The bands that are usualy known as a giant box called "gothic metal" are from all over the world, as the style is not based on a sound or a place, but a feeling and a mood. This is much like the even wider name of gothic rock
, where we could find every one from the rock oriented Christian Death
to the etheral melodies of Black Tape for a Blue Girl
Gothic metal is usually based in about three or four sound ideas though. The first would be related to bands like Tristania and Theatre of Tragedy who combine black metal vocals and attitude with female vocals and a medieval lyrical bent. Others like Sentenced, H.I.M. and many others combine dark atmosphere with a great deal of melody. Perhaps the largest form of gothic metal is a sister genre with doom metal. These bands are very much gothic, while using the very large outlook of doom. Here we will find My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Shape of Despair and even some Opeth, among many other great bands. The thing you will notice is that these bands and the first two all are very similar, and one can easily find moments where each style over-laps, which is why the umbrella name of gothic metal works best for them. The final event on our list is related to black metal. These bands are closely related to symphonic black metal like Emperor, however most bands I would call gothic black metal are even more keyboard dominated then Emperor. Here I'm thinking of Cradle of Filth, Agathodaimon, Asgaard, and any number of black metal bands that are willing to write an opus about Elizabeth Bathory. There are others who use many gothic elements, like female vocals and etc. but do not create what I would call gothic metal. Nightwish for example is considered gothic metal by many, but not by me.
Now one large thing you will notice in gothic metal is that much like black metal (it's very close cousin) is that every band, from the blackest evilest gothic black metal to the quietest female vocal band is united by a very strong feel. This feel is a very deep darkness, any fan of any of the bands I mentioned above will know what I mean. I think gothic metal has the largest ability to "cross-over" with other music fans. This is mainly because gothic metal lacks the evil feeling of black metal or the deep heaviness of death metal. Instead it can be much more accessible, bands like H.I.M. have very large followings for example, but no less dark.
Gothic metal is very much one of my favorite styles. I would suggest any fan of metal or gothic music to check out some of the bands mentioned above, or listed below.
My Dying Bride-The Angel and the Dark River
Katatonia-Viva Emptiness and Brave Yester Years
Sentenced-Crimson and The Cold White Light
Sirenia-An Elixir for Existence
Type O Negative-October Rust
Theatre of Tragedy-Theatre of Tragedy
Paradise Lost-Draconian Times
Shape of Despair-Angels of Distress
Opeth-Still Life and Damnation
Cradle of Filth-Cruelty and the Beast and Dusk and Her Embrace
Asgaard-Ad Sidera, Ad Infinitum
Moonspell-all of their records
Lacrimosa-all of theirs (thanks Swap)
If you think I should add anyone to the records list /msg me and let me know and I will do so.