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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Greater Darkness (Mighty Lambchop's Heavy Metal Nails #10)

Image via: http://gothicalogy.blogspot.com




Good morning!
Today we come to Gothic Metal. This genre has become my very favorite and it's no surprise. I am a macabre, pessimistic Lamb and prone to writing terrible overwrought poetry about isolation and depression. (I know, I sound super fun.) Rather than discuss just how Goth I am let's talk about the music.

Gothic Metal sprang from the Doom genre which sprang from classic Black Sabbath. Since Doom was dirge-like and fairly depressing, it makes sense. What makes it Gothic is the added influence of artists like The Cure, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Fields of The Nephilim and Joy Division just to name a few.
How this genre is credited with coming into being is with the release of the album Gothic by Paradise Lost.
There's a great deal of controversy regarding the label. Many bands downplay the association to avoid being labeled not metal or not metal enough. Then again there are many bands who embrace the Gothic label.

Ed. Note: Just a brief sidebar. I have issue with bands like Nightwish, Leaves' Eyes and the like being labeled as Gothic. I get why they could be. But Nightwish has always had a symphonic sound and strongly emphasized their classical roots. Hell, their original singer was a classically trained soprano.
Leaves' Eyes has had more in common with Folk Metal in spite of their singer's former tenure in Theatre of Tragedy. Most bands like these two get grouped in to Gothic because of the female vocals and fairly story telling songs. That just isn't Goth enough in my book. Same goes for After Forever and Within Temptation.

That's a lot of words. So you should look at the Moongram.
This is gonna be super fun for Illuminati/Freemason conspiracy theorists.

Gothic Metal came into being in the early 1990s with the so-called Peaceville Three. Better known as Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema. All were doom bands from England and all brought dark atmosphere and lyrical content that had more in common with Gothic rock. Meanwhile in America, Peter Steele formed Type O Negative in 1990 bringing an interesting combination of gothic, industrial and metal.
I don't think I need to talk about how influential Type O was and what kind of impact they made. They are especially notable for being one of the few innovative and still clearly metal bands from America.
Thanks to all of these bands this new sound exploded.

The early to mid 1990s were pretty bad for metal in the U.S. In Europe metal was still chugging along and doing some interesting things. Like Black Metal and Symphonic Metal. Then there was Gothic Metal and it began to creep all over Europe. What's cool is that it wasn't limited to the doom sound and picked up those Black and Symphonic elements. It was also a lot more female friendly and gave rise to a new breed of female metal talent. Yay! Progress!
The underground nature of metal and this super neat innovation also helped shine a light on bands from smaller countries in Europe. We'll get to that in a moment because we have to talk about Sweden.



Katatonia

I freaking love Katatonia and I defy you to tell me that they are not gloomy motherfuckers.
Katatonia formed in 1991 in Sweden and was firmly in the death/doom category with the "Peaceville Three." Katatonia's music began to change when singer Jonas Renske could no perform death growls. (Their final album to have the harsh vocals was Brave Murder Day and  Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt performed the vocals.) Their music has evolved from a death/doom to a more progressive and Gothic influenced sound.
Part of why I defy anyone this classification is twofold: The band admits influences of The Cure, Fields of the Nephilim and Joy Division as well as that the influence is crystal clear in Katatonia's music. So there.

Katatonia will be releasing their new album Dead End Kings in August. You can download a free mp3 of a new track from the album when you sign up for their newsletter HERE.

My picks for Katatonia:
If you're less into Death Metal and more into a progressive sound, I recommend starting with Last Fair Deal Gone Down and proceed to the current.
Otherwise, I suggest the entire catalog.
July is one of my favorite songs from them. So is New Night.

Now is the time I get to annoy you once again with my very favorite band.

I love this logo.

Moonspell formed in 1989 under the name Morbid God. It was 1992 that they became Moonspell and brought some attention to the country of Portugal. Moonspell originally was a black metal band but their Goth influences were quite clear on their first full length album, Wolfheart. The album initially had little visibility but soon attained a cult status. Thanks in part to touring with Morbid Angel in 1995.
1997 brought a new album, Irreligious, and a big departure from the sound of the previous album.

Now we can talk about the influences for Moonspell which will make clear how the band became a Gothic Metal band. Singer Fernando Ribeiro (Also known as my secret boyfriend.) has always maintained that Fado music is the one of the original influences for Moonspell. Fado can be described as a kind of  Portuguese folk music. Traditionally, fado is characterized by classical guitar and melancholy lyrical themes. There's two distinct styles of Fado coming from the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. Considering Moonspell has ties to both cities, it's not a surprise that both styles have been influential.
Moonspell's metal influences have long been named as Bathory and Celtic Frost as well as Black Sabbath.
Their goth influences have ranged from Depeche Mode, Fields of the Nephilim and The Mission UK.


Irreligious was a fully realized integration of Gothic rock and extreme metal. Boy was it divisive. Moonspell lost a lot of Death/Black Metal fans with it but they gained fans who embraced the sound. You know, like me. Irreligious was how I discovered Moonspell and I'm still so grateful to my younger brother's friend who brought it over for us to listen to back in 97.

Moonspell really has never been for the casual fan. They've been ever evolving and frequently challenging.
Their third album Sin/Pecado added a lot more industrial sound which then brought the album that really shook Moonspell fans. That album was The Butterfly Effect. The album was very experimental and very alienating if you weren't into electronic music and industrial. I admit my own difficulty with it. But I did fall in love with two tracks, Can't Bee and Lustmord.

Moonspell redeemed themselves with Darkness and Hope in 2001 and have continued on a strong track with each release better received than the last. Sadly, they have a hard time of it here in America. The fanbase they have here is devoted and um...well, rabid. We love us some Moonspell. But they just can't seem to really break through here. And it's too damn bad.
Ricardo Amorim is a fantastic guitarist, Fernando has a beautiful tenor and fierce death growls. I also feel that Mike Gaspar is one of the best drummers of the generation and he is criminally underrated.
Listen to From Lowering Skies and The Southern Deathstyle and you'll see what I mean.

Perhaps the band is too sophisticated for American tastes. I mean they do write about philosophy, made an album that was accompanied by an eBook from a popular Portuguese author that shared the same concept as was meant for the two to complement one another. They've also written a song based on a poem by Portugal's greatest poet and literary treasure. Never mind all of the literary references they drop in all of their music.That is way too fancy for Americans, yo.
Okay, Moonspell is probably too Goth for American metal fans. We tend to like our metal more aggressive and dissonant. Oh well. That just means I get to be at the front of the stage whenever they come to Portland.

Now is the part where I give you my picks for Moonspell. As a devoted fan, of course I am going to say everything. But I decided to knuckle down and actually make a good list.

For the extreme metal fan:
Under The Moonspell
Wolfheart
The Antidote
Memorial
Alpha Noir

For the fan of industrial/electronic: 
Sin/Pecado
The Butterfly Effect

For the Gothic fan:
Irreligious
Sin/Pecado
Darkness and Hope
Omega White

Okay guys, I am telling you now that you NEED the new double album, Alpha Noir/Omega White.
Alpha Noir is the extreme metal influences of Moonspell while Omega White is devoted to their Gothic roots. It is glorious. 

Finally, I will share my Moonspell playlist from YouTube with you. Definitely check out their acoustic performances. Stunning.

Now, we come to the nails.

 My moongram clutched tightly.



What I did:
OPI My Pointe Exactly, four coats as base. I mixed one drop both of Sally Hansen Midnight In NY and Nailene French Manicure polish in white. Then I did a gradient with that and Zoya Harley. I  mixed Sally Hansen Nail Prisms in South Sea Pearl with clear polish and sponged over that.
The moons were done with blue painter's tape and circle and crescent moon shapes with a craft punch to make a stencil.I mixed the Nailene polish with South Sea Pearl and clear polish to sponge over the stencil.
The stamps on the pinkie are done with China Glaze Millennium. The plates are GCOCL E02 and K05.

Well, there ya have it. I admit that I'm hoping I've recruited some more Moonspell fans. Until next time, remember that without you I am mute.

Other Gothic Metal bands to check out:
Sirenia
Poisonblack
To Die For
Lacuna Coil
Entwine
Tristania

You should also check out Hoje. It's a side project Fernando Ribeiro did to honor Queen of Fado, Amalia Rodrigues. It is beautiful.


2 comments:

  1. It's good you are a big fan of goth music. Check my fansite www.moonspell.cz

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can you tell me if the ''Moongram'' means anything?

    ReplyDelete

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