Dig

With the mass-market success of grunge peaking in 1993, Los Angeles’ Dig fit right in, with distorted, aggressive guitar riffs, insidiously catchy melodies and rough-voiced singer Scott Hackwith. Fortunately, the quintet’s self-titled album, produced by Dave Jerden, isn’t some hastily thrown-together copycat shuck: the dozen tracks are uniformly well-written. Commercially, of course, Dig entered the…

This Picture

On A Violent Impression, This Picture, an English quartet from Bath, seems like just another U2 knockoff: an overeager band mistaking hyper-emotive delivery for true soul and feeling. While guitarist Robert Forrester and bassist Austen Rowley churn out anthemic, ultra-enthusiastic instrumentation, drummer Duncan Forrester (Robert’s brother) backs everything with the same kind of pulse-quickening energy…

Wake

The Wake does its best to modernize Bauhaus/Sisters of Mercy-style goth and, for the most part, succeeds. On Masked, the Columbus, Ohio quintet’s unique sound, simultaneously ambient and sinister, can mainly be attributed to guitarist Rich Witherspoon and keyboardist Robert Brothers. Carefully arranged and executed songs like “Sideshow,” “Silent Siren” and “Masked” best display their…

Peter Murphy

After Bauhaus, singer Peter Murphy joined Mick Karn (ex-Japan) and a no-name drummer to form Dalis Car, whose one album mixed Japan’s sensuous sound with Bauhaus’ obsequious lyrical constructs. As a mellifluous noise, The Waking Hour is fine, if a bit heavy on the bass; dig any deeper, however, and what you get is a…

Edith Grove

Wales-to-Los-Angeles transplant Michael Aston cited the usual “creative differences” when he quit the glammy, likable-but-mindless Gene Loves Jezebel in 1990, leaving fans to wonder what musical direction the singer would follow in his new project, a quartet called Edith Grove: back to his gothic roots? Maybe a move into less stylized territory? Nah, the slick,…

Rosetta Stone

Liverpool’s Rosetta Stone gained widespread popularity in the gothic scene with a highly melodic, danceable interpretation of gloom. Singer/guitarist Porl King, guitarist Porl Young, bassist Karl North and the trio’s drum machine maintain classic goth’s darkly mysterious and sensual qualities, but deliver the music with an unorthodox upbeat spirit. Adrenaline‘s ten tracks feature strong, memorable…

Big Electric Cat

Maybe Big Electric Cat’s thoroughly original interpretation of the gothic sound results from being based in Sydney, Australia, maybe not. In any case, the band’s surprisingly enthusiastic method is on spirited display in Dreams of a Mad King. Guitarist Paul Sadler’s emotional vocals alternate from a sensual purr to a menacing snarl, all the while…

Mephisto Walz

Barry Galvin (aka Bari-Bari; guitars, bass, keyboards), David Glass (drums) and Johann Schumann (bass) played in Christian Death in the first half of the ’80s (Glass even longer); in the following decade, enlisting a vocalist aptly named Christianna, they formed Mephisto Walz, a band that has little in common with their past gothic lives. The…

Hollyfaith

By the time Chameleon came out, Atlanta’s Hollyfaith was one of the most beloved acts on the Southern touring circuit, thanks to gritty, oversized guitar riffs, hyperactive rhythms and singer Rob Aldridge’s distinctive, J├Ągermeister-saturated growl. The quartet neatly binds these elements together with seemingly inexhaustible energy, swaggering melodies and a healthy dose of arrogance on…

Faith & the Muse

Elyria, Faith & the Muse’s contribution to the Southern California goth scene, proves it worthy of a more careful listen than most of the band’s black-shrouded peers. Founders Monica Richards (ex-Strange Boutique) and William Faith (who has played in such leading acts as Christian Death and Sex Gang Children) skillfully combine haunting romanticism with Celtic…

Das Ich

Das Ich plays hard, hard-hitting industrial music, with strictly German lyrics adding to the harsh, foreign atmosphere. The band’s bombastic, strident music is not some industrial-by-the-numbers exercise in Nine Inch Nails faux-miserabilism: Das Ich means every howl of anger and estrangement. Stefan Ackermann’s alien vocal stylings are the centerpiece of the unsettling Die Propheten, with…

Waterboys

Edinburgh-born singer/guitarist/pianist Mike Scott formed the Waterboys in London, singing bombastic folky rock derived in equal parts from U2, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. On The Waterboys (and its five-song American condensation, later supplanted by a belated issue of the entire LP), Scott, saxophonist Anthony Thistlethwaite, an organist and various rhythm players squeeze every ounce…

James Hall

As frontman for Mary My Hope, James Hall displayed the same mysterious, androgynous qualities as Bowie’s Thin White Duke. The Atlanta group had a good deal more angst and melancholia swirled into the mix, though — its EP wasn’t named Suicide Kings for nothing. Mary My Hope’s edgy, unbalanced style would later be unknowingly repeated,…

Viva Saturn

When California psyche-popsters Rain Parade came to an end, leader David Roback broke off to form Opal and then Mazzy Star; his bass-playing brother Steven (joined by bandmate John Thoman on guitar, future Continental Drifter drummer Carlo Nuccio and two others) reemerged as the guitar/keyboards-playing singer of Viva Saturn. The eponymous five-song 12-inch continues the…

Cradle of Thorns

Bakersfield, California’s Cradle of Thorns melds metal/hard rock with funk, goth, industrial, a little jazz and even a touch of opera to create a sound that, while not always pleasant, is at the very least intriguing. Feed-Us presents a young band that’s as musically ambitious and ambiguous as Jane’s Addiction once was. Countered by Tamera…

Uncle Green

Uncle Green was formed as a nondescript cover band by four New Jersey high school freshmen; after graduation, the friends relocated to Atlanta and began spewing out equally nondescript pop originals. Using airy harmonies and acoustic strums to spiff up their mild-mannered mainstream creations, Uncle Green breezed through three blandly inoffensive albums produced in turn…

Corpus Delicti

The touristy city of Nice on the sunny Riviera might seem an unlikely hometown for Corpus Delicti, France’s only goth band of international repute. Any doubts about Gallic suitability for that gloomy genre are quickly laid to rest by Twilight: Sebastian (vocals), Roma (drums/synths), Chrys (bass) and Frank (guitars) serve up by-the-book heaviness on all…

Gene Loves Jezebel

Formed in London in the early ’80s by Welsh identical twins Michael and Jay Aston, Gene Loves Jezebel flaunted a daring, alluring combination of new wave’s melodic energy and gothic rock’s dark sensuality. The band further differentiated itself from the pack with the brothers’ unconventional singing style (a bizarre mixture of yelps, screams, howls and…

Christian Death

Just as the theatrically minded LA punk scene was beginning to give rise to such morbidly themed outfits as 45 Grave and the Flesh Eaters, an androgynous teenaged street performer named Rozz Williams (né Roger Painter) founded Christian Death, one of the most prolific, enduring and beloved gothic acts of all time. Few groups have…

Nösferätu

England’s Nösferätu is, bar none, the most theatrical goth outfit ever assembled; the band is so devoted to its pretensions that it drives to gigs in a hearse. Unlike the members of Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, Christian Death and other genre giants, vocalist Louis DeWray, guitarist Damian Deville and bassist Vladimir Janicek are completely sincere;…