Hystorical Invasion of Gothic Music
youth in Europe and their brothers and sisters everywhere else are
caught in a dark wave which we can give many names: Gothic Rock, Gothic
Metal, Doom, Dark Electro, EBM, Shoegaze, and Ethereal. A very dark
style, either a guitar or a synth sound more than influential, irresistible
and magical riffs, a phenomenal singer voicing with frightful intensity,
a hypnotic music that crosses the time without problem, unbelievable
melodies, surprising experimentations always, and an excessive melancholy
that give shivers. That is dark wave music.
is not far from gothic art: paintings, photos, and sculptures. Gothic
is a powerful ambiance that translates internal emotions. It also
translates sensitiveness. It is a sensual and mysterious music, sometimes
gruesome but also very melodious. Since the end of the seventies,
these kinds of songs showed themselves successively. Bands like Bauhaus,
Dead Can Dance, Sisters of Mercy, and The Cure have left an important
spot that does not cease to influence new bands. Below, three amazing
groups Clan of Xymox, Fields of the Nephilim, and After Forever are
put in value.
Clan of Xymox
their formation in their native Holland, back in 1984, their music
has been constantly intriging, always challenging and often quite
breathtaking. Clan of Xymox was founded in Amsterdam. 1985 saw the
release of their debut album, which was full of tumbling electro beats,
throbbing sequencers and moody vocals, aptly dubbed as Darkwave by
British radio icon John Peel. The second album was very different:
1987's "Medusa" was mostly a dark record, in places a chilling
exercise in atmospherics and modern pop dynamics. Aided by the impressive
12 inch single "A Million Things" the band really started
to create a buzz. Clan of Xymox were now not only inhabiting the art
houses but also filling dance floors in the more discerning clubs.
The band shortened their name to Xymox and gave the world 1989's "Twist
of Shadows" album. It was in many ways a bold record and it showed
that being signed to a major concern wasn't going to stifle a natural
sense of musical adventure. "Twist of Shadows" had sold
in excess of 300,000 copies. Later came the album "Phoenix"
in 1991. Early 1997, and again under the name 'Clan Of Xymox' a new
album "Hidden Faces" was released. It was a classic Goth
album with echoes of the Sisters. In 1999, "Creatures" was
born. And with tracks like "All I Have", this album went
deeper into the darkest sounds of Gothic. Many critics proclaimed
it was a real masterpiece. Then, "Notes from the Underground"
is released in 2001, a great sign that the clan is still alive in
the new millennium. "Farewell" appeared in September 2003,
always intense just as 18 years ago. It feels like there is no real
farewell for the clan, in 2006, Clan of Xymox released probably one
of their best albums "Breaking Point". More releases included
"Days of Black" in 2017 and "Spider On The Wall"
of the Nephilim
first incarnation of the Fields of the Nephilim appeared in 1984.
Five men, Carl McCoy (vocals), Tony Pettit (bass), Paul Wright (guitar),
Gary Whisker (sax) and Nod Wright (drums) formed a powerful British
unit, which produced some of the most beautiful spiritual music in
my experience, armed with a unique sound and an unsurpassed visionary
presence. An astonishing, deeply arcane Fields of the Nephilim defined
themselves from the start as a guitar band and they've never been
swayed by fads or trends. Their dark focus was strongly refining and
purifying their primal foundation of guitar-and-drums. And that foundation's
sound, built on dense and intricate layers of guitar simply demands
more room, pushing out the walls. The first album "Dawnrazor"
came in 1987. It was a powerful tour de force that complemented the
live shows, gave intimations of what was to come. The rich, plangent
sounds evoked a landscape of inner hope combined with primal terror.
The album had considerable impact on the scene, forcing the pace of
development within the scene such that very few could keep up. Reinforcing
the impact of Dawnrazer, two singles released subsequently went to
Number One in the independent charts in the UK: Blue Water, and Moonchild.
This was consolidated by "The Nephilim" album, adding an
ethereal quality to the band's sound, and bringing out a new dimension.
Greatness emerged with songs like "Last Exit of the Lost",
"The Watchman", and "Love Under Will". The voice
of McCoy has moved every little bone in the bodies of gothic fans
around the world. This voice later came to its peak in 1989 with the
song "Psychonaut": clear, resonant and virtually polished
clean of the old throttled growl, full of authority and drama. However,
when the Fields disbanded in 1991, singer and songwriter McCoy resurfaced
five years later with a reincarnation called the Nefilim. Their only
album, "Zoon", was a challenging and deeply rewarding ride.
The other members formed Rubicon in 1992, and, later, the Last Rites
in 2001. The latter was a lot of beat of relief for the lusting fans.
Lastly, a project by Tony Pettit named NFD hit the scene in 2003 with
the song "Break the Silence" followed by other major releases.
Later Tony joined the band the Eden House: a great Gothic Rock going
from traditional sound to ethereal passages. The year 2005 was the
come-back year for the FOTN where "mourning sun" shines
its requiems towards the year 2525. Finally, in 2016, the single "Prophecy"
promises another come back.
Dutch formation After Forever has created quite a stir in the Gothic
Metal scene with their debut album "Prison of Desire" in
February 2000, balancing heaviness and atmosphere, using a complete
choir to reach this. The new millennium was privileged with an exceptional
strong gothic establishment based on the peculiar style of what is
called "Beauty & the Beast" metal. It drives you toward
your karma amongst numerous European bands who tried this genre in
the late nineties. Thus, the After Forever style is aptly named because
of the dual vocalists that the bands front, one being an operatic
female with beautiful cords, and the other a screamer that complements
the softness of the female voice of Floor Jansen, which is one of
the most powerful and charming female voices. This peculiar style
consists of brilliantly layered symphonic, gothic, crunching guitar
and metal driven by visualized theatrical sceneries. Songs like "Beyond
Me", and "Leaden Legacy" have been smashed hits for
those visualizers. The same feeling but at a somewhat higher caliber
was blown out of their second album "Decipher" in 2001.
After Forever's power was growing. The meandering vocal lines were
again quite distinctive with a slightly Arabic touch, as in "My
Pledge of Allegiance". The fast paced church organ and fast heavy
bass give the music urgency, while the fast intermezzos have strongly
classical leanings. Lots of thematic variations are enjoyed, with
recurring themes and passages throughout. Slow gloomy vs. aggressively
fast paced, classical vs. metal, soprano vs. grunt, lots of contrasts
by After Forever, but all in line with the Gothic metal spirit. Their
mini CD "Exordium" was released in 2003, followed by their
third full album "Invisible Circles" released in March 2004.
However, their one of their best works appeared in September 2005
with their new album "Remagine" full of unexpected beats.
This album proved that After Forever were here to make an impact.
In April 2007, a self-titled album was released along with the single
"Energize Me". Sadly, however, in 2009 and after nearly
15 years "with heavy hearts" After Forever decided to call
it quit. But the story goes on with bands like Revamp, Epica, and