The Best Gothic Metal Bands

Over 3.6K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Gothic Metal Bands
Voting Rules
Gothic metal bands and artists only.

Originating in the UK, gothic metal rose to prominence in the 1990s. The best gothic bands seamlessly blend doom metal and gothic rock (or even a fusion of doom and death metal) to create a heavy sound that's one of the darkest brands of metal. Groups that are considered gothic metal bands have lyrics that are dark and introspective and generally draw from progressive gothic fiction as well. As for the music, the best gothic metal bands use heavy, loud guitars and synths to create a sound that is distinctive from other heavy metal subgenres.

So, what are the best gothic metals bands? You can't have a list of gothic metal artists without the names Type O Negative, Nightwish, Paradise Lose, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil and After Forever. These bands are the ones that many fans associate as gothic, so they have to be at or near the top of the list. The best gothic metal bands have rabid fanbases, so if you like any of these groups, you should jump in and have your voice heard.

That said, it's up to you to determine which gothic metal groups are the best. This list answers the questions "who are the best gothic metal bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest gothic metal musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the bands' music (albums and songs) instead of just voting for the most popular, famous, or newer gothic metal musicians that you might've heard of.

Most divisive: Rammstein
Ranked by
  • Type O Negative
    1,393 votes

    Type O Negative, often hailed as the "Drab Four," has left an indelible mark on the gothic metal scene with their unique blend of doom-laden riffs, atmospheric keyboard work, and unmistakable baritone vocals from the late Peter Steele. Their breakthrough album, 1993's Bloody Kisses, showcased their exceptional songwriting skills and dark sense of humor – a formula that would secure them a dedicated fan base spanning decades. With tracks such as "Christian Woman" and "Black No. 1," Type O Negative carved a niche for themselves within the genre, leaving a lasting legacy as one of the most influential gothic metal bands.

  • Paradise Lost
    781 votes

    Paradise Lost's signature blend of crushing doom metal riffs and dark atmospheres has earned them recognition as one of the pioneers of the gothic metal genre. Since forming in the late 1980s in England, they have released numerous groundbreaking albums that have continued to push boundaries and defy categorization. Their seminal 1995 release, Draconian Times, features unforgettable tracks such as "Hallowed Land" and "The Last Time," which demonstrate the band's knack for combining haunting melodies with powerful, emotive lyrics.

  • As one of the first bands to showcase a female operatic lead vocalist alongside guttural male growls, Theatre of Tragedy changed the landscape of gothic metal forever. The Norwegian ensemble's early works like Aegis and Velvet Darkness They Fear feature striking contrasts between ethereal female vocals and raw, aggressive instrumentation that would become mainstays in the genre for years to come. Songs like "Der Tanz der Schatten" exemplify the band's ability to create spellbinding atmospheres while maintaining a deeply melancholic and evocative tone.

  • Tiamat
    529 votes

    Emerging from Sweden's burgeoning death metal scene in the early 1990s, Tiamat quickly established themselves as a cornerstone of the nascent gothic metal genre with their bold experimentation and evocative songwriting. The 1994 opus Wildhoney delivered a striking blend of dark atmosphere, ethereal synths, and powerful, melodic riffs that showcased the band's immense creativity. Standout tracks such as "Gaia" and "The Ar" solidified Tiamat's reputation as innovators within the gothic metal sphere and cemented their status as genre heavyweights.

  • Lacuna Coil
    673 votes

    Hailing from Italy, Lacuna Coil has gained international recognition for their dynamic mix of melodic hooks, powerful riffs, and engaging dual-vocal dynamics between frontwoman Cristina Scabbia and co-vocalist Andrea Ferro. The band's blend of hard rock and gothic metal has earned them a devoted following, with albums like Comalies and Karmacode showcasing their distinctive sound. Their evocative live performances have further solidified Lacuna Coil's place among the best gothic metal bands, wowing audiences with powerful renditions of songs like "Heaven's a Lie" and "Our Truth."

  • Moonspell
    587 votes

    Portuguese outfit Moonspell have captivated fans since their formation in the early '90s with their unique fusion of gothic metal, black metal, and darkwave influences. Frontman Fernando Ribeiro's hauntingly evocative vocal performances are perfectly complemented by atmospheric keyboards and somber guitar work on fan-favorite albums like Irreligious and Darkness & Hope. Tracks such as "Opium" and "Full Moon Madness" embody the band's ability to interweave neo-classical elements with a deeply brooding darkness, solidifying Moonspell's status as an essential part of the gothic metal canon.