1. Bauhaus - In the Flat Field
You have to be either incredibly naive or in willful denial to say they had no influence on the scene. Really. Showcases the transition from artsy punk to goth before it had a name.
2. Joy Division - Closer
Heavy influence on the sounds of the later '80s gothic rock bands. Helped lay the foundational sound of deep bass and drums with light ethereal guitars.
3. Siouxsie and the Banshees - Juju
Their first album was a powerful expression of punk rock during the '70s, their second album showed they couldn't keep the punk thing going forever, and their third album saw them experimenting much more in the post-punk arena. Here, their fourth album showcases one of the strongest results of such experimentation, with light ethereal guitars, strong tribal drumming, and heavy bass. Night Shift
should be considered a gothic anthem.
4. Specimen - Batastrophe EP
Maybe the album itself isn't as widely influential as to warrant spot #4 here. But consider first that this is Specimen
. If it wasn't for these guys, there probably wouldn't have been a Batcave, and without the Batcave, most of you probably wouldn't be here today. :p
5. The Sisters of Mercy - First and Last and Always
Andrew Eldritch almost single-handedly set forth every stereotype in the book for the next generation of goths, and then vehemently denied the label. Formed the signature drum-machine and deep voice sound that would be copied by many future bands.
6. Christian Death - Only Theatre of Pain
Yep, here's the L.A. deathrock scene, with one of the most influential bands of the scene. While Rozz hadn't yet fully matured as a singer here, it still showcases some of their signature songs.
7. Alien Sex Fiend - Who's Been Sleeping in my Brain?
Arguably the band more associated with the Batcave than anyone else. Helped give the scene a quirky sense of humour among all the dark imagery.
8. And Also the Trees - Virus Meadow
Yes, they're being listed before the Cure. This is because they pretty much were
the main influence on Robert Smith et. al. to begin foraying into the realm of depressing and dark music. This one showcases some moody songs heavy on the reverb with deadpan vocals. Slow Pulse Boy
is a definite fan-favourite song.
9. The Cure - Pornography
This has to be one of the darkest albums ever conceived. 8 songs of pure angst and depression that will knock you in the head and leave you bleeding from the wrists. In fact, Robert Smith decided to never do anything like this ever again after the album was finished. This (along with Faith
) was the *real* reason the Cure was considered a goth band, not Mr. Smith's weird signature makeup and back-combed hair.
10. Clan of Xymox - Medusa
Another 4AD band from the '80s. This is an adventure through more of an existential darkness than an angsty one, and it probably exerted more influence on the electronic side of gothic music. Definitely their best offering before the line-up began changing along with their style.
11. Virgin Prunes - If I Die, I Die...
One of the weirdest bands ever. This has some of their best songs ever, including Pagan Lovesong
and Baby Turns Blue
12. Kommunity FK - The Vision and the Voice
Another influential L.A. deathrock band. This album really shows some of the parallels between the L.A. and British scenes regarding the evolution of punk to goth, and it has some of their better songs, too.
13. Fields of the Nephilim - Dawnrazor
Picking up where the Sisters left off. :p
Actually, that's not giving them enough credit. They really popularised the bleak western imagery (even though Theatre of Hate, Southern Death Cult, and Gun Club have all used it before), and the slight country twang showed how amorphous and liberal the scene's music had become by the late '80s. Well, after the amalgam of post-punk, deathrock, industrial, darkwave, and other such genres, can you really give a concise definition of the "gothic sound" anymore?
14. Dead Can Dance - Dead Can Dance
Another 4AD band. This was back when they used some spooky guitars and some interesting percussion. This really sounds nothing like their other albums, as far as I know. Frontier
is a powerful piece.
15. Cocteau Twins - Garlands
Yet another 4AD band. Before they began playing more lush and pretty sounds, they had a drum machine and some tinny distorted guitars. Much like Dead Can Dance, their debut album really doesn't sound much like their later stuff. Just don't lose any sleep trying to decipher their lyrics.
16. Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
I realise I have a heavy old-school and deathrock bias here, but so do influential goth albums, I think.