Goth Rock

Goth Rock is an evolution of Post-Punk.

Unsurprisingly, this is one of the primary genres associated with Goths, along with Industrial, Dark Wave, Post-Punk and Gothic Metal and sometimes emo music (in the case of the more goth influenced ones like AFI, aiden, and My Chemical Romance.

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, when 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: Dark Wave and Cybergoth.

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)
  • The Cramps - Similarly dark and theatrical, but with a distinct 50s kitsch feel)

Post-Punk Predecessors
First Wave Goth Rock

Second Wave Goth Rock and Batcave

Third Wave Goth Rock

Contemporary Goth Rock


Deathrock/Horror Punk

Dark Cabaret

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