Goth is the New Black
Guest Wil Cifer is dropping by to share some of his favorite current goth-influenced bands.
The bloody wedding of Goth and metal has been met with mixed results over the years. For every great success story like Type O Negative and My Dying Bride there have been far more questionable examples. Cradle of Filth‘s foray into Hot Topic territory may have smeared the lipsticked reputation of the genre forever. But, I write this as a guy who grew up in the late 80s/early 90s who found myself often too Goth for my metal head friends and too into metal for my Goth girl friends. But my time has now come; as vinyl experiences another resurgence, plenty of hardcore kids and metal heads are scouring the bins at thrift stores and coming across Sisters of Mercy and Siouxsie albums, so this marriage has been getting its vow renewed over the past six years. Both black metal and doom bands alike have let the bats out of their closet, Nergal has said the next Behemoth album will have more of a post punk influence, Carl McCoy from the Fields of the Nephilim has appeared on a Watain album, and Carpathian Forest has covered the Cure, who Varg Vickerness has stated was one of the few bands he still listens to when he is not making music for cave elves. So goth has been up in your black metal for some time. So let’s expand your dark horizons by taking a look a few bands that are both heavy as well as fun at funerals who are offering redemption from the generation of mall metal.
This band came out of a short hiatus to release their new album on Neurosis’ Neurot Records. At times they are like a doomed-out version of Killing Joke plowing into the post-apocalyptic wasteland their music conjures. To dismiss them with the death rock revival is oversimplifying their haunting and expansive sound. Layering gloom-ridden melodies thanks to their bassist’s tasteful playing, the band slowly works their drug into your system. Once it’s there, it’s difficult to cure your addiction.
Youth Code are the real industrial deal, and their new album Commitment to Complications finds them stepping up their production considerably. Unlike your standard industrial band, they’re confident in the heft of their synths without needing to burnish them with a layer of thrashy guitars. There is an undeniable metal influence over this album, a fact further pushed into the light by Ben from Goatwhore who lends his snarl to the title track. They are already so aggressive that he doesn’t have to alter his approach to fit atop the hammering of their synths.
Tombs started off as a black metal band with touches of atmospheric darkness and have since completely given over to the dark side. Fade Kainer from Battilus and Statiqbloom joined their ranks for this year’s All Empires Fall, and they have expanded their darkness into a black hole of metallic fury. While the blast beats might have faded, the emotional intensity has stepped up to make this feel heavier than when they were hitting you with the full tempest of anger all the time.
At times these ladies from Portland touch on black metal, and at other times they drape you in doom without ever being burdened by conforming to any one genre. If you ever wonder what Rasputina might sound like if they picked up guitars after becoming possessed, then these lullabies embody the sort of twisted epics your imagination might conjure.
Light of the Morning Star
This band might come closest to carrying the torch of the kind of Type O Negative clove cigarette suburban misanthropy. Capturing the mournful ambiance of doom without slowing down these guys don’t fit neatly into any one casket, despite the three songs on their new EP being painted in a similar sonic shade of black. If you have a low tolerance for actual singing, then of all the bands listed here this might be the one to skip. Chances are if you are taking the time to read this then Sisters of Mercy might pop up in your shuffle mode so the down trodden baritone of their singer won’t phase you.
Carson Cox came out of the Florida hardcore scene, started doing drugs, then formed a band called Merchandise. This little side project reclaims his punk roots, but with the added melody of his full time gig. The end result was something very dense and authentic in its intention, which is very refreshing. It’s moody in the man-when-I-do-this-much-coke-it-really-fucks-with-my-meds way that a great album can leave you with a killer hangover.
Author & Punisher
Tristan Shone is a mad scientist who builds his own cyborg instruments to crush your brain. No stranger to the metal scene, in the past five years he has found himself fully embraced by it. No guitars, just distorted machines that hit you like a tank that just trampled the truck that mowed you down; its robotic attack must be felt.