Top 10 Best Gothic Metal Bands

Gothic metal is a unique and thrilling blend of heavy metal's raw power and the dark, atmospheric vibes of gothic rock. With its haunting melodies, melancholic lyrics, and often dramatic stage presence, it's a genre with a devoted fanbase.

So, what makes a gothic metal band truly stand out? Maybe it's those soaring vocals that send chills down your spine, or the crushing riffs that echo with a sense of beautiful despair. Perhaps it's the band's ability to transport you to a world of shadowy castles and moonlit nights.
The Top Ten
1 Nightwish Nightwish is a symphonic metal band from Kitee, Finland. The band was formed in 1996 by lead songwriter and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, and lead singer Tarja Turunen. It's currently formed by Tuomas, Emppu, lead vocalist Floor Jansen, bassist and vocalist Marco Hietala,... read more

Even though Nightwish is primarily a symphonic metal band, they have produced a significant number of songs that sound gothic or can be classified as gothic metal. To be honest, I'm a Goth and I will say that Nightwish is my number one favorite band.

I don't just listen to bands that are post-punk, gothic metal, gothic rock, symphonic gothic metal, and darkwave. I also enjoy symphonic metal, Victorian industrial, Celtic, and pagan metal. So, as I said, Nightwish is my top band. Gothic or not, I will always love their songs.

There is no contest between Nightwish and any other band. The songwriting is superb, and the musicians are very talented as well. The singing by any of the three lady singers is perfect. Also, live, they achieve the perfect sound to match the recorded music.

2 Epica Epica is a Dutch symphonic metal band, founded by guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen after his departure from After Forever.

I think Epica is one of the most advanced and complex bands in the gothic metal genre, both musically and lyrically. They tackle thought-provoking topics and widely challenge your imagination. They have put out fantastic songs.

Simone's vocals are at a skyscraper-high level, which cannot be matched by any other female vocalist in the gothic metal genre!

For me, it's the #1 by far. I like the other groups listed here (especially Nightwish with Tarja), but Epica surprised me from their first album to the latest.

3 Draconian

As with all music-based lists on this site, I dare congratulate Draconian with the fact that they are, in fact, the highest-rated gothic metal band on this list, thus are number one. The bands that are higher on this list are all influenced by the genre, but none of them are 100% a part of it, although they are popular in the gothic scene, at least where I come from.

Also, I am truly delighted to see two bands from my home country are above this band on this list. Go Netherlands!

They are truly the best gothic metal band. Their beauty and the beast vocal creates a dark feeling. The awesome keyboard creates a great atmosphere. Gothic metal means sorrow, pain, loss, and darkness. All these things are present in their music.

The only metal band that makes me cry. It is very sad that Lisa has left the band.

4 Tristania

Great band, especially their first albums! Vibeke's voice is just haunting and beautiful. They were one of the first gothic metal bands to stand out. Every time I listen to songs like The Ravens and My Lost Lenore, it just takes me to another world and creates a unique atmosphere.

Even though people who played important roles in the band, like Mortem and Vibeke, left, they still figured out ways to keep their spirit alive. I was impressed with Illumination, even though Mortem had already left. And the new singer is not a soprano, but she is doing a very good job. I loved Rubicon, and I can always feel their spirit. Tristania forever!

5 Type O Negative Type O Negative was an American gothic/doom metal band formed in Brooklyn, New York City in 1989. Their lyrical emphasis on themes of romance, depression, and death resulted in the nickname "The Drab Four".

Why the flip is this band not number one?

Just listen to Love You to Death or Black No. 1 and try not falling in love with this epic band. This band got me into goth/doom metal. It's so sad yet so energizing. Peter Steele is simply one of a kind. His voice is heavenly.

Every song of theirs is utterly unique and absolutely haunting. The guitar riffs, solos, drums, and vocals, everything about this band is next level.

There's humor, intelligence, creativity, and slamming chord progressions in their music. Their tempo changes and melodic interchanges, coupled with the growling, gut-wrenching vocals of Pete Steele, are unrivaled. They kick ass with tracks like Profits of Doom and then make you shiver with a track like Love You to Death (an intensely beautiful and powerful song).

I don't understand why they aren't in the top 10.

6 Within Temptation Within Temptation is a Dutch symphonic metal band founded in April 1996 by vocalist Sharon den Adel and guitarist Robert Westerholt.

Quite simply the best symphonic goth metal band out there. Nightwish is a close second, but a combination of the best use of dramatic overtures and Sharon's superb, dynamic, flexible, and perfectly toned voice creates a simply unbeatable combination.

Say My Name, Pale, The Truth Beneath the Rose, Memories... Nightwish sucks.

It is the best band ever. Love you, Sharon. You bear the voice of heaven.

7 Theatre of Tragedy

Theatre of Tragedy is, without any doubt, an essential part of the gothic metal stage, as much as Nightwish is. This being said, it's mandatory to mention that Theatre of Tragedy's first two albums are absolutely unique. This band is a genre in itself.

With lyrics that would make Shakespeare wish he worked for them and the exquisite use of "Beauty and the Beast" vocals over trademark instrumentation, their sound is one that will definitely warp your soul once you're ready for it.

Their first three albums are superb! Great band in general, aside from the electro-pop period. I can't believe bands like Nightwish, Epica, and After Forever are on this list! I love all those bands, but they are symphonic, not gothic. When will people stop calling every female-fronted band gothic?

8 Sirenia

I will be straight-up honest here about this. Sirenia is almost indescribable in words! There are very few bands out there that can both bring me to tears and at the same time make my hair stand on end. Sirenia is one of them. Furthermore, this band has saved my life on occasion, in times when I truly needed strength to endure this world's hardships. That is no lie!

Thank you, Sirenia. You shall forever be with me in my heart! May you reign forever!

Until now, I have never listened to a band that even comes close to Sirenia's songs. I've never heard such a song before.

I just wish they were on every radio station.

9 Lacuna Coil Lacuna Coil is an Italian metal band from Milan. Since their formation in 1994, the group has had two name changes, being previously known as Sleep of Right and Ethereal.

Christina is a more genuine rocker and not just some mindless babe in black. The band is truly one of the pioneers that I can't live without. Andre was always a great vocal growler, but he has really stepped it up and grown his vocals so well that he now has more of an upfront and often lead vocalization, for example, in the Delirium album.

Lacuna Coil is really awesome. Andrea and Cristina sound great together.

Just wow. I love the Dark Adrenaline album of theirs.

10 Evanescence Evanescence is an American alternative rock/alternative metal band. It was founded in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1995 by singer/pianist Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody.

Favorite band since I was a kid and still is. Never get tired of listening to them and never outgrew them like I did Within Temptation or Nightwish.

I voted for Evanescence because they actually are "gothic," considering they use the imagery. They are not Goth because they don't play goth rock, but that doesn't mean the members can't be. We don't know. All we know is the music. Evanescence has been there for me for a long time.

Evanescence should be number one. They have been in mainstream music with Bring Me To Life and My Immortal, and that is really good for a gothic band. They are original and are my favorite band. They inspired me and made me who I am today.

The Contenders
11 Paradise Lost Paradise Lost are a gothic metal band that formed in 1988 in Halifax, England and are considered by some to be one of the pioneers of the death/doom genre and of the gothic metal genre.

Still the best band in the world. Conquerors of all genres, even the not very good ones. Now they're back to their gloomy, growling best. The Plague Within is nothing short of a sensational return to their roots. For any other band to be considered above these gothic, doomy maestros is a travesty. Pioneers.

How the hell is symphonic tripe like Epica, Cradle of Filth, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, and Evanescence rated higher than the godfathers of gothic metal? Absolutely unacceptable. Draconian Times is a masterpiece of the genre.

12 Lacrimosa

Lacrimosa really stands out. The band has its own sound and character. It's one of the examples of (broadly) popular music that is very much close to real art.

Lacrimosa, their songs, dreams, taste, and their gothic music atmosphere are respectful, prideful, masterpieces, and the best in the world.

Artistic gothic music as a masterpiece that can never be described. No gothic bands could be compared with Lacrimosa.

13 Cradle of Filth Cradle of Filth are a British extreme metal band that formed in Suffolk in 1991. The band's musical style evolved from black metal to a cleaner and more "produced" amalgam of gothic metal, symphonic black metal and other extreme metal styles.

The best gothic metal band ever! If you've heard Hallowed Be Thy Name, Nymphetamine, or Her Ghost in the Fog, you'll know they are the best songs by Cradle of Filth. Amazing band, Cradle has a great voice, they are the best, and the guitar work is amazing!

Definitely one of the best gothic metal bands of all time. Beautiful, emotional, and powerful music. I would have chosen Seraph in Travail too, but alas, nobody knows they exist.

The first two COF albums epitomize the essence of blackened gothic metal. Cradle is significantly different from black metal, although they incorporate black metal elements. They are, by far, the most influential gothic metal band after Paradise Lost, Anathema, Type O Negative, and Tiamat.

14 After Forever

After Forever - great Gothic metal band with female vocals, probably the best in the whole metal scene. Oh, incomparable Floor Jansen! Especially beautiful in the first two albums - Prison of Desire and Decipher. And indeed, all art - gorgeous!

I only discovered this band recently. I love doom metal and classical/operatic music, and they combined the two! BRILLIANT!

15 Delain

Met them this year at a Within Temptation concert. But they were better! Went back for their own concert a few months later, it was absolutely great! Best band of this moment! So much energy playing great songs!

This band perfected symphonic gothic metal. It should be number one.

16 HIM HIM was a Finnish gothic rock band from Helsinki, Finland. Formed in 1991 by vocalist Ville Valo and bassist Mikko "Mige" Paananen under the name His Infernal Majesty, the band broke up in 1993, before being reformed in 1995 by Valo and guitarist Mikko "Linde" Lindström.

What's better than putting up a mix of '70s Sabbath vibe, '80s pop hooks, and the dark aesthetic of Type O Negative? All this and emphasizing love rather than hate, which is something that seems to get rarer and rarer in the world of rock and metal.

HIM was only gothic metal with their first album, Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666, which I believe is an extraordinary album, one of their best. They are now considered rock, though.

They're the best band. First, you have to understand their music. Then you'll love it.

17 My Dying Bride My Dying Bride are an English doom metal band formed in Bradford, England in 1990. To date, My Dying Bride have released twelve full-length studio albums, three EPs, one demo, one box set, four compilation albums, one live album, and one live CD/DVD release.

This is the best gothic metal band.

18 Moonspell Moonspell is a Portuguese gothic metal band. Formed in 1992, the group released their first EP Under the Moonspell in 1994, a year before the release of their first album Wolfheart.

I love many bands here, like Evanescence, Nightwish, and I adore Within Temptation, especially their first album, which is a pure mix of gothic and doom metal with symphonic metal. I also love Tiamat, but Moonspell simply feels the most gothic. Its origins in the late '80s/early '90s make it one of the oldest gothic metal bands in the world. They were never afraid of showing experimentalism and their roots and influences.

They appear quite frequently in top gothic bands/gothic albums lists, and not without reason. In fact, they are one of the darkest bands without even crossing into black metal territory, excluding Wolfheart and the Under the Moonspell EP for a moment.

19 The Sins of Thy Beloved

Watch their live show on YouTube. Some of the most beautiful music you will ever hear. Melodic and very atmospheric with droning low-frequency guitar and keyboard. Anita's performance is hypnotic. Sins of Thy Beloved deserves a much higher spot.

The Sins of Thy Beloved, early Theatre of Tragedy, early Tristania, early Sirenia - the best gothic metal bands EVER. We will no longer hear music as beautiful as what these bands produced.

Please listen to The Sins of Thy Beloved and think about beauty in the dark.

20 Tiamat

While Wildhoney, a masterpiece, is well known, there are lesser-known masterpieces too.

What? Tiamat at number 23? Such a great band deserves to be in the top 3. Listen to Wildhoney. It's a masterpiece.

21 Charon

Charon is a GREAT band few people listen to. If you like Paradise Lost and Lacuna Coil, you'll love them. They are really good. A true gothic metal band. They aren't posers like Evanescence, Epica, and Marilyn Manson.

Great skill, meaningful lyrics, and catchy melodies. Amazing band, great motivational music.

22 The Birthday Massacre The Birthday Massacre is a Canadian dark wave and synth rock band currently consisting of Chibi (vocals), Rainbow (guitar), Falcore (guitar), Owen (keyboard), Rhim (drums) and Nate Manor (bass), that formed in 1999 (even though the 2016 demo collection "Imagica" dates some tracks back at 1998). Originally... read more
23 Theatres des Vampires

ACTUAL gothic metal. Not your whiny Hot Topic crap (Evanescence and Nightwish, I'm looking at you).

24 Leaves' Eyes Leaves' Eyes is a German-Norwegian symphonic metal band from Stavanger, Norway and Ludwigsburg, Germany.

I cannot understand why this band hasn't appeared before! One of the best bands in the gothic panorama, much more authentic than Manson or Evanescence. Liv Kristine: the haunting voice from the early and greatest years of Theatre of Tragedy. Thumbs up for them, please!

25 Anathema

Without Anathema, Paradise Lost, and My Dying Bride, we wouldn't be here speaking about gothic metal. Listen to "The Silent Enigma," "Alternative 4," or "Eternity" albums. Great sounds and atmospheres!

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