The Best Gothic Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2018





While this is not necessarily a big step in any previously unexplored direction, A Forest Of Stars have gotten less and less black metal as years went by. On Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes, the band's Victorian-era themes are interpreted in both a cinematic and a theatrical way. The latter is quite obvious from the Arcturus-esque ramblings of Mister Curse coupled with the melodramatic and gothic mix of violins and Katheryne's vocals; the former is due to how fresh the album sounds. This feels more like the soundtrack to a film rather than the performance of a play, likely due to the polished production and the fact that the symphonic and post-rock elements outweigh the more metal ones.

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify

›› Full review...
It took Fading Bliss five long years to come up with the follow-up to From Illusion To Despair, but it was well worth the wait. The band recreates the atmosphere of the beloved gothic/doom metal of the '90s with all ingredients present in abundance: heartbreaking guitar melodies, slow and crushing riffs, depressing keyboards, tormented growls and ethereal female vocals. Four long tracks wallowing in melancholy and one of them is a very interesting cover of The Cure's "A Forest".

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify / YouTube
Sorrow as vast as the ocean... This is the sound of On Thorns I Lay. The world turns as one tectonic plate of death-doom while soul-piercing guitar leads shape mournful courses of melody across the skies above. Delicate acoustic guitars and clean vocals, sometimes whispered, blend beautifully into the enchanting dirge - not shattered by the sudden tides of distortion and full doom metal attire, but complemented, as every note of this album shares the same somber intensity. Aegean Sorrow treads familiar waters for those fans of the heavier side of the gothic metal genre, but this album - and, indeed, this band - possesses that breadth of emotion that makes music felt, not merely heard.

Google Play Music / Spotify / YouTube

›› Full review...
Sure, you can be moody and up-tempo at the same time; all it means is that you have more in common with old-fashioned goth rock, post-punk, and even an older breed of gothic metal than with the downtrodden doom and frilly symphonic styles that it seems have come to dominate gothic metal. As long as you've got soothing baritone vocals, you can do whatever you want. And Son Of Sorrow deals in heavy low-end stomping and slow dirges often enough to earn that modern gothic metal street cred, too, complete with weeping string synths and everything. This Spanish group makes its debut with Rulers Of A Dying World, an album that sounds sorrowful beyond its year(s).

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify / YouTube
From their origins of pure death metal and then a black/death extravaganza, Swedish Tribulation have always been hungry for more ingredients to put in their filthy brew. While the previous album already boasted clear gothic influences, it is with Down Below that those influences truly shine like stars in the cosmos, in a sound that is bouncy, upbeat, even seductive at times. Few bands can create such a delightfully dark party, and both the living and the dead are invited!

Google Play Music / Spotify / YouTube #1, #2, #3

›› Full review...