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Goth Rock is an evolution of Post Punk.

Unsurprisingly, this is one of the primary genres associated with Goths, along with Industrial, Darkwave and Post Punk.

The basic musical features of the genre are having monotone and gloomy vocals, dark subject matter, melodies carried by the bass guitar, the electric guitar being used often as "just another instrument" rather than the dominant instrument, sparse percussion, and (often) use of synthesizers.

As an evolution of Post Punk, Goth Rock's essential features were codified by the Post Punk artists. What differentiates Goth from Post Punk is a more theatrical style (and arguably more Glam Rock influence) and (most of the time) more elaborate songs with more frequent use of electronics. The theatrical style, with its connotations of artificiality, resulted in a situation where most of the bands closely identified with Goth vehemently denied being Goth bands, notably The Cure and The Sisters of Mercy.

The Trope Namer was the Manager of the band Joy Division; he described their music as 'gothic' to the music press.

Arguably, the Trope Codifier for the genre is one specific song; "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus. All the primary elements of Goth Rock are there; sparse drumming, guitars used for texture rather than being the dominant instrument, the bass guitar carrying the melody, dark lyrics, monotone vocals, and lots of reverb on everything.

See also: Darkwave and Cyber Goth.


Noteable Artists

Punk Predecessors

  • The Damned (Helped pave the way with a theatrical vampire lead singer and the name of the band itself. Mixed gothic stylings with hard rock and then later became a full-on Goth Rock band themselves)

Post Punk Predecessors

  • Joy Division (Trope Namer)
  • Killing Joke
  • Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Birthday Party, although they disliked the term 'gothic', were very influential on death rock bands, and members formed bands that are definitely gothic-leaning. They're fairly popular in the goth scene, too.


First Wave Goth Rock

  • Bauhaus (Trope Codifier with "Bela Lugosi's Dead")
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees (for some albums, at least)
  • The Cure
    • Their first album was something akin to pop-punk or early New Wave, but the three albums following it grew progressively towards Goth Rock. Seventeen Seconds began the trend as a pure post-punk album, Faith followed it with strong Joy Division influences, and the third in the "trilogy", Pornography, was pure Goth Rock. After Pornography, they moved more towards pop for many years (and most of the rest of their career), with a few notable exceptions such as the goth-infused pop of Disintegration.
  • Depeche Mode
    • Their first four albums were closer to New Wave (although with a slight Industrial bent). Then 'Black Celebration" and "Music for the Masses" took them into full on Goth Rock. Violator was closer to pure Alternative Rock though.
  • The March Violets
  • Southern Death Cult (eventually the singer formed the band The Cult, but they're not really the same band).
  • Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
  • Lords Of the New Church (had members of The Damned)
  • Xmal Deutschland
  • The Virgin Prunes
  • UK Decay


Second Wave Goth Rock and Batcave

  • The Sisters of Mercy
  • Fields of the Nephilim
  • Alien Sex Fiend
  • Specimen
  • Sexgang Children
  • Flesh for Lulu
  • Play Dead
  • Gene Loves Jezebel
  • Ausgang
  • Skeletal Family
  • Danse Society
  • And Also the Trees
  • The Mission UK


Third Wave Goth Rock

  • Nosferatu
  • Faith and the Muse
  • Black Tape for a Blue Girl
  • The Shroud
  • Big Electric Cat
  • Darkside Cowboys
  • Elysian Fields
  • Love Spirals Downward
  • Strange Boutique


Contemporary Goth Rock


Cyber Goth


Death Rock

  • Christian Death (particularly earlier works with Rozz Williams at the helm- Only Theater of Pain, Ashes, and Catastrophe Ballet)
  • .45 Grave
  • Kommunity FK
  • Pompeii 99
  • Voodoo Church
  • Theater of Ice
  • Bone Orchard
  • Cinema Strange


Dark Cabaret


Goth Americana/Gothabilly (i.e. Goth Rock mixed with Alternative Country)

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