Goth Music Overview

What kind of music do Goths listen to?

Gothic music encompasses a wide range of styles and sounds. It can range from Gregorian chant and massive pipe organ sounds to modern guitar-based rock. It may include classical orchestrations, baroque strings, and mid-eastern music. It is often “ambient” (or hollow-sounding), especially in the vocals (“ethereal”). The most dance-able styles tend to be keyboard and synthesizer-based, but most early gothic music was guitar-based and was originally called Death Rock.

The line between Gothic and Industrial music is not always well-defined, although Industrial tends to be  more aggressive, with less themes of personal pain and more about social/political issues. Both styles depend on synthesized and digital sounds. The following represents a list of bands that are likely to come up in conversations with Goths:

Pre-Goths and Proto-Goths (just for fun): Johnny Cash (the original man in black); Roy Orbison (dressed in black, sunglasses at nite, and sad ballads like “Only the Lonely,” “Running Scared,” “Cryin’,” and “It’s Over,” make him Pastor Dave’s vote for the Proto-Goth of the ‘60s!)

(from the more serious ‘70s): David Bowie (goes without saying); Jim Morrison (for his dark, lyrical poetry and tragic end); Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground (gets lots of pre-Gothic bonus points for his dark, raw lyrics and liberal use of eye-liner); Leonard Cohen (wrote songs about the tragedy of martyrs like Jesus and Joan of Arc, and the visions and delusions of Bernadette, Suzanne,  and tormented terrorists - in poetic images so vivid, artistic, and surreal that most Goths only wish they could emulate him....)

Honorable Mention: Christina Amphlett’s demented baby-doll persona in the early days of the Divinyls inspired all manner of rock chick images from Courtney Love of Hole to that chick that sings in Switchblade Symphony....

Foundational Goth (late 70's/early 80's goth bands from the BatCave days): Alien Sex Fiend, Bauhaus, the (Southern Death) Cult, Joy Division  (later became New Order), Sex Gang Children, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, Virgin Prunes.
Next Wave Goth (early-mid ‘80s):  .45 Grave, Christian Death, Coil, Corpus Delecti, the Cure, Current 93, the Damned, Danielle Dax (and the Lemon Kittens), Depeche Mode, Echo and the Bunnymen, Fields of the Nephilim, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Love and Rockets, the Mission (UK),  Morrissey (the Smiths),  Peter Murphy; Suicide, T.S.O.L., X-mal Deutchland, (Clan of) Xymox.


Second Cousins (bands that aren’t exactly gothic, but are likely to come up in conversations at goth clubs and coffee houses): Adam and the Ants, Balaam and the Angel, Cocteau Twins, the Cramps, DeadCanDance, Devo, Duran Duran, Erasure, Eurythmics, Legendary Pink Dots, Lydia Lunch, Gene Loves Jezebel, Lords of the New Church, Moby, New Order, Red Lorry/Yellow Lorry, Soft Cell, Tones on Tail, Velvet Underground, XTC, U2.

Nineties Goth: Das Ich, Death In June, Delirium, Die Form, Gitane Dimone (from Christian Death), Diamanda Galas (from Christian Death), God’s Girlfriend, Human Drama, London After Midnight, Lycia, My Dying Bride, Nosferatu, October Project, Rosetta Stone, Shadow Project, Sleep Chamber, Sol Invictus, Sopor Aeternus.

Current Goth (many of these are etherial darquewave bands from Projekt Records): Apotygma Berzerk, Arcanta, Attrition, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Diary of Dreams, Dreadful Shadow, Faith and the Muse, Lee Presson and the Nails, loveliescrushing, Love Spirals Downward, Lustmord, Soul Whirling Somewhere,  Switchblade Symphony, Tara Vanflower, Theater of Tragedy, VnV Nation, Waxing Pathetic, Wolfsheim.


Industrial (everything from eerie electronics to aggro/doom and punk/metal fusions): 16 Volt,  Babyland, Caberet Voltaire, Crash Worship, Creaming Jesus, Die Krupps, Einsturzende Neubauten, Electric Hellfire Club, Fear Factory, Filter, Foetus (Jim Thirwell’s SFOFW, Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel), Front 242, Frontline Assembly, Godflesh, Gravity Kills, GWAR, KFMDM, Killing Joke, Kraftwerk, Laibach, Lords of Acid, Marilyn Manson, Ministry, My Bloody Valentine, (My Life With) Thrill Kill Cult, Nine Inch Nails, Nitzer Ebb, Pain Emission, Premature Ejaculation, Project Pitchfork, Psychic TV, Rammstein, Skinny Puppy, Specimen, SPK, Stabbing Westward, Swans, Test Department, Throbbing Gristle, Type-O-Negative, Vampire Rodents, Vast, the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Rob Zombie (White Zombie).

Christian Goth: the Awakening (So. Africa),  Joshua Bourke and Controversy under Fire, Caul, Cybershadow, Dance House Children, Dead Artist Syndrome (DAS), Enclave, Eternal Chapter (So. Africa), Eva O. (from Christian Death), Gannon 382, Joy Electric, Mad at the World, Morrella’s Forest, Necromance (Germany), Ojo (the solo album from Undercover), Painted Orange, Savior Machine, Scarlet, Sincerely Paul, Sleepy Hollow, Thymikon, the Wedding Party. 

New Christian gothic artists are emerging all the time; good places to start getting acquainted with this music are the MCM Sampler from MCM Music; and the Digital Assimilation sampler from the Velvet Empire.

Christian Industrial: Aleixa (technically techno, but Pastor Dave just loves them), Argyle Park, Audio Paradox, Audiovox, Autovoice, Brainchild/Circle of Dust, Chatterbox, Cult of Jester, Cybershadow, Deitiphobia, Fatal Blast Whip, Fell Venus, Generation, Global Wave System, Massavivid, Mortal, November Commandment (NovCom), Pivot Clowj, Rackets and Drapes, Torn Skin, Under Midnight, Way Sect Bloom, Wyrick, X-Propagation.

There are a ton of new Christian Industrial bands bursting out on the scene all the times. Check out these compilations and record companies for the latest and widest selection of new music: the Electro Shock Therapy, Full Frontal Lobotomy, and Lethal Injection compilations from Flaming Fish; the Cataclysm singles (Machines in the Garden, Collapsing Stucture) and Escape the Furnace (Vols. I & II) from Blacklight Records.

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