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top10 2023 03 guitardarkThe Dark Guitar scene in 2023 manifested itself primarily in the Gothic genres of Deathrock and Post-Punk. New names have recently appeared less frequently than 3-4 years ago, but they still appear with both new ideas and the execution of classic sound. In 2023, there were both young projects with debut releases and already known musicians who created new material, for some of whom it even turned out to be their debut.

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

10. Ground Nero - ‘Blood Never Sleeps‘ (Gothic Rock | Belgium, Self-Released)

The Belgian project GROUND NERO was formed in the mid-10s and as of 2023 had one full-length album released in 2019. The band’s new work was published on its own and performed in the genre of classic old-school Gothic Rock with male vocals in English. A good solid album that does not pretend to be new or some kind of stylistic breakthrough, but the good old Gothic Rock from the 80s and 90s is done in the best possible way. Facebook:

09. Joy/Disaster - ‘Hypnagogia‘ (Gothic Rock, Postpunk | France, Self-Released)

The French band JOY/DISASTER was formed in 2005, but received attention on the scene only in 2009 with their third album. The fourth was already released on the format Gothic label Manic Depression. The new album is called ‘Hypnagogia’ and was released again as self release. The album features compositions in the genre of melancholic Gothic Rock bordering with Post-Punk. The project has created similar music before, so the French won’t hook their listeners with anything new, but the material from the point of view of compositional abilities is done very well, but the quality of the recording is a little bit poor, which can be considered a feature and does not interfere with enjoying good music. Facebook:

08. Her Own World - ‘Tales from Another Life‘ (Cyber-Metal, Gothic Metal, Gothic Electro | Poland, darkTunes Music Group)

The Polish band HER OWN WORLD was formed in the early 20s and until 2023 they released singles with remixes. In 2023 their debut full-length work is out on the label darkTunes Music Group. The electronic guitar music is made in a combination of cyber metal with Gothic Metal and elements of Alternative Rock with high-quality female vocals. The compositions are commercially oriented, so they are easy to listen to and some of them are memorable. The project stands on the border between the dark and alternative scenes, so I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future HER OWN WORLD goes into a more mainstream sound. In the meantime, you can enjoy the good quality work of Polish musicians. The only thing that’s a little confusing is the second half of the album, where the guitars disappear and the music goes into the electronic direction of Gothic Electro with even Dark Electro elements, which is why the integrity breaks down somewhat and one gets the feeling that the project at some point has found their new sound with Cyber Metal, but did’t manage to compose enough material and added old works that they had not published before switching to guitar sound. That is why there is a place in the top for the Poles, but not in the top five. Facebook:

07. Death Party UK - ‘Fire and Phantoms‘ (Gothabilly, Deathrock | UK, Gothic World Records)

The duo DEATH PARTY UK was founded in 2011 by Trevor Bamford, known for the MIDNIGHT CONFIGURATION project and the creator of the label Nightbreed Recordings, as well as other various musical formations. The project has been releasing EPs and live albums for a long time, but in 2023 it finally released a full-length album, which became its debut. Since its launching, the project has been creating an explosive mixture of perky Gotabilly, rhythmic Deathrock and Gothic Rock’n’Roll with male vocals. If someone loves Halloween with all that it entails, then this album is for you, although the atmosphere of the early SCARY BITCHES is not fully present here. In some compositions ELVIS PRESLEY appears in a gothic make-up with a Deathrock mohawk and a skeleton costume. Nice job with interesting material. Facebook:

06. Rival Cults - ‘Indoctrination‘ (Deathrock, Gothic Rock | USA, Dune Altar)

The young American Deathrock project RIVAL CULTS was formed in the late 10s and early 20s. In 2021, their first EPs was released and in 2023 their debut full-length work was out on the Dune Altar label. The debut is a combination of Deathrock and Gothic Rock in equal proportions with hysterical male vocals. An interesting old-school atmosphere has been created and in total the album sounds holistic and high quality. Elements of Rock and Roll occasionally appear, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Good solid debut. Facebook:

05. Lathe of Heaven - ‘Bound by Naked Skies‘ (Deathrock, Postpunk | USA, Sacred Bones Records)

LATHE OF HEAVEN is a project from New York in the USA created by guitarist Gage Ellison, known for several projects in the local American Punk scene. In 2022 the project released its debut EP and in 2023 its debut full-length album is out. LATHE OF HEAVEN plays high-quality deathrock with Post-Punk in the best traditions of the scene. The vocals on the album are male, but on one track Gage invited the female vocalist and it turned out great. The album in 2023 is one of the best Deathrock albums in the Guitar Gothic music scene. Great work, looking forward to the future. Facebook:

04. Sang Froid - ‘All-Nighter‘ (Gothic Rock, Postpunk, Coldwave | France, Self-Released)

The French project SANG FROID from Nantes is a new name on the Gothic music scene. After the debut EP in 2022 the French are releasing their debut full-length work entitled ‘All-Nighter’ by themselves. Musically the album presents material in the genre of Gothic Rock with variations on the theme of Post-Punk and elements of Coldwave. Vocals - male. A good smooth album without a hint of masterpiece, but strong and is listened well. Facebook:

03. Tragic Black - ‘Unsightly Visitations‘ (Deathrock | USA, Self-Released)

Deathrock project TRAGIC BLACK from the USA is already popular and respected in the Goth scene and has six full-length albums in the discography. TRAGIC BLACK is active since 2000s and the seventh work of the band is called ‘Unsightly Visitations’ and is a high-quality dark Deathrock with male and female vocals. The album also features batcave elements giving it a unique sound and atmosphere. A powerful work by famous Americans that will delight all fans of the Gothic Guitar scene. Facebook:

02. Totentanz Strumpfsockig - ‘Totentanz Strumpfsockig‘ (Folk-Rock, Gothic Rock, Medieval Neofolk | Germany, Danse Macabre)

The TOTENTANZ STRUMPFSOCKIG project is a new name on the dark scene. The group of six musicians was formed in the early 20s and in 2023 they release their self-titled debut album on the label Danse Macabre. The album features 11 compositions in a non-trivial combination of Medieval Folk Rock and Gothic Rock with female vocals in English, German and Turkish. The music on the album skillfully varies between Folk Rock with traditional medieval elements using bagpipes, harp and flute, modern Gothic Rock without a noticeable old-school component and standard middle-aged Folk in certain compositions without a Rock component. The result is a very interesting album with a non-standard approach and a very competent implementation of the idea. The debut came out great and explosive. The Germans are at their best and have shown that they can create something new nowadays, when it would seem that all possible new unknown techniques have been discovered. Facebook:

01. Cold I - ‘Μέρες Νεκρές‘ (Postpunk | Greece, Scarecrow)

The Greek formation COLD I has already appeared in previous tops, so it arouses interest not only because of the material in Greek, which is also their signature. The project was formed in 2015 and already has one full-length album in 2016 and two EPs. The new work is called ‘Μέρες Νεκρές’ and like the previous ones is made in the genre of high-quality interesting rhythmic Post-Punk with elements of Darkwave in Greek language with male vocals. Very cool work and unique in its own way on the Gothic scene. COLD I still please and arouses interest not only in its work, but in general with the Greek Gothic music scene. Facebook:


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