The second wave (from the end of the eighties to around the mid-nineties) was a time of rebirth for goth. Those that grew up listening to The Sisters of Mercy and The Mission began to form their own bands based around their idols’ sounds. But few actually tried to replicate the former sound, and many helped evolved the genre. Some made it more melodic, others heavier, and others more electronic. Their efforts helped define Goth Rock as a genre. The flagship sound of the “second generation” consists of guitar, bass, drum machine, synthesizer (mainly strings) and a male vocalist.
Whether it was the onset of hair metal or feeling his previous albums were forever tainted by the cheese of the eighties or God knows what, The Sisters actually took a step in a more hard rock direction here. There are some very memorable guitar riffs here, thanks to one-time guitarist for hire Andreas Bruhn. Doktor’s sound is polished and Eldritch’s smooth croon doesn’t falter here once, helping to make this a very uh… smooth album. This album isn’t just about America, it is America. Loud, fast and full of attitude, it feels like a mockery of the extravagant, flashy lifestyle, the presidency and the economy and the brain-dead idols.
The old guard moved away from their post-punk roots, towards a more rock-oriented sound. SoM released a pure rock album in the form of Vision Thing As time passed, they strayed even further from their roots, leaving little similarity between them and early goth contemporaries like Bauhaus, many who of them had broken up (Bauhaus, Danse Society) sub genres had become extinct or were on the verge (Coldwave, taditional post-punk, Ethereal Wave, Avangrade-Punk, Synthpop, New Wave, Glam Goth,). Bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees attempted to adapt by changing their sound to fit better into clubs (Superstision, Rapture) but couldn’t keep up with the rapidly changing landscape. Others, like The Cure and The Church found an audience with alternative crowds. The only thing conecting Goth Rock to bands like Joy Divison and Bauhaus was the label “goth” and older fans of the former.
Siouxsie and the Banshees’ friendlier, less challenging album cover for Superstition.
By 1991 backlash against the 80’s wasn’t only reserved for hair metal and New Wave. The choir heavy and drum machine music of early Sisters of Mercy material was viewed as old fashioned and rejected by not only the mainstream (who had already moved to idolize Grunge and Alternative) but by newer goths who were starting to become attracted to a newer, more rebellious sound of what would become Industrial-Metal. The thoughtful and more melodic aspects of Shoegaze/Dream Pop, and some moved away from goth rock altogether and felt that Metal had become what Goth was supposed to represent (Nu-Metal, British Doom Metal, Alternative Metal)
Rossetta Stone, 1992. best example of what Goth Rock had come to represent.
By the end of the eighties, a generation that was raised on The Sisters, The Nephilim and others began to form their own bands, building upon the foundation set by their idols. This was the second generation, which lasted from 1989 to the mid nineties, slowing down significantly when other sounds took center stage.
Regular Show has done the impossible and made me actually like Lies by the Thompson Twins. And I normally fucking hate the Thompson Twins.