Invisible Guy recommends: 80s Gothic Rock – 1983-1984 (Part III)

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 III of the recommendation.

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

19. Breeding Ground – tempting and fine goth with new wave, from the outer realms. An obscure gem I found somewhere on the internet, actually a band that hails from the northern realms of the USA. What could that mean? Exactly! They’re from Toronto, Canada. Original line-up consisted of the lead singer John Shirreff, guitarists Chris Wardman and Hugh Gladish. The other members of this prominent band, from the original line-up were Jonathan Strayer on bass and the drummer whom was named Ken Jones. They sound a little bit like New Order, at least with the rhythmic they employed in their music. Since their first release in 1986, titled Tales Of Adventure, they’ve released another album titled Obscurity And Flair in 1989 and also released a couple of singles and EPs before that. What I didn’t mention was that they also released a compilation of their songs, titled Revisited, in 1994. However, this is not the reason why I’m writing about this, I have the reason in the next sentence. I’ve chosen their single titled Reunion (1983, Fringe Product) and the song with the same name on that particular single. I chose it because I like the lo-fi vibe of it and the more toned down elements, when they blend together with new wave. Even though it might not be my absolute favorite, it’s absolutely one of those songs and singles you should have, or at least should have listened to.

18. Skeletal Family – A little less unknown death-rock/goth from the UK. One of the more recognized acts in this list, they’ve released a lot of good stuff throughout the years before they disbanded. The original line-up of this band were Roger “Trotwood” Nowell on bass, Martin Henderson on drums, Stan Greenwood on guitar and finally, Ann-Marie Hurst on vocals. Some of these guys have been in a lot of different bands through the years, some notable like The Batfish Boys, The Mekons and some more less notable like The Elements and The Quireboys. They’re all from a good musical background, even though some have less experience than others. But they’ve managed to release some awesome stuff, as I said in the beginning. It started off with the notable album Burning Oil, which was released in 1984. Followed by Recollect which was released in the same year and continuing on their path with my favorite album Futile Combat, released in 1985. After that, they didn’t produce as good stuff as they had been doing for the past years. I don’t know why, but Ghosts and Sakura don’t really tingle my senses if you get what I mean. However, I’m here to talk to you about their single The Night (1983, Red Rhino Records) which has two great songs featured on it. Since I’m so bold, I decided to choose the song with the same name: The Night. Why do I like it? Good up-tempo song with goth-harmonies and great rhythm, also matching the interesting touch of death-rock, but only with a pinch of it. Great atmosphere which leaves much to the imagination and it projects so many good pictures in my head, as my brain starts working and goes on overload. This is something you should hear and have listened to if you’re a true goth-lover.

17. Dance Macabre – feisty, psychedelic and obscure goth from the Netherlands. It’s almost like they’ve had some influences from no-wave rather than new wave, but the quirky elements from that genre is in the mix. Somewhat eccentric, somewhat weird and a little bit atmospheric with the goth. Consisting of the bassplayer Vincent, Lex on drums, Gerard on guitar and Astrid on vocals. Since there’s not much else to say about them, I have to comment on their only release that I’ve chosen. It’s got some wonderfully weird songs that transgress the different sub-genres of both new wave and goth, they’ve also incorporated some less audible instruments into it. A pretty unorthodox method, as Gerard doesn’t play on a normal guitar, but a “Hondo li” and the shallowness of Astrids singing doesn’t really reflect the gothic environment as a whole. I’m more used to insane screams, melancholic babbling or just plain and simple straight-forward goth. It’s pretty fun to listen to, even though it might not be as easy and listenable as standard goth. But, then again, goth was pretty hard to get into all-in-all so I vote in favor of recommending this album and the particular song I’ve chosen to represent it. So, I chose their self-titled Dance Macabre album (1983, V.D. Records). I picked the song Memories from that album. As I’ve said before, I picked it because of the wonderful no-wave touch of it and how the atmosphere is somewhat goth enough to be appreciated. Even though it took a while to get into it, I enjoyed every last minute of it as I’ve listened to it too much lately. You should listen to it, since I’ve made up my mind. I sincerely hope you get into this song, because once you do, there’s nothing stopping you.

16. Party Day – hard knuckleduster goth with post-punk overtones. This band is actually a little bit more punk than the other ones, which would qualify it as death-rock in one way or another. But I won’t use that label too often to label it, since it’s much more than that. There’s much more attitude in this music than in the previous that I’ve listened, it’s not too atmospheric more than the carefully reverberated vocals and bouncy flanged riffs. Since the UK seem to pump out great Gothic, I’m afraid I have to say that these guys are from the UK too. I saw that there were four members of the band, but I can only find three listed. So here it goes: Carl Firth on bass and vocals, Michael Baker on drums and Martin Steele on guitar. They managed to release two great albums in less than a year apart from each, starting off with their debut-album Glasshouse which premiered in 1985. Their second album, and equally as good, was titled Simplicity and released in 1986. So, they’ve released two albums but they’ve also released three singles. And I decided to choose one of these great singles, and I ended up with choosing one called Row the Boat Ashore (1983, Party Day Records). I also picked the song with the same name as the first track on the single: Row the Boat Ashore. Even though their name is pretty cheesy, I must say that their music is very melancholic at heart but with a drop of venomous punk inside. I chose that song because I wanted a different approach to goth, which this might not have been, even though I think of it in that manner. Considering the past bands, I believe that my choice was justified. I like the basic but intriguing riffs, drums and baseline. Plowing through the whole song in virtually the same speed, combining that with the effort of the great singer and the atmosphere he creates with his voice in contrast with the instruments. A catalyst to a great sound and equally great song. You must hear this, you batcaver!

15. Rhythm & Faith – reminding of Siouxsie and the Banshees, in a good way, but with another kind of sound. They’re from the UK, of course and this is one of those bands I really know nothing about and they only released one EP. In many ways, their sound remind me of the earlier days of Siouxsie and the Banshees, but with an added touch of vitality. Like they were in the beginning of their career, or at least when they switched from the more punky sound to the more goth-sound. However, this band decides to add an overtly nice and viciously dreamy atmosphere to the mix which complements the Siouxsie-sounding singer greatly. It almost takes me into another dimension, to a better place, where I just sit on my butt and play this vinyl all day long. Oh, what I would give to have this is my record-collection, it’s certainly a must for everyone out there that liked how they sounded from the beginning. There’s also some naivety to the sound, which limits it but also heightens the different melodic passages and the sensual voice of the singer. So, I chose their only EP which was titled Time To Run EP (1983, Future Records). And I chose the song: When The Wind Blows Love Will Die. I like this song because of everything I’ve written, I also like it more than the other songs since it employs everything that was good about the sound. Even though they only had four songs on it, this one is by far the most emotional and the most sincere one they put out there. But do not fear, the other songs are great as well. If you find it, mail me.

BONUS Nr. 1: The Second Coming – sweet goth and punk in a galloping horde. Another one of those bands from the UK. The reason why I didn’t find as many bands from 1984 this time and that this comes as a bonus, was because there were so many great bands from 1983 and very few great bands that aren’t already well-known from 1984. So, miraculously, I found these among a load of crap. The band consisted of the members Dean Peckett on vocals/bass, Brian Bettney on guitar and Dean Ormston on drums. As many bands before them and after them, they had a huge potential but had only two releases. One was a single and the other one was an EP titled The Return E.P. and was released in 1985. So they could receive the title of obscurity, and I think it’s well-deserved even though I hoped that they would’ve reached some kind of stardom. But nuh-uh, other things were important in that day and age and they never managed to gain any steam that I know of at least. So, this great piece of music deserves to be shown for all of you out there. I chose their first and only single titled Incest (1984, Torment Records) and I chose the song with the same title to represent the single: Incest. It’s one of those rough gems that you’d wish you’d find in a random vinyl-bucket. It’s got that rough texture to it, the insane lyrics and the interesting structures and build-up which create a great landscape of sound that pierce through your delicate eardrums. This is music you should suffer to, this is music you should adore. And I mean suffering in the fictive manner and not the real one. It’s music that puts an end to all those bad emotions and just lets them out from your body and your mind. Great single and song nevertheless, and something you should put in your iPod when you’re out walking. Especially since it’s autumn now, boo!

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

I’ll be publishing Part IV on whenever I have time.

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