8 gothic rock bands that made a big impact in the 80s


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Recently we published the article “10 Bands That Helped Shape The Gothic Rock Movement” which you can read here. Now, we’re going to start digging a little deeper and take a look at other bands that started, continued, and helped evolve goth rock in the 1980s.


The Lords of the New Church

By the late ’70s and early’ 80s, punk seemed to be reaching its peak, when it comes to the growth of the genre around this time. Several artists and groups from the punk scene have switched to a more gothic rock sound. Former Dead Boys singer Stiv Bators took to goth-rock with The Lords Of The New Church. The group was sort of a supergroup with Bators, Brian James (The Damned), Nick Turner (Barracudas) and Dave Tregunna (Sham 69). The Lords Of The New Church strongly embraced the American Gothic style. The group mostly dressed head-to-toe in black leather, and the Bators often wore black makeup around their eyes and black lipstick. The group recorded three studio albums “The Lords Of The New Church”, “Is Nothing Sacred” and “Method To Our Madness” before breaking up in 1989. Tragically, in 1990, Stiv Bators was hit by a taxi in Paris France and died of a head trauma.


the damned

8 gothic rock bands that made a big impact in the 80s Launched as a punk band in London, England in 1976, The Damned moved on to a more gothic look and sound in the ’80s and continues to be a punk / goth hybrid to this day. The band’s original lineup included vocalist Dave Vanian (who wore white makeup to look like a vampire), guitarist Brian James, drummer Rat Scabies, and bassist Captain Sensible. The band has gone through several line-up changes over the years and have released 11 studio albums Damned Damned Damned (1977), Music for Pleasure (1977), Machine Gun Etiquette (1979), The Black Album (1980), Strawberries ( 1982), Phantasmagoria (1985), Anything (1986), Not of This Earth (1995), Grave Disorder (2001), So, who is paranoid? (2008), and evil spirits (2018). While the group is best known for their early singles “Smash it Up” and “New Rose”, they have a passion for goth all over the world.


Xmal Germany

Formed in Germany in 1980, the original line-up was all-female, which set them apart from many other Gothic groups at the time. While the group only released four full albums including Fetisch (1983), Tocsin (1984), Viva (1987) and Devils (1989), they still made a lasting impression on the stage. They scored three singles on their debut album in the UK independent charts, which is an incredible feat considering the band performed the songs entirely in German. Although the band attempted a change in musical direction towards a pop sound, in the end, they are mostly known for the dark gothic rock sound they have created over the years. The group ended in 1990.


Xymox Clan

With Ronny Moorings, Anka Wolbert and Pieter Nooten, Clan Of Xymox, (also known as Xymox) started in 1981, the group incorporated electronics into their overall sound. The group has been cited as a huge influence on several successive electronic gothic groups. They are often referred to as the first Darkwave group. While they would change their sound later, they reverted to a more electro-goth sound. The band are known to create dark, often tragically romantic sounds, ranging from heavy and somber to light and ethereal. The group has a long discography which includes the following 16 studio albums: Clan of Xymox (1985), Medusa (1986), Twist of Shadows (1989), Phoenix (1991), Metamorphosis (1992), Headclouds (1993), Hidden Faces (1997), Creatures (2006), Notes from the Underground, (2001), Farewell (2003), Breaking Point (2006), In Love We Trust, (2009), Darkest Hour, (2011), Kindred Spirits, (2012 ), Matters of Mind, Body & Soul, (2014) and Days of Black, (2017).


Fields of the Nephilim

8 gothic rock bands that made a big impact in the 80s Launched in 1984, Fields Of The Nephilim created a new and unique approach with a look that crossed the old west, albeit a darker demonic look with traditional Gothic elements. The result made them quite interesting and quickly won them a devoted following. Reminiscent of the possessed spaghetti western cowboys, the group which originally included vocalist Carl McCoy, Tony Pettitt on bass, Paul Wright and Peter Yates on guitars, Gary Wisker on saxophone and ‘Nod’ Alexander Wright on drums take their name. of the Old Testament from Hebrew. text which means a race of giants called the Nephilim who were a hybrid cross between angels and humans or perhaps “fallen angels”. The band released their debut EP, Burning The Fields in 1985 and followed it quickly with their debut full album Dawnrazor in which they landed at # 1 on the UK independent charts while the band continued to feature in the UK charts. they never really managed to get Dawnrazor’s success. The group released the following studio albums: Dawnrazor (1987), The Nephilim (1988), Elizium (1990), Fallen (2002) and Mourning Sun (2005).


Southern Death Cult

Formed in 1981, The Southern Death Cult included Ian Astbury on vocals, Barry Jepson on bass, David “Buzz” Burrows on guitar, and Haq Nawaz “Aky” Qureshi on drums. The group released the double single “Moya / Fatman” side “A” which rose to number one in the UK independent charts. However, the band was short lived and Astbury disbanded the band in 1983. The band made an eponymous album which was released after the band split up. Ian Astbury would later join guitarist Billy Duffy to create “The Cult”. The Cult still had gothic overtones with the release of their first two albums “Dreamtime” and “Love”, but later moved in a more traditional hard rock direction.


The dead can dance

While Dead Can Dance often rejected the term “Goth”, this is exactly how their initial sound was described. Formed in Australia in 1981, the group would later move to England. The group mixed unique traditional elements to form something different. Airy and dark, the music covered a vast territory while maintaining a sound unique to the group. While some people see their first two albums as gothic, the band has rejected most labels on their sound and tends to create music that crosses many genres, styles, and feelings. They have released nine studio albums to date: Dead Can Dance (1984), Spleen and Ideal (1985), Within the Realm of a Dying Sun (1987), The Serpent’s Egg (1988), Aion (1990), Into the Labyrinth (1993), Spiritchaser (1996)
Anastasis (2012), Dionysos (2018).


Alien sex demon

In 1982, the group Alien Sex Fiend was born. Trained by Nik Wade (Nik Fiend), Christine Wade (Ms. Fiend), David James (Yaxi Highrizer) and Johnny Freshwater (Johnny Ha-Ha). Their first single, “Ignore the Machine” went to No.6 on the UK Indie Chart. They released their debut album “Who’s Been Sleeping in My Brain” in 1983 with critical acclaim. Alien Sex Fiend was renowned for its more electro-goth orientation which included the use of samples and loops to create a unique sound combined with a unique voice. The group has released studio albums to date: Who’s Been Sleeping in My Brain (1983), Acid Bath (1984), Maximum Security (1985), “It” the Album (1986), Here Cum Germs (1987), Another Planet (1988), Curse (1990), Open Head Surgery (1992), Inferno (1994), Nocturnal Emissions (1997), Information Overload (2004), Death Trip (2010) and Possessed (2018). Their 1989 single “Haunted House” has become an underground favorite in the club scene.


Stay tuned for our third installment in this series which takes a look at the evolution of Gothic music in the 90s and 2000s.

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