Gothic Council Considers the Proper Seduction of Metal Heads

Categories: Gothtopia

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Pretend you're a drug dealer, or if it's more appropriate pretend you're still a drug dealer. If our memory of the D.A.R.E program serves us well then the key to successful drug dealing in the acquisition of new clientele through free distribution of choice merchandise. Once they're hooked, then they belong to you.

Now for us, the drug is goth music, and lately we've been doing as much recruiting as possible. The best way to get more acts to visit town is to encourage fandom, so our overall goal is to make Houston a choicer environment to host bands we've always wanted to see. The thing is, if we knew how to sell things we wouldn't be doing this job.

So we put the question to the Gothic Council. What song or band serves as the best gateway drug into the world of goth? Is it specific to various sub-fandoms? Would you use the same tune to ensnare a punk as you would, say, a metalhead? That was the aim of our meeting.

Joining us this week is artist Darla Teagarden, Jvstin Whitney of the Church of Melkarth, DJs Regen Robinson and Martin Oldgoth, and living historian Morrighanne Burns.

Darla Teagarden: Well, if you've got someone really into metal I'd play them a little taste of Killing Joke because they combined rock, synthpop, metal, and goth, and they influenced a slew of bands. They were somewhat unique and perhaps a good gateway drug to a metal-head.

Jvstin Whitney: Luring a real metalhead to the goth you show them the Smell of Rain video for "Scar Trek/Parasite God" since Mortiis was in Emperor after giving them select pieces from his solo ambient music. If that doesn't do it, you let them dwell on ...And Oceans' A.M.G.O.D. album (especially "Intelligence is Sexy"), and quality heavier Industrial acts like Hanzel und Gretyl's Uber Alles and Trollheim's Grott's Bizarre Troll Technology.

Depending on how they hold out and handle harsher noise-related music, we introduce Mz.412 and/or Blacklodge; if that's not enough to get them hooked and straight to harsher Wumpscut, then you go on the backpedal and listen to Samael's Blood Ritual and have them give Eternal (Specifically "the Cross") a good thoughtful re-listen and make them admit it's not so bad.

This process works because I've done it, assuming the metal heads aren't idiots, it's kind of a crap shoot, and most of us veer in the direction via dark ambient and pagan/militant neofolk at some point anyway, because they're intelligent enough to appreciate good music regardless of genre. If I'm working this through a drug deal (which is pure speculation and assumed only for entertainment purposes) I bring a mix CD with most of these songs on it and play it at the peak of a(n allegedly) hallucinogenic trip. But nothing that calls itself "Gothic Metal," all those bands just suck and is made for sixteen year old girls, and not really any different than pop for anyone with a brain. Being a good goth dealer is all about knowing who you're trying to convince of what.

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Blaze Hauser
Blaze Hauser

I think Jvstin nails it. In my experience there`s quite a bit of overlap between black/death/doom/stoner metal and some of the goth and dark ambient with Mortiis and Burzum being very well known in both. I don`t know where the council stands on ministry, but as a metal musician who listens more to music than lyrics/vocals, psalm 69 and after total rocked my world when I first heard it.

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