How does music link to dark tourism? Can music be dark too? Hey, but yes!!! In fact a whole huge section of the music that's out there revolves around some notion of dark. In particular that wide range of styles that's often lumped together under the umbrella term of 'gothic'. Some sub-genres actually have the word 'dark' in their names, e.g. 'dark wave' (one prime example: The Crüxshadows).
But music can also be dark outside the ring-fence of 'gothic'. It's not an invention of the gothic scene. There has been dark music long before the term 'gothic' was even first applied. Lots of classical music is dark too – think of some of the gloomier works of Beethoven or Russians like Mussorgsky. Similarly, the singer-songwriter tradition has brought us some dark-themed music too – or wouldn't you agree that, say, Bob Dylan's "Man in the Long Black Coat" is decidedly dark?
Currently, however, the term 'dark' is more often applied to genres a lot heavier than that – the various strands of 'metal', say, or 'industrial' music. And then there's the real biggies, those who combine a dark sound (often electronic) with the craft and art of high-class song-writing, most prominently Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Martin L. Gore (Depeche Mode).
I've always had a keen interest in music and song-writing from when I was about 10 or so. As a teenager I became a band musician myself (one of my other previous lives), first in the more typical guitar-based styles, later developing more in an electronic direction, some more song-oriented, some a bit more, well, 'avant-garde' (others would say weird). Unfortunately that was a long time ago, in an era when it wasn't so easy or affordable to record and preserve recordings in a decent quality with non-professional equipment. I do have several recordings that survived on audio cassette tape (remember those?), which I've meanwhile digitalized and saved, but none are really good enough, sound-quality-wise (despite a lot of enhancement efforts), to be put out to the public here. If I ever come across any software that can miraculously bring the sound up to scratch, then maybe I will put my own stuff out one day, even for downloads. But it's not currently a priority of mine.
I also have a theoretical grounding in the more analytical approaches to music (I have a degree in musicology, in fact – see academic background), so I can rely on a bit more than just "taste" when it comes to judging music … although the immediate emotional appeal of a certain piece of music (or the opposite of such an appeal) will always dominate over the purely analytical … esp. when it comes to dark …        
To give you an impression of what I see as dark music – and good music beyond dark, here's another set of lists:
(Click to open full reviews and/or background info, where available)

Top-10 dark albums ever:
1. Gary Numan: "Exile"
2. Gary Numan: "Sacrifice"
3. Roger Waters: "Amused to Death"
4. Depeche Mode: "Ultra"
5. Nine Inch Nails: "The Downward Spiral"
6. Nine Inch Nails: "With Teeth"
7. Rammstein: "Liebe ist für alle da"
8. Ennio Morricone: soundtrack for John Carpenter's "The Thing"
9. Soko Friedhof: "Die Geschichte eines Werwolfs"
10. Front Line Assembly: "Epitaph"
More music-related lists:
My other all-time favourite, top-class albums that are not (or not quite so) dark:
- David Bowie: 1. Outside (The Nathan Adler Diaries: a hyper cycle)
- Living Colour: Time's Up
- Jack Off Jill: Clear Hearts, Grey Flower
- System of a Down: Mezmerize
- Radiohead: "OK Computer"
- NoFX: "Wolves in Wolves Clothing"
- Bad Religion: "The Empire Strikes First"
Muse: Absolution
- UK: "Night After Night - LIVE"
- Filter: Title of Record
- Peter Gabriel: Us
- Placebo: Loud Like Love
- John Foxx: Metamatic
Back to dark – here's my list of the darkest ever individual tracks:
- Nine Inch Nails: The great below (from the album "The Fragile")
- Gary Numan: A question of faith (from the album "Sacrifice")
- Gary Numan: Exile (from the album "Exile")
- Soko Friedhof: Painting the dead (from the album "Die Geschichte eines Werwolfs")
- Dismantled: Start digging (from the album "When I'm Dead")
- Narr: Finira (from the 2004 album "Souls are flying now")
- Celldweller: Welcome to the end (from the album "Celldweller")
- Depeche Mode: In your room (from the album "Songs of Faith and Devotion")
- Depeche Mode: Waiting for the night (from the album "Violator")
- Bob Dylan: Man in the long black coat (from the album "Oh Mercy")
And here's my list of best songs/tracks ever that are not (necessarily so) dark:
- Nine Inch Nails: Everything where it Belongs (from the album "With Teeth")
- Ultravox!: Artificial life (from the album "Ha! Ha! Ha!")
- Joe Jackson: Love at first light (from the album "Volume 4")
- Gary Numan: Deadliner (from the album "Sacrifice")
- Bob Dylan: Most of the time (from the album "Oh Mercy")
- Muse: Hysteria (from the album "Absolution")
- Pink Floyd: Sorrow (from the album "A Momentary Lapse Of Reason")
- David Bowie: The motel (from the album "1. Outside")
- Placebo: Haemoglobin (from the album "Black Market Music")
- Talking Heads: Heaven (from the 1979 album "Fear of Music")
… to be continued … and updated …  


©, Peter Hohenhaus 2010-2019

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