This week sees the release of Anastasis, the first album in 16 years from goth icons and 4AD mainstays Dead Can Dance. This is pretty exciting news for those of us who enjoyed the duo’s signature spookily atmospheric sound the first time round, even if in all honesty the new album doesn’t quite reach the heights that Dead Can Dance scaled in the ’80s and early ’90s. Still, we’re glad to see them back, and apart from how little their sound has changed, the other thing we couldn’t help noticing how little their appearance has changed. This got us thinking about what some of our other favorite goth and goth-related icons might look like these days — after all, there are few genres to which aesthetics are so important. We got to searching for some pictures, and the results are after the jump.
Dead Can Dance
Frankly, if we look as good at 51 as Lisa Gerrard does, we’ll be pretty happy with the way that life’s turned out. (We promise that we won’t be rocking a grey goatee like Brendan Perry, though.)
Likewise Siouxsie Sioux, who clearly knows her best angles (and her best silver catsuits.)
Sisters of Mercy
We’re not so sure about Andrew Eldritch, though — the slim, effete frontman of the 1980s has been replaced by a man who looks disconcertingly like Rob Halford from Judas Priest.
If you only know Ian Astbury from “She Sells Sanctuary” or, god forbid, his stint impersonating Jim Morrison in The Doors, you may not know that Southern Death Cult — the band that eventually became just plain old The Cult — were as goth as goth gets. Sadly, it looks like these days the Jim Morrison impersonation is a little too accurate.
Also on the former goth icons front, The Birthday Party were proto-goth par excellence, even if Nick Cave et al disliked the label — Rowland S Howard, in particular, looked terrifyingly like a vampire for most of the 1980s. Sadly, Howard passed away in 2009, but Cave just keeps on keeping on, and all things considered, he looks remarkably good these days — we suspect he has a portrait in the attic somewhere.
Fields of the Nephilim
Carl McCoy, meanwhile, must have an entire fucking art gallery in his roof space, because he doesn’t seem to have changed at all.
Oh, what we would have given to see Fraser play in London last week. Cocteau Twins’ ethereal, atmospheric music (and Fraser’s inimitable glossolalia-laden vocals) were quintessentially gothic, even if the band’s appearance didn’t necessarily fit the genre’s image. These days, you’d pass Fraser on the street… unless, of course, she happened to be singing to herself as she walked by, because her voice is as remarkable as ever.
The single most gothic movie character ever is now an urbane Francophile who must be just a little worried at the ever-increasing distance between him and his last good role. So it goes.
The man who did as much as anyone to invent the whole gothic aesthetic — he was dressing like a vampire in The Damned when Robert Smith was still at school — still has an eye for a sharp suit (and a blood-red backdrop.)
Meanwhile, Peter Murphy is receding a bit — shit, it happens to the best of us — but apart from that, he’s looking just as suave as he used to back in Bauhaus’ glory days.
The hyper-talented and perhaps slightly mad Killing Joke frontman has disappeared of late — it may well be that he’s holed up in Iceland awaiting the apocalypse, again. But wherever he is, we bet he looks just as severe and intimidating as did back in the 1980s, if not more so.
Goth goes MTV! If you were in any way inclined to the dark side during the 1980s, you probably had a “thing” for Elvira, which makes seeing her “real” alter ego — actress Cassandra Peterson — rather jarring. Still, we reckon that with a black wig and a bit of make-up, Peterson could totally still pull off an Elvira revival.
Gary Numan A classic case of late-onset goth — Numan’s looking more gothic these days than he ever did in the ’80s.
And finally, the greatest goth icon of them all: Robert Smith of the Cure. He’s been working variations on the same just-accidentally-cut-the-mains-cable hairdo and crazy makeup combination since the 1980s, so much so that we can’t begin to imagine him without it — even if the more mean-spirited amongst us might argue that it does look just a wee bit ridiculous these days.