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top10 2019 guitardarkA lot of young interesting Post Punk bands have appeared in the guitar dark scene in the year 2019. Their music more and more often take high places in the top lists (in fact, not only mine) and regularly get on the list of best debuts. The Gothic Rock part also does not stay behind: bands, that have already broken through in the scene, do not allow young artists to relax and new projects raise the level higher and higher. In the field of the Neue Deutsche Härte everything looks worse. In the genre as a whole there is a tendency to move towards regular Hard Rock with Heavy Metal in German using rare electronic samples. Albums in the classic sound of NDH appear less and less, but it’s worth saying, that interesting works in that genre still exist.

Covered genres: Gothic Rock, Post Punk, Deathrock, Darkwave, Gothic Metal, Gothabilly, Cyber Metal, Neue Deutsche Härte, Electro Metal, Folk Metal, Dark Cabaret

10. Mantus - ‘Katharsis & Pagan Folk Songs’ (Gothic Metal | Trisol, Germany)

The German project MANTUS was formed in 1997 and became one of the typical and recognizable Gothic Metal projects of the dark scene. It is worth saying that one of a few, because Gothic Metal emerging from Symphonic Metal and Doom Metal is now a more popular direction than Gothic Metal, which takes its roots in Darkwave. MANTUS has been keeping the mark for many years, although with its ups and downs. In 2012 female voice of MANTUS Talia left the project and Chiara replaced her, which, of course, influenced certain sound sections and atmosphere. However, it did not get worse. Chiara has a good voice and Martin can still compose good music. However, previous albums are not as memorable as ‘Katharsis’. The new work consists of two parts: ‘Katharsis’ and ‘Pagan Folk Songs’. On the first disc, MANTUS created excellent Gothic Metal with a touch of Electronics, German-language lyrics and pleasant melodies that you want to listen to. Male vocals prevail, but Chiara comes on time and fits perfectly into the sound. On the second disc, called ‘Pagan Folk Songs’, Martin decided to go into a completely different area of the dark scene giving essentially a separate album of Medieval Folk music in a very good interpretation. And in the process of compiling the tops for 2019 there was an idea to add a second disc to the top 10 list of the chamber part.

09. Shadow Assembly - ‘Ghostcrawl’ (Gothic Rock | Self-Released, USA)

The SHADOW ASSEMBLY project was created in summer 2019 in Nashville in the US state of Tennessee by Brandan, known for his work in SONSOMBRE, and Michael of CHRONIC TWILIGHT. Full-length debut album is called ‘Ghostcrawl’. SONSOMBRE has been rattling on the Gothic scene for three years, so Brandan’s new work is no less interesting than his main project. The debut work of SHADOW ASSEMBLY turned out to be darker and more Halloween styled than SONSOMBRE. Gothic Rock with male vocals flavoured with the slight influence of Batcave and Death Rock. This is how you can briefly describe the sound of the debut album. Night, moon, cemetery, bats, howling wolves, werewolves and vampires. Classics of the genre. Great debut.

08. Sonsombre - ‘The Veils of Ending’ (Gothic Rock | Post Gothic, USA)

The appearance of the album of the American project SONSOMBRE in the top 10 of the year of guitar gothic music is already becoming a tradition. The project appeared in the second half of the 10s and released the first album in 2018 on its own. The second work of the American has already been published on the respected, although not a major label Post Gothic. The project plays typical Gothic Rock with male vocals, which absorbed the best of old school sound combining this with modern realities and technical capabilities. Brandan, the person behind SONSOMBRE, consistently creates high-quality material that differs in its simplicity of perception and, on the other hand, not the most banal moves in terms of composition. Smooth cool album made at a very high level. I assume that the project will become one of the leading modern projects of Gothic Rock. And we can already see it. The third album was already released in 2020 on the major label Cleopatra and most probably will appear in the top-10 of 2020. SONSOMBRE can now be called the standard of modern Gothic Rock. At least at this stage of his work.

07. Maschinist - ‘Schönheit’ (Neue Deutsche Härte | recordJet, Germany)

The German project MASCHINIST was founded in 2015 in Nuremberg and in 2016 the band released their debut album on their own. In fact, the musicians used to play similar music in almost the same genre as part of the PERAGON project, which essentially became MASCHINIST. As PERAGON the Germans released two albums, so the album ‘Schönheit’ can already be called the fourth. The band presents quality modern sound of the NDH genre in its classic and perfect form. Everything is done according to the canons of the genre: German-language lyrics, good heavy male vocals, provocative concept, drive, thrash and madness. There are enough hits on the album. As a result, powerful job of MASCHINIST.

06. Phantom Vision - ‘Guilty’ (Gothic Rock, Synth-Goth, Post Punk | COP International, Portugal)

The Portuguese project PHANTOM VISION was formed in 2000 and almost immediately entered the hall of the most interesting Synth-Goth bands. The first album was released in the same year on the (in that period) famous Gothic label Nightbreed Recordings. Now the discography of Portuguese project counts six full-length albums, the last of which is called ‘Guilty’ and was released in 2019 on the American label COP International. At some point the music of PHANTOM VISION went into a more Rock-based area, so the Gothic Rock sound in the new work is no longer a surprise. ‘Guilty’ is made in the style of Melodic Gothic Rock, in which the elements of the old school, the modern trends of Post Punk and Coldwave and the old Synth-Goth features of the project, which became their recognizable element, are interwoven. The album is full of references to the classic Halloween sound of the Batcave and Pedro’s emotional purely Gothic vocals give PHANTOM VISION a unique charm. Excellent work of the Portuguese for connoisseurs of the true Gothic music.

05. Brotherhood - ‘In the Violet Hour’ (gothic rock | Post Gothic, Sweden)

The project with the simple name BROTHERHOOD from the Swedish city of Eskilstuna appeared in 2007, but the debut full-length work saw the world only in 2012. The album made a good impression and received high rate from critics and the project itself was named the new Gothic Rock stars, but the musicians did not manage to develop success immediately. During the next seven years the project released singles, a collection and mini-albums. The second album of BROTHERHOOD was released only in 2019. And it is needed to say, that this album was worth seven years of waiting. Mid-tempo Gothic Rock with the clear and distinct influence of the old school sound and gloomy romantic culture of the 80s performed in English is an adornment of the modern Gothic scene. Lyrical compositions about life, death, love, hate and how to set free and continue can conquer the hearts and ears of listeners. ‘In the Violet Hour’ is a best example of how to play a gothic rock music. This album can be safely called one of the best gothic rock albums not only in 2019, but also in the last at least five years.

04. Your Ocean - ‘After the Rain’ (Gothic Rock, Post Punk, Dreampop | Self-Released, Germany)

The German project YOUR OCEAN has already taken off to the top of the top-10 list of the dark guitar scene in 2018. In 2019 the Germans did not become number one, but took their right place with the new album called ‘After the Rain’. The project skilfully combines Gothic Rock with other Gothic, Rock and Indie genres. The new album, the serial number of which in band’s discography is hard to determine, because the albums on the Bandcamp page of the project appear and disappear, is no longer similar to the previous work of 2018, where YOUR OCEAN combined an atmospheric Dreampop with Gothic Rock. In the new work, Gothic Rock is intertwined with aerial Post Punk and Dark Rock elements, although a Dreampop is also remained. The Germans created a canvas of landscapes consisting of emotions, natural phenomena and internal experiences. Electronic features cause goose bumps. The album can even be called a musical story with its own plot, concept and denouement. Another excellent work is YOUR OCEAN, which will take its place in the player of guitar gothic music lovers.

03. Secret Shame - ‘Dark Synthetics’ (Post Punk, Deathrock, Gothic Rock | Self-Released, USA)

In 2017 the American project SECRET SHAME released the first serious mini-album with the new material and immediately attracted attention. Well, at least mine. SIOUXSIE’s legacy was clearly traced there, but I would not want the Americans to copy the sound of the famous project. In 2019 SECRET SHAME released their debut full-length album ‘Dark Synthetics’ on their own on CD and in a limited-edition cassette on the label. And if elements of a hysterical Deathrock were noticeable on the mini-album, so the full-length work was done without this part and is comparable more with the work of SKELETAL FAMILY, but with its own charm. The Americans managed to create excellent material in the style of a dark Post Punk, in which you can find both gloomy romance and the cemetery atmosphere. Female vocals, of course, involuntarily lead to comparisons with eminent predecessors, but SECRET SHAME is quite capable of taking their own place in history without causing comparisons. Great job and great debut.

02. [di: unru:] - ‘Misophonia’ (Gothic Rock, Post Punk | Bat-Cave Productions, Finland)

The Finnish project [DI: UNRU:] was formed in Helsinki in the first half of the 10s by the former members of not really famous and known Finnish and German bands. Until 2019 [DI: UNRU:] released different singles and mini-albums and in 2019 they got finally to their debut full-length work. The album was released on vinyl on several labels at once, but the main CD edition was out on one of the leading underground gothic labels in Poland at the moment called Bat-Cave Productions. The debut work is made in a combination of Post Punk and Gothic Rock with male vocals. It turned out very high quality and sometimes old school. Rhythmic and non-boring compositions are catchy even taking into account the fact, that there is nothing new and unique in this genre. The musicians themselves describe their genre as “dark sonic tidal wave”, which, of course, can give some idea of sound and concept, but it is not a genre, of course. A very powerful debut of the Finnish project. Recommended to all lovers of both Gothic Rock and Post Punk.

01. Angels of Liberty - ‘Servant of the Grail’ (Gothic Rock | Secret Sin Records, UK)

In 2017 the main ideological inspirer of the British project ANGELS OF LIBERTY, Voe, passed away, when work on the new album was in process of creating. Scarlet was left alone and the listeners no longer hoped to hear new material. However, in 2019 the third album ‘Servant of the Grail’ was suddenly out. It was as if Voe himself had returned from the world of the dead and finished the album. The album turned out very strong and powerful. Classic Gothic Rock in its best with its atmosphere and its charm continues to live even when its creators leave this world. This work of the British hit the first place in the top 2019 not as a tribute or memory of Voe, but because it’s really deserved to be there. Thanks to those, who nevertheless made this album out. The project is unlikely to release anything, because on the official Facebook page of ANGELS OF LIBERTY in the section “Current Location” is written “cemetery in the UK”, so the third album was the last not only at the moment, but in their discography. R.I.P.


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