This band formed in Milan, Italy in the 1990’s and took some time to develop he sound that many have come to recognise as today’s Gothic Metal. Known not just for being some of the originators of the sound but also because of their image, the band fully embraced their association with dark aesthetics and usually wears face paint and is generally clad in long black garb. Musically they are known for steady tempo rhythm guitar driven tracks while strings fill up the background with depth as well as providing an ethereal (which was the bands earlier name) quality to their sound. On top of this the lead vocals provided by Cristina Scabbia are operatic even at their mildest, thus a very defined feel is carried throughout all the band does.
Coheed And Cambria – IV
Making a name for themselves in the world of alternative metal this band is usually known for their impressive guitar work. Like a good symphony that tells a story this bands best works all surround a story concept that has been developed into graphic novels. In this album they add the important element of strings to amplify the increbily grand scale of their storytelling and provide both blissful melodies and drastic strums that up the ante. Opening with the emotional and unnerving strings and piano of ‘Keeping The Blade’ the band famously adds orchestration to their hit ‘Welcome Home’ which remains a fine example of how drama is perfectly told through a combination of these styles.
Serj Tankian & Das Karussell – Orca Symphony No.1
This is a unique example as it doesn’t actually include any instruments from a typical metal band outfit. Instead the crossover here happens thanks to the man in the back being Serj Tankian. The Armenian-American vocalist and songwriter is better well known as the gripping voice of metal band System Of A Down. With a slew of popularity and incredibly heavy and politically driven records under their belt in the 2000’s the band were on the pinnacle of the heavy metal scene. Later on the band slowly stopped gigging as its members took on side projects with Elect The Dead being Tankian’s first outing alone. Clearly mixing symphony with his usual style was something he enjoyed and a few albums later we have Orca. This absolutely beautiful and riveting audio narrative tells the journey of the killer whale while allegorically representing humanity. With human rights at his core, Tankian never strays away from tackling injustices and the emotions that unwind in this album are just as potent as the ones he shouts out loud into the microphone. With a bold and wondrous beginning, the horns that conclude the first act have a military march to them, whereas the soft piano melodies and sorrowful strings throughout lead the listener on a journey that is both clear and imaginative. With elements of eastern sound that carried into System’s music, the results here leave behind a jaw dropping symphony that shows the best of the two camps coercing while keeping one sound.