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Monday, January 4, 2010

Gothic Black Metal

The Portuguese band Moonspell debuted in 1994 with Under the Moonspell, "one of the more worthy black metal releases of the early '90s". The music on this EP was "atmospheric with folk and Middle Eastern influences", drawing inspiration from Dead Can Dance through the use of guest musicians on the flute, violin, timpani, gongs and Arabic vocals. On the strength of this EP, the band became "the frontrunners" in the Portuguese metal scene and were offered a recording deal by the "major German independent label Century Media Records". It was through this label that they released their first full length album Wolfheart in 1995, making a transition into gothic metal[citation needed] by "incorporating the genre's trademark elements" of "morbid lyrical schemes, dreary and melancholy riffs, ambient keyboards" and "demonic chorales". While the music of Moonspell has "always flirted between Metal music and Darkwave and Gothic", the inspiration for this first album was still black metal groups like Celtic Frost and Bathory. Their next album Irreligious in 1996 was inspired instead by the goth pioneers Type O Negative, a group that they soon toured with.[113] Other influences that Moonspell has recognized include the goth rock acts Mission U.K., the Sisters of Mercy and "especially" Fields of the Nephilim. Wolfheart had "caused a minor sensation on the European underground with its epic metallic hymns" while Irreligious had "reinforced their position as heralds of the Gothic metal movement". By the time of their fourth album Butterfly Effect in 1999, Moonspell had "quickly evolved into one of the major players of the European goth-metal scene". In the process however, the band has strayed from their black metal roots.
The English outfit Cradle of Filth has combined black metal's "distinctive angry guitars and tortured vocals" with "strong, although sometimes cliched, Gothic imagery, ever since their 1994 debut album The Principle of Evil Made Flesh".[16] While other groups "tried to use goth flourishes in their music", Cradle of Filth made "goth conform to heavy metal, not the other way around". The "blatant goth influence" came in the form of "lengthy keyboard intros, intermittent operatic female vocals, and Dani Filth's black 'n' blood take on romantic poetry". They also added "a Sisters of Mercy style of melody to the singing". The debut album received a mixed reception but nonetheless "made waves in the early black metal scene, putting Cradle of Filth on the tips of metalheads' tongues, whether in praise of the band's brazen attempts to break the black metal mold, or in derision for its 'commercialization' of an underground phenomenon that was proud of its grimy heritage". The band then went through some changes in their line-up as members departed the group to form another gothic metal act The Blood Divine with former Anathema vocalist Darren White. Cradle of Filth's second album Dusk... and Her Embrace arrived in 1996 as a "gothic epic of bloodcurdling proporptions" and the group subsequently "enjoyed a streak of notoriety through the late '90s into the turn of the century that would be hard for a music fan to miss".

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