing person. Cracking band.
Thanks, I wasn't sure if you would view the list so highly since it favors Gothic fusions over straight up Gothic metal albums. When it's done right, it can be incredibly emotional and effective. It can also be really lackluster and somewhat whiny for me, it really depends on the album.

Virgin Black is fantastic. I remember you saying that you knew them, and I will not hide my envy because I love everything they've done. The honor could just as easily have gone to Sombre Romantic or Requiem - Mezzo Forte. They also have the distinction of maybe being the only band to release an excellent doom/death album (Requiem - Fortissimo is a beast) that I don't like quite as much as their Gothic metal material.

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2 hours ago, BlutAusNerd said:

Thanks, I wasn't sure if you would view the list so highly since it favors Gothic fusions over straight up Gothic metal albums. When it's done right, it can be incredibly emotional and effective. It can also be really lackluster and somewhat whiny for me, it really depends on the album.

Virgin Black is fantastic. I remember you saying that you knew them, and I will not hide my envy because I love everything they've done. The honor could just as easily have gone to Sombre Romantic or Requiem - Mezzo Forte. They also have the distinction of maybe being the only band to release an excellent doom/death album (Requiem - Fortissimo is a beast) that I don't like quite as much as their Gothic metal material.

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I just have ‘Sombre’ and ‘Elegant’ and for some reason didn’t pursue them after that. I should give them some more spins as it’s been years since I heard them. 

Friends joke about how bands should never be so ambitious as to start a trilogy because you never know what the future holds. Case in point Virgin Black. 

The singer Rowan was always an extreme and distant guy. He really wasn’t into chatting. Actually they were all pretty unique people. Samantha Escarbe was definitely the most approachable. 

She was there the night I met Duncan Patterson when he came over to my friend’s flat. I spoke to Duncan and drank cider with him for hours, hearing all the Anathema stories. Those were the days. 

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I just have ‘Sombre’ and ‘Elegant’ and for some reason didn’t pursue them after that. I should give them some more spins as it’s been years since I heard them. 
Friends joke about how bands should never be so ambitious as to start a trilogy because you never know what the future holds. Case in point Virgin Black. 
The singer Rowan was always an extreme and distant guy. He really wasn’t into chatting. Actually they were all pretty unique people. Samantha Escarbe was definitely the most approachable. 
She was there the night I met Duncan Patterson when he came over to my friend’s flat. I spoke to Duncan and drank cider with him for hours, hearing all the Anathema stories. Those were the days. 
Sounds like a good time, even if Rowan kept to himself. You should give their other albums a listen when you get the chance, they're very much worth your time.

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On 3/5/2018 at 7:09 AM, BlutAusNerd said:

Sounds like a good time, even if Rowan kept to himself. You should give their other albums a listen when you get the chance, they're very much worth your time.


 

I've really only heard bits and pieces in party/social environments, so really not a great context to hear what are obviously pretty thoughtful and special albums. 

I just posted that I was listening to The Foreshadowing - 'Days of Nothing' which I really keep forgetting about, which is tragic because it's such a great album. Are you into it at all? (I speak exclusively of 'it' because their follow up albums are really disappointing with the exception of their amazing cover of Sting's 'Russians'.)

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I've really only heard bits and pieces in party/social environments, so really not a great context to hear what are obviously pretty thoughtful and special albums. 
I just posted that I was listening to The Foreshadowing - 'Days of Nothing' which I really keep forgetting about, which is tragic because it's such a great album. Are you into it at all? (I speak exclusively of 'it' because their follow up albums are really disappointing with the exception of their amazing cover of Sting's 'Russians'.)
I've never heard them. Similar to Virgin Black?

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On 10/03/2018 at 2:22 AM, BlutAusNerd said:

I've never heard them. Similar to Virgin Black?

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No, not really. The Foreshadowing are more like - I’m struggling to find an apt description. They’re at the more upbeat end of Virgin Black, like ‘The Kiss of Gods Mouth Part 2’. No, that’s not it at all. It’s gloomy downbeat rock based music with a doom vibe and clean male voice with a huge helping of bleakness and emptiness that never gets out of second gear speedwise. Just deliciously miserable and beautiful.

 

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No, not really. The Foreshadowing are more like - I’m struggling to find an apt description. They’re at the more upbeat end of Virgin Black, like ‘The Kiss of Gods Mouth Part 2’. No, that’s not it at all. It’s gloomy downbeat rock based music with a doom vibe and clean male voice with a huge helping of bleakness and emptiness that never gets out of second gear speedwise. Just deliciously miserable and beautiful.
 
Interesting description, sounds like it would be worth checking out.

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5 hours ago, BlutAusNerd said:

Interesting description, sounds like it would be worth checking out.

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Bear in mind it’s only their first album ‘Days of Nothing’ that has this next level songwriting. For some reason their subsequent albums are quite bland, if not actually boring. Strange really.

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  • 5 months later...

I just found this thread by pure luck and I'm so glad I did! You all have shared amazing lists (Saturnus rules), I'm even discovering Virgin Black thanks to this thread.

It's nice to see a good discussion on Gothic Metal, something that's been lacking in recent years.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my list. I'll follow the rule of one album per band.

 

10. Tiamat - Prey

I was about to put Wildhoney but that album sounds kinda more "avant garde" to me, so I just went for the safe bet.

Prey is my second favourite album by Tiamat. It's melancholic and powerful from beginning to end.


9. Theatres des Vampires - Bloody Lunatic Asylum

Very dark and interesting. This and Suicide Vampire are probably the best of old TdV.


8. Cradle of Filth - Hammer of the Witches

CoF at their best. It's been years since I really enjoyed something made by them, and this album is truly remarkable.


7. Darkwell - Suspiria

A haunting masterpiece by this fantastic Austrian band. It will leave an impression!


6. My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures

I wasn't sure which MDB album to include, so I choose this beautiful piece of work. It gets very gloomy, and its execution is flawless.


5. Theatre of Tragedy - Velvet Darkness They Fear

A solid entry in the Gothic Metal scene. Out of all Theatre of Tragedy albums this is probably the one I listened to the most. Just delightful.


4. Moonspell - Wolfheart

Amazing, unforgettable. Irreligious was considered to be here too, but in the end I favoured Wolfheart for its aggressive darkness.


3. Rotting Christ - A Dead Poem

This is among my favourite albums ever. It shows how versatile and creative Rotting Christ are. After this they went for an (amazing) blend of Black/Folk/Symphonic Metal, but their late '90s works left a deep impression in me.


2. Paradise Lost - Draconian Times

A timeless classic. I enjoyed this one a lot more than Icon and Shades of God.


1. Tristania - Widow's Weeds

One of the best albums of all time, hands down. The line-up at this time was perfect, too.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/11/2018 at 2:29 PM, Skadi said:

I just found this thread by pure luck and I'm so glad I did! You all have shared amazing lists (Saturnus rules), I'm even discovering Virgin Black thanks to this thread.

It's nice to see a good discussion on Gothic Metal, something that's been lacking in recent years.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my list. I'll follow the rule of one album per band.

 

10. Tiamat - Prey

I was about to put Wildhoney but that album sounds kinda more "avant garde" to me, so I just went for the safe bet.

Prey is my second favourite album by Tiamat. It's melancholic and powerful from beginning to end.


9. Theatres des Vampires - Bloody Lunatic Asylum

Very dark and interesting. This and Suicide Vampire are probably the best of old TdV.


8. Cradle of Filth - Hammer of the Witches

CoF at their best. It's been years since I really enjoyed something made by them, and this album is truly remarkable.


7. Darkwell - Suspiria

A haunting masterpiece by this fantastic Austrian band. It will leave an impression!


6. My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures

I wasn't sure which MDB album to include, so I choose this beautiful piece of work. It gets very gloomy, and its execution is flawless.


5. Theatre of Tragedy - Velvet Darkness They Fear

A solid entry in the Gothic Metal scene. Out of all Theatre of Tragedy albums this is probably the one I listened to the most. Just delightful.


4. Moonspell - Wolfheart

Amazing, unforgettable. Irreligious was considered to be here too, but in the end I favoured Wolfheart for its aggressive darkness.


3. Rotting Christ - A Dead Poem

This is among my favourite albums ever. It shows how versatile and creative Rotting Christ are. After this they went for an (amazing) blend of Black/Folk/Symphonic Metal, but their late '90s works left a deep impression in me.


2. Paradise Lost - Draconian Times

A timeless classic. I enjoyed this one a lot more than Icon and Shades of God.


1. Tristania - Widow's Weeds

One of the best albums of all time, hands down. The line-up at this time was perfect, too.

Skadi, you're an absolute star! 

This is a brilliant list, and you've mentioned several albums that I really love. 'A Dead Poem', 'Wolfheart', 'Velvet Darkness' and 'Hammer of the Witches' are brilliant albums from bands in my list too (except for Rotting Christ, who easily could have made it to my list). My favourite album from Tiamat would be 'Judas Christ'. 

It's great to see someone with such fantastic taste. Bravo Skadi! 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's interesting that "October Rust" (Type O Negative) and "Spiritual Black Dimensions" (Dimmu Borgir) are "eternal" albums that I will keep in my list ... fuck the genres and the special interests discussion. What I tend to do when confronted by a new genre like this is ask what represented them in the 70s (or even the 60s). If they have nothing they don't really exist. However, it's a fact that I own records by Theatre des Vampires and things like that ... such as Death Squad SS (highly rercommended!) ... which qualifies in this genre, according to its parameters. So I respect the desire to have your own country or whatever ... it's just not economically feasible at this point in time.

In MY opinion (which counts a lot to me!), the basic premise of "gothic metal" is a fail. The emotional indulgence of "being gothic" is anathema to the spirit of creativity. It all boils down to a wankard the tankard blow it all up kind of party ... but the issue is real enough. So what's a "Gothic" album from the classical age like? I'd search for Savannah Breeze and that sort of thing ... but the real issue is that there just weren't enough tear soaked fucking children back in the day. You had to support yourself. Make a living, That sort of thing. (This may be different today. I wouldn't know. I stopped caring in the 90s.)

Like I'm sure many will do ... I suggest Arthur Brown as a starting point here. This will put "gohic metal" at an age which is close to that of metal itself, in terms of when the genre came to be.  

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/29/2018 at 7:37 AM, MaxFaust said:

It's interesting that "October Rust" (Type O Negative) and "Spiritual Black Dimensions" (Dimmu Borgir) are "eternal" albums that I will keep in my list ... fuck the genres and the special interests discussion. What I tend to do when confronted by a new genre like this is ask what represented them in the 70s (or even the 60s). If they have nothing they don't really exist. However, it's a fact that I own records by Theatre des Vampires and things like that ... such as Death Squad SS (highly rercommended!) ... which qualifies in this genre, according to its parameters. So I respect the desire to have your own country or whatever ... it's just not economically feasible at this point in time.

In MY opinion (which counts a lot to me!), the basic premise of "gothic metal" is a fail. The emotional indulgence of "being gothic" is anathema to the spirit of creativity. It all boils down to a wankard the tankard blow it all up kind of party ... but the issue is real enough. So what's a "Gothic" album from the classical age like? I'd search for Savannah Breeze and that sort of thing ... but the real issue is that there just weren't enough tear soaked fucking children back in the day. You had to support yourself. Make a living, That sort of thing. (This may be different today. I wouldn't know. I stopped caring in the 90s.)

Like I'm sure many will do ... I suggest Arthur Brown as a starting point here. This will put "gohic metal" at an age which is close to that of metal itself, in terms of when the genre came to be.  

Goth and/or gothic, a forever-hot topic! 

 

On 9/10/2018 at 9:29 PM, Skadi said:

I just found this thread by pure luck and I'm so glad I did! You all have shared amazing lists (Saturnus rules), I'm even discovering Virgin Black thanks to this thread.

It's nice to see a good discussion on Gothic Metal, something that's been lacking in recent years.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my list. I'll follow the rule of one album per band.

 

10. Tiamat - Prey

I was about to put Wildhoney but that album sounds kinda more "avant garde" to me, so I just went for the safe bet.

Prey is my second favourite album by Tiamat. It's melancholic and powerful from beginning to end.


9. Theatres des Vampires - Bloody Lunatic Asylum

Very dark and interesting. This and Suicide Vampire are probably the best of old TdV.


8. Cradle of Filth - Hammer of the Witches

CoF at their best. It's been years since I really enjoyed something made by them, and this album is truly remarkable.


7. Darkwell - Suspiria

A haunting masterpiece by this fantastic Austrian band. It will leave an impression!


6. My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures

I wasn't sure which MDB album to include, so I choose this beautiful piece of work. It gets very gloomy, and its execution is flawless.


5. Theatre of Tragedy - Velvet Darkness They Fear

A solid entry in the Gothic Metal scene. Out of all Theatre of Tragedy albums this is probably the one I listened to the most. Just delightful.


4. Moonspell - Wolfheart

Amazing, unforgettable. Irreligious was considered to be here too, but in the end I favoured Wolfheart for its aggressive darkness.


3. Rotting Christ - A Dead Poem

This is among my favourite albums ever. It shows how versatile and creative Rotting Christ are. After this they went for an (amazing) blend of Black/Folk/Symphonic Metal, but their late '90s works left a deep impression in me.


2. Paradise Lost - Draconian Times

A timeless classic. I enjoyed this one a lot more than Icon and Shades of God.


1. Tristania - Widow's Weeds

One of the best albums of all time, hands down. The line-up at this time was perfect, too.

The moon shines down on thee.

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  • 1 year later...

I feel the need to update my list with a couple of new entries; they're highlighted in blue.

 

1. Theatres des Vampires - Bloody Lunatic Asylum

2. Cradle of Filth - The Principle of Evil Made Flesh

3. Cadaveria - The Shadows' Madame

4. Darkness of Blood - A Dream of Vampires in Astral Dementia

5. Symawrath - Scaena I - Incestuous Overture in the Crystal Auditorium

6. My Dying Bride - As the Flower Withers

7. Dimmu Borgir - Spiritual Black Dimensions

8. Moonspell - Wolfheart

9. Deinonychus - The Weeping of a Thousand Years

 

Cadaveria's debut is outstanding. The Shadows' Madame is blackened heavy metal masterpiece shrouded with gothic undertones. This is Witch Metal meant for drawing down the moon. Cadaveria is a femme fatale, and her visceral vocal performance and presence alone deserve high magic's praise. 

 

I've already exalted Symawrath's debut elsewhere. This album doesn't just meet the vampire standard; it's a blood overdose that won't let, or let you down.

 

Bands like Anathema, Evenfall, Paradise Lost, Tiamat, and Type O Negative will have to battle for the final spot.

 

 

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20 hours ago, Requiem said:

Yeah, well plug one in. I'm not happy with only 9 in a top 10 list! ;)

My list looks good at gothic glance, but just how accurate is it? Perhaps this weekend I shall re-visit all of the albums listed and those contending albums not listed. 

But I've always had a difficult time choosing a favourite album from bands like Tiamat or Paradise Lost. These questions daunt me, press me, and continue to haunt me, even after years of listening. Perhaps Clouds and Gothic? Just now, I remembered about Ancient's much maligned Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends; but I don't know if that would even make it.

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Vampyrique said:

My list looks good at gothic glance, but just how accurate is it? Perhaps this weekend I shall re-visit all of the albums listed and those contending albums not listed. 

But I've always had a difficult time choosing a favourite album from bands like Tiamat or Paradise Lost. These questions daunt me, press me, and continue to haunt me, even after years of listening. Perhaps Clouds and Gothic? Just now, I remembered about Ancient's much maligned Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends; but I don't know if that would even make it.

 

Tiamat - 'Judas Christ'

Paradise Lost - 'Draconian Times'

Done. 

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6 minutes ago, Requiem said:

Tiamat - 'Judas Christ'

Paradise Lost - 'Draconian Times'

Done. 

See, now that I've re-listened to Judas Christ (as well as Prey and Amanethes) I've complicated things further. I'd imagine that Clouds is still number one.

But you've listed two albums and there's only room for one on my list. Maybe Deinonychus has to go to make room for both bands... 

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  • 1 year later...

Gothic metal is the best sub genre of metal and anyone who says otherwise is 100 percent wrong lol. here are my top ten favourite gothic metal albums.

10: Irreligious by MoonSpell. So many bands have tried to copy the magic of this album and failed. Set the standard for what would come in the gothic metal sub genre. 

9: Aegis by Theatre of Tragedy. So much has already been said about this that I'll only say it's all killer no filler on this amazing album.

8: Godspeed on the Devil's thunder by Cradle Of Filth. I know it's technically a black metal album but it has so much gothic melody in it that how could I not put in this list.

7: Love Metal by HIM. Got lots of people into gothic metal did this album and with good reason as it's a corker.

6: Once by Nightwish. If this album only contained the song Nemo then it would still be a masterpiece. Planet Hell is also an amazing song from this album. The band would never again come close to the greatness they achieved on this album.

5: What lies beneath by Tarja Turunen. After she was sacked from Nightwish Tarja went on to have a great solo career while her old band went down hill, fast. This album is the jewel in her glittering solo career.

4: The dreadful hours by My Dying Bride. This is my favourite album by My Dying Bride as it contains so much gothic melody and beauty within the album. The song Le figle della tempesta is such a beautiful gothic metal song for those who say this band is not gothic metal.

3: Unleashed memories by Lacuna Coil. This album has on it the song When a dead man walks so need I say more. A beautiful album by my all time favourite band.

2: Jade by flowing Tears. A very underrated album indeed. The lead singer left after this album and the band have since changed their name. No matter how hard the band try they will never come up with a more beautiful album than this. The song Under the red is a highlight from this album for sure.

1: October rust by Type O Negative. Could it really be anything else? Of course not. My all time favorite album. I got a lot of hate from Type O Negative fans for liking this album in the 90's and early 2000's but their hate only made my love for this album grow stronger as it was like only I could see the beauty in this album where others over looked it. Since Peter's death I noticed a lot more people have started to love this album too which is great. If only they could of loved this album as much as I did when Peter was alive.  

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

The original list is pretty good, though I'd switch an album here and there (e.g. Wolfheart instead of Irreligious for Moonspell, Cuelty and the Beast for Cradle of Filth, debut for Sirenia etc).

The list I'd make though would depend A LOT on how strict we go about defining gothic metal - e.g. do we include gothic doom metal and gothic black metal etc, or just the "pure" gothic metal.

And even then we have 2 options - the one that's an "intelligent" kind of metal rooted in western classical music (stuff like Estatic Fear "A Sombre Dance"), and a heavier sounding gothic rock (e.g. Type'o'Negative). Though most of the bands combine those things in various proportions (heck, even Paradise Lost at their supposedly doom metal albums like Gothic had tracks like Shattered, Eternal that with some adjustments to the sound could be made very close to Sisters of Mercy stuff - though one would be hard-pressed to say PL wasn't metal enough back then).

So let me try to do kinda 2 lists - the more "pure gothic metal" (which is impossible to get right, I guess) and the more "gothic metal and around" stuff like most of the lists above.

So, for that "pure gothic metal":
1. Silentium "Altum" - underrated band, early releases up to Sufferion (including) are a great example of gothic metal, with some more doom influences at demos (Illacrimo and Camene Misera - great ones... if you manage to find them) - as it used to be for many others.
2. On Thorns I Lay "Crystal Tears" - absolute gem of an album that is made to be such by the use of Viola. It's kinda similar to Aegis in a way, though very different at the same time. Criminally underrated.
3. Theatre of Tragedy "Aegis" - need I say more?
4. Avrigus "A Secret Kingdom" - Amazing album from a relatively unknown band. A little bit short (if you exclude all the ambient intros and interludes), but very diverse - though consistent as an album. Great stuff.
5. Enslavement of Beauty "Traces o' Red" - this one comes from sort of a melodic black/death/heavy metal area, but it's definitely not black or death or heavy metal itself, unique stuff, and surprisingly almost no gothic rock influences (unlike subsequent albums), the guitar moves are much closer to some "neoclassic" stuff. Very unique in general and also very little known, I think. So again, criminally underrated.
6. To Cast a Shadow "All Alone" - just a very solid well-made album that fits the genre.
7. Funeral "In Fields of Pestilent Grief" - interestingly sounding more doom-rooted originally (with their brilliant "Tragedies"), but definitely into gothic metal area on this release.
8. The Hourglass "Through Darkness and Light" - the vocalist is on par with Tarja Turunen, but the music is more gothic metal with less pop or goth rock influences than say "Angels fall first" or "Wishmaster", and no power metal unlike "Oceanborn".
9. Madrigal "I Die, You Soar" - rather little known album, but a good one, with less "gothic metal" cliches like soprano female vocals, or gothic rock ones - like typical 1 and 3 beat and deep(ish) male vocals.
10. Lacrimas Profundere "Memorandum" - used to be pretty well known back in the day, worthy of bringing back now.
11. Estatic Fear "A Sombre Dance" - a classic. Not as good as "Somnium Obmutum", but that one was more a gothic doom album genre-wise. This one is a pure gothic metal to be, the one with western classical music base and without the gothic rock influences. It's 11-th, but it deserves a mention.

For the gothic influenced stuff that isn't "pure gothic metal":

1. My Dying Bride "The Angel and the Dark River" - a classic
2. Paradise Lost "Draconian Times" - same
3. Rotting Christ "Sleep of the Angels" - some angry reviewer complained it was too close to Sisters of Mercy or something, but that's the whole point!
4. Theatre of Tragedy "Theatre of Tragedy" - this album was overshadowed by the popularity of the two others that came after. But I would argue that "Theatre of Tragedy" is on par with "Velvet Darkness they Fear", and "Aegis" was already a different kind of music.
5. Trail of Tears "A New Dimension of Might" - heavy as f, 
6. Tristania "Beyond the Veil" - a classic that needs not much intros. Shifted more into melodic death metal meets gothic metal rather than doom-rooted debut (which is also a great album though).
7. Moonspell "Wolfheart" - another classic that doesn't need much introducing. Tracks like Trebraruna or Alma Mater are probably not exactly Gothic Metal, but the rest fits the definition just perfect. Midnight rides, vampires and some erotic alchemy - what more can one ask for?
8. Sadness "Danteferno" - not a happy listen, but a great album. And "Aphrodite's thorns" is in a genre of it's own.
9. Artrosis "W Imie Nocy" - polish competitors to Theatre of Tragedy. This is probably their best release.
10. Darzamat "In the Opium of Black Veil" - amazing though short EP (which is it's only downside), rooted in symphoblack. It's a pity the band has changed direction since then.
11. Draconian "Where Lovers Mourn" - a classic. Period.
12. Ava Inferi "Burdens" - also a classic. Very nice atmosphere and unique sound.
13. Mystic Circle "The Great Beast" - honorary mention. Other albums by this band don't sound interesting to me at all TBH. But this one... it is just perfect in it's sound. It is like Dark Tranquility "Haven" merged with gothic metal (remember when DT got that groove metal influence, slowed down, had lower vocals, punchier though simpler songs/riffs? Yeah, I love that album - and this is that plus gothic metal, though probably with weaker songwriting).

 

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    • 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
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      • 10 replies
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    • https://www.metalforum.com/blogs/entry/52-vltimas-something-wicked-marches-in/
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    • https://www.metalforum.com/blogs/entry/48-candlemass-the-door-to-doom/
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    • 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
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