Invisible Guy recommends: 80s Gothic Rock – 1980-1981 (Part I)

I think it’s time to give you another treat, this time I’ll be recommending my favorite Gothic rock bands from the 80s. I begin with 1980-1981 (Part I) and then gradually move my way up throughout the years: 1982 (Part II), 1983-1984 (Part III), 1985 (Part IV), 1986-1987 (Part V) and 1988-1989 (Part VI). I’ll be continuing the fad of six different episodes and I’ll bid you my welcome into the world I knew and the world I’ve discovered and continually re-discover when I’m surfing the web. I want to give people another opportunity and to find out about bands and artists that they haven’t heard of before. Sometimes I occasionally sneak in a bigger band or two, but that’ll just be if the song is good enough. But by no means is this a top 30 of the best Gothic rock from the 80s, I’ll have to give you a top-10 list in the future of the Gothic bands that I think top my own list. I’ll also have some commentary beneath each clip as I had in the earlier parts that covered post-punk, mostly because it looks more aesthetically pleasuring and say something about the song or the lyrics. Let me take you into this world now.

You’re now entering Part I of the recommendation.

If you wish to continue, click on the Continue reading button.

Die neue zeit!

30. Maerchenbraut – synth-pop and goth can mix. A more orchestral and synth-poppy way into the heart of goths. I like gothic in German and especially early Gothic like this, but unfortunately they only released a mainstream-sounding but yet somewhat obscure goth-gem blended with synth-pop. Not really a mix I’d be too keen on, but damn, it’s really catchy. So I don’t really have any idea of who these people were or what they’re doing now, but what I do know is that they’re one of those (probably obscure) bands that only release one record and nothing else. I know that I’ve said this a couple of times already, but this is a non-stop feature from both the post-punk and the Gothic world of the 80s. They actually self-released this one, which would be a harder thing to gain momentum with in the 80s than it would be now. But now they’re getting the recognition they deserve. So I chose their one and only single, Träume Der Vergangenheit (1980, Not On Label) and the song with the same name: Träume Der Vergangenheit. I picked this song because I really like the obscure blend of goth and synth-pop, like who’d ever think of doing such an awfully sounding blend? But it actually worked. Also, I think the German language is perfectly suited for these Gothic adventures. I didn’t really like the start, but damn, the singer and the sound scape is absolutely fantastic when the chorus kicks in. A melancholic sound scape with the essential depressing synth-pop and choirs. Effin’ great.

A night for celebration, a night to unwind!

29. UK Decay – bass-driven and legendary gothic derived from punk. Well, these guys are so classic that they don’t even need a description, you’ll have to find it out for yourself. They started out under the name The Resistors but re-named themselves shortly, to UK Decay which is a more fitting name. Their earlier records were definitely more punk, but their later records were more Gothic-sounding. Even though they’ve managed to keep their punk-repertoire intact and also did many things to enhance it. They’re the ultimate combo and balance-act in between the Gothic and the punk. I picked one of their earlier singles which is called For My Country / Unwind (1980, Fresh Records). It’s always exciting to choose songs from their albums and singles, it’s also very hard to single stuff out. But I was saved by the year and the fact that it’s one of my favorite singles. I actually thing that their singles are better than their albums, even though they’re great to. I decided to choose the song Unwind from that single. I like it because it’s an eternal whirlwind of punkiness (the intro), until it stops and sheds a more Gothic-sounding riff whilst synthesizers lurk in the background trying to get their sound into the sound scape. Also, the delayed riffs are interesting, but the short and stiff ones when the singer enters the picture make it even better.

Never again will it be the same, as we grow older.

28. Drowning Craze – subtle goth with new-wave and post-punk undertones. This time, I actually know who’s behind the band. Or yeah, I know that about UK Decay also, but that’s mandatory knowledge about punk and goth which you should educate yourself about. Anyway, this band was made up of Angela Jaeger, Frank Nardiello, Paul Cummins, Simon Godfrey and Simon Raymonde. It was actually started as a way for Angela Jaeger to put out some great music but became something else. Therefore it didn’t get as much recognition as it deserved, because people were more flabbergasted about the awesome stuff they moved on to create. For example, Angela Jaeger went on to sing for The Monochrome Set and Bush Tetras (two great bands), among other bands. The bassist in this band, Simon Raymonde, went on to play an important role in the awesome band The Cocteau Twins. Or yeah, I lied about them getting recognition, however: I was right on the part that only one of their singles got it. That single featured Groovie Mann (Frank Nardiello) on vocals, since Angela already had left the building by their first release. So I picked their first release because it’s pretty darn awesome. It’s called: Trance/I Love The Fjords (1981, Situation Two). I chose the song I Love The Fjord. Mostly because of the amazing intro, with pending synthesizers and a pretty monotonous but heavily distorted bass. But then, when the intro is over, the heaviness fades for a moment. Just to escalate into a waltz into the Gothic realms, featuring awesome shrieked (but lisping) vocals. Somehow Frank manages to be one with the sound scape, but at the same time he sounds out of phase with it. Almost becoming painfully humorous, a voice on the edge.

- Do they scream? - No, they Silently Scream!

27. Silent Scream – melancholic goth with some shoe gaze features. This will actually be something I haven’t done before, but that’s just because this band is awesome. I will recommend the whole demo since it was in one clip and I found nothing else. Or, yeah, I’m kidding again. It’s actually that great altogether that I want to recommend the whole of it. The band released one single and one demo, they were made up of Gary Bower, Dean Ormston, Liam Stewart, David Horne and Anton. The one I picked is simply titled Demo (1981, Not On Label) and is D.I.Y. by the guys, which means that it’s self-released. I picked all three of their songs on that particular cassette, namely: The Maze, Drown and Join Together. Because each of the songs display a different dimension of the specific sound that Silent Scream had, they could’ve gone further if someone actually decided to have some guts. But as we know in this world, this didn’t happen, which left three perfectly great songs to rot as a demo. Somehow it’s sound is really good being a demo, and it’s actually very complex all-in-all. Lots of great riffing, drumming and I like the vocalist in particular since his voice fits the premise very good. The drumming can be basic at times, but can also be somewhat unconventional.

And there will be an end of us, when I tell you it was all lies!

26. Theatre Of Hate – almost theatrical goth, with alt-rock influences. Good old Theatre Of Hate, a legend amongst the titans of goth. Actually one of those you should educate yourself on, their sound was very unique and in my point of view made the theatrical side of goth even better. It almost sounds as if you’re watching a play in your brain, as the singer sounds like he’s playing a role and the body of it is the music. Almost every song had a historical theme to it or a critical one at that. The single I’ve chosen is actually when they first decided that it would be good to transgress with gothic into alternative rock also, adding another interesting layer to the music itself and also generating a lot of more interesting compositions even though the most early music was good too. The single is Nero / Incinerator (1981, Burning Rome Records). I picked the song Nero at first, but then I switched to Incinerator since I thought it was the most interesting of the two songs. Let me tell you, this is one of the most inspiring songs and it’s also one of those songs that have a crazy saxophone in it. It’s noticeable in the later records too, but I think this embodies the sound of what they used to be and also were in a long period of time. It’s one you’ll need to know and need to hear.

Psychedelic rock and goth, now it finally makes sense!

25. Dead Or Alive – psychedelic rock blended with goth. I get it, you want more obscure stuff so you can tell your friends how cool you are. Not going to happen on this watch though, it’s another one of those big bands that actually made it very far. Ok, I might be joking now again, but they actually have gotten a career. Anyway, I like this band very much and I will tell you why in a moment. I chose their single Number Eleven (1981, Inevitable Music) and the song with the same name: Number Eleven. It’s actually one of those earlier goth-songs that are really well-produced but not over-produced and doesn’t sound like shit. I also like how the singer blends different vocal-styles and how the music follows his leash like it should. It also blends in another element that’s rarely seen in these situations, if ever. They actually went on and blended in their form of psychedelic rock into it, which makes the sound even more unique as they add the 70’s-styled synthesizer that’s psyched as hell. Great record, nevertheless.

Hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two, but also enjoyed these tips! This is the end of Part I.

I’ll be publishing Part II on Wednesday or Thursday!

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