The goth scene has a diversity problem. Most alternative music scenes, if I’m being honest, have a diversity problem.
While the contemporary state of the alternative scene is certainly facilitating some much-needed change, it’s important to recognize that people of color — specifically, black people — have always been part of the scene, and always will.
Here are five awesome goth bands that feature black musicians, proving that despite popular assumption, goth isn’t white.
A beloved artist of mine and one who I’ve spun on-air several times before, Scary Black is orchestrated by the brilliant mind of Albie Mason, a purveyor of “introverted darkwave.”
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Scary Black redefines the term “southern gothic.”
With corpse-cold melodies, vampiric lyrics and a cultivated air of foreboding, each track is goosebump-inducing in the best way.
If you like music with screamier vocals, The Ire may be for you.
Based in Philadelphia, The Ire draws inspiration from 80’s post-punk and infuses the style with deathrock dramaticism.
Light Asylum is the Brooklyn-based solo project of Shannon Funchess, founded first as a duo in 2007 until keyboardist Bruno Coviello left in 2012.
Light Asylum’s music is powerful and inspired, with Funchess’s vocals fueling the project’s international appeal. With an 80’s-inspired sound, Light Asylum’s influences extend from Depeche Mode to the industrial clang of Nine Inch Nails.
She Wants Revenge
At this point, I’d be hard-pressed to find someone in the alternative scene who hasn’t heard of She Wants Revenge.
Their iconic “Tear You Apart” defined my adolescence.
Based in San Fernando Valley, California, She Wants Revenge presents a stilted and charmingly blunt take on post-punk and darkwave.
Consisting of Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin, the band emerged in 2006 after being scouted by none other than Fred Durst, every twenty-something-year-old teenage girl’s favorite man.
And the rest is history.
Putting the dark back in darkwave, Shadow Age’s music is cold and diffused through fog.
Based in Richmond, Virginia, Shadow Age released their first demo in 2013. Two years later their first EP, “Silaluk,” hit the airwaves.
The album has a beautifully esoteric sound and a distant, hazy vocal quality that conjures images of blanched, glacial landscapes.
The band’s 2017 album “The Fall” is comparatively warmer, though still with a lo-fi distortion.
Their most recent release, the single “Ours,” takes the band’s sound in an interesting new direction with stronger electronic and indie influences.
People of color have always influenced the alternative music scene, and for much of musical history, their impact has been ignored.
Lending recognition to the numerous artists who continue to operate in the scene is integral to building a more inclusive and representative space.