I think it’s time to give you another treat, this time I’ll be recommending my favorite Gothic rock bands from the 80s. I begin with 1980-1981 (Part I) and then gradually move my way up throughout the years: 1982 (Part II), 1983-1984 (Part III), 1985 (Part IV), 1986-1987 (Part V) and 1988-1989 (Part VI). I’ll be continuing the fad of six different episodes and I’ll bid you my welcome into the world I knew and the world I’ve discovered and continually re-discover when I’m surfing the web. I want to give people another opportunity and to find out about bands and artists that they haven’t heard of before. Sometimes I occasionally sneak in a bigger band or two, but that’ll just be if the song is good enough. But by no means is this a top 30 of the best Gothic rock from the 80s, I’ll have to give you a top-10 list in the future of the Gothic bands that I think top my own list. I’ll also have some commentary beneath each clip as I had in the earlier parts that covered post-punk, mostly because it looks more aesthetically pleasuring and say something about the song or the lyrics. Let me take you into this world now.
You’re now entering Part II of the recommendation.
If you wish to continue, click on the Continue reading button.
- Wooh! - Uh! - Aaaaah!
24. Play Dead – viciously addicting goth. One of the more “widely” recognized goth-bands of the 80s, producing one fine record after another until they decided to quit in 1986. Also from the UK like many other goth-bands, but not entirely from the merit of the country per se. A very original band at that, which consisted of Barry Turnball (replaced by Steve Green in 1981), Mark “Wiff” Smith (Mankinds Audio Development), Pete Waddleton (Mankinds Audio Development), Rob Hickson (Mankinds Audio Development) and Steve Green (Mankinds Audio Development). I chose the third single they ever released which was called Propaganda (1982, Jungle Records). Of the two songs on that single, I decided to choose the original version of the song Propaganda. I really like the typical intro with the swirling guitar and the sound scape that’s made up of a brutal landscape that levels the whole mix. You’d almost think that the singer is locked into the rhythms and is trying to make his way out in the puddle of changing arrangement, roaring baselines and eccentric riffing. Hopefully he did make it out alive, but he didn’t go out without a sound, he went in with a bang and his vocals are shrinkingly amazing.
23. 13th Chime – underrated and mysterious goth. Probably one of the lesser known bands, but also one of the most known in my repertoire of what I’ve listened through. They’ve released a batch of amazing singles, but quit after a while. This band is also from the UK, and they consisted of Crow (Terry Taylor), Gary O’Connor, Mick Hand and Ricky Cook. They also released three records in 2009, one called The Singles: 1981-1983 and one consisting of their discography to date named Complete Discography and finally their first album was released in 2009, featuring tracks that have been recorded beforehand but were never released. It’s titled The Lost Album. But since we’re looking into the past, I’ve decided to choose one of their self-released singles called Cursed (1982, Not On Label) and I picked the track with the same name: Cursed. The intro sounds pretty basic but is actually filled up with a mysterious sound scape complete with sketchy riffing, vocals and a baseline. The drumming is excellent in this song and escalates the song further, the reverb and delay on the singers vocals touch the outer realms of this song and make it seem even more full than it actually is. A good one at that, using a template of rock-riffs also further into the song. One song and record you should check out and if you don’t, shame on you!
Transformation! Civilization! Metamorphosis!
22. Þeyr – dirty and suggestive Icelandic goth. Finally, one of the more legendary bands out there. One of the few bands active on Iceland playing this kind of genre and style, also former members of the future Kukl/The Sugarcubes were involved in this project. As they proceeded to release their first album Þagað I Hel which was a more pop and rock-oriented album, things changed radically. Moving onto new-wave and then having a full-stop at punk and goth rock in the meantime. Actually one of the most “radically” changed bands in goth that I know of, having started out as a regular pop band, moving into more and more unknown territory. Since this is one of the more legendary bands out there, I won’t have to tell you who these men are. You’ll figure that out in one way and another. But I decided to choose an album that haven’t gotten that much recognition on the net that I know of. So I chose their third EP The Fourth Reich (1982, Mjöt) and their song Metamorphosis on that EP. Chug, chug, chug – no, that’s not beer going down the drain, that’s actually some nice riffing going on there. I like how the baseline “swings” its way into the sound scape and how it sounds so experimental in it’s nature that I’d almost think it was some form of free improvisation or no-wave excellence. To no avail though, since it seems to be laying the groundwork with punk influences and the rest of the sound scape in a goth mold that sounds interesting and the vocalist break some barriers when traveling through it. His song is both mysterious and very monotone at that. Continually and gradually moving throughout, finding no peace and no rest since the riffs and the drumming pierce through his gentle veins. It’s not dirty as in sensual, it’s dirty as in five-hundred sweaty punks trying to cram their way into a private goth-venue. Maybe not my favorite, but certainly one of the more underrated records out there but at the same time one of the most legendary bands. How is that possible? I don’t know, but here’s the proof of it.
This is... this is... this i-i-i-i-iii-s.
21. Ritual – post-punky and gothicly funky. Probably one of the most underrated bands out there, or at least in the gothic sphere. Somewhat of an underground legend, at least if you ask me. Catchy introductory with nice saxophone melodies to accompany the gothic sensation that this is. They were actually one of the first goth punk bands out there, but somehow they didn’t receive as much recognition as other bands in the same swoop. Sex Gang Children and Southern Death Cult had eyes on them instead. I can understand why, because they were equally great. All three were called “positive punk” bands and I will reveal why someday in the future, or else, you could just search on the internet and find the meaning of it (and the meaning of life). Lets get on with Ritual then, shall we? They actually had some material that was going to be released but never got released. Later on the members Ray Mondo and Jamie Stewart were asked to join the legendary band Death Cult, which Jamie did and Ray Mondo but later on switched over to Sex Gang Children. Errol Blythe and Mark Bond joined Steve Spon (ex-UK Decay) which later on became known as In Excelsis. The fifth member Steve Pankhurst is the one that’s heard playing saxophone. So let’s cut to the chase and introduce you to the single I’ve chosen, it’s titled Mind Disease (1982, Red Flame). I picked the song with the same name: Mind Disease. It’s a great song because of the melodic singing and the accompanied fast drumming and percussion, the saxophone also adds another element to the swift guitar and the basic picked baselines. The stampeding drumming and somewhat funky rhythmic are great to the essence of the sound scape. Treating it like a sharpener where you put your knife to make the blade less blunt. So you could say that this is sharp goth for the sharper mind.
Tear down... these walls!
20. 1919 – legendary goth blended with punk. Yes please, tear down that bloody wall! Straight out of the UK, namely Bradford. This band has plagued me for many years and I discovered them in a remote part of the internet. They had a short run from 1980 to 1983 but released a bunch of good albums and singles. The greatest of those albums being the mini-album titled Machine. So Mark Tighe, Ian Tilleard and Steve Madden moved on to form Another Cinema after they had split-up, together with Stefan Khacheturian. While Mick Reed formed The Hive and Nick Hiles left. Later on, in the 21st century, they released a compilation titled The Complete Collection. After a while, Mark Tighe decided to reform 1919 with Ian Hardcastle and Richard Green which resulted in the 2005 album Dark Temple. However, I’ve chosen their single Repulsion (1982, Red Rhino Records) and the song Tear Down These Walls. With a fantastic intro to start with, ravaging the ground you stand on, to let you into the world of maddening and refreshing punk and goth-love. The singers pretty lo-fi sounding singing and the background riffing is absolutely terrific, at the same time, the percussion runs through me like a nail in a coffin. It almost sounds a little bit experimental, to be honest. I also think that they’re refering to the Berlin Wall in this song. Which makes it of historical importance, and means that you should listen to it. If not, then for the flanged drums a bit in.
I'd like to be a zombie. Because it would let me live the night.
BONUS Nr. 1: Beast – slow lo-fi goth with avant-garde influences. Even more obscure pieces are going into these bonus-songs that I’ve chosen for you. One cool thing about this one is that they had a pretty famous guy in the band for a while, before he entered this band he was a part of the first line-up for The Cramps. His name was Bryan Gregory, unfortunately he died in 2001 but left us with a legacy of really good music. The other members of this band were Andrella (Andrella Christopher), a prolific singer that didn’t release that much material. But the things she participated in had great quality and was truly unique in one way or another. She was also a member of a band called The Veil, another obscure band that blended new-wave and goth rock. The third member, Greg Langston, had also been a part of the legendary band Tuxedomoon and a bunch of other cool bands. I decided to choose their first single called Possessed / Wolfbane Nite (1982, Amdusias) and the song Wolfbane Nite. I chose the song because it’s got a pretty spooky and stereotypical “movie”-goth style to it, but it’s also slow which almost make it an angsty goth-ballad of a high degree. Slow acoustic riffs and sandstorms blowing in the background, what could be missing? This is a song to listen to when you’re going through a dark back alley or making your way through a desolate area.
Hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two, but also enjoyed these tips! This is the end of Part II.
I’ll be publishing Part III on Wednesday or Thursday!