Music and travelling: the only two things I am more passionate about than football (although wherever I travel, I visit stadiums, so...). Maybe women as well Anyway...
I am a die-hard gothic fanatic. I am into goth music, and into the goth subculture. I dress in black clothing always, and also wear eyeliner. Not to 'belong to the clan' but because I am just passionate about it, it's just so beautifully dark... My favourite bands are all in the gothic and new-wave style, with a few exceptions from the metal and 'indie' and folk world.
My favourite band of all time is without any doubt Echo & The Bunnymen. The Bunnymen learnt me to look at art and music in a different way, in a deeper way. Thanks to their experimental, dreamy sound and the deeply meaningful lyrics of Ian McCulloch, my look on arts changed and I picked up writing poetry. I have the almost complete Bunnymen discography and travelled all across the UK to see the band live multiple times. Ocean Rain (by EATB) is my favourite album ever.
Other bands I am devotely into: Bauhaus, Placebo, Marilyn Manson, Heather Nova, The Smiths, Silke Bischoff (18 Summers). Lately discovered and growing fanatic into them as well: Siouxsie & The Banshees, Muse, The Damned, A Perfect Circle (especially APC). Other bands that often pass my CD player: Manic Street Preachers, Indochine, Blutengel, Sopor Aeternus & The Ensemble of Shadows.
Especially the latter deserves its own little review: Sopor Aeternus & The Emsemble of Shadows. The most intense, darkest, most unique, and most painful music I ever heard (and that says a lot for a goth!). Sopor Aeternus consists solely out of Anna-Varney Cantondea, who brings a fuse of medieval doomy march music, haunting mysterious sound samples that could come straight out of the most horrifying film, and old instruments from long forgotten times. Their music is like an inner travel through a very far past, through a dream in which you cross a dark forest full of threatening sounds that slowly surround and swamp you.
The lyrics are extremely dark, dealing with pain, depression, suicide, death, and decay. Anna-Varney has been in a state of extreme depression for most of her life and uses her music to somehow canalise the pains. However, the lyrics are so poetic and so abstract that it's like you listen to a surreal poem, a doomy poem maybe, but so surreal it almost takes away the depressed side of it because it sounds so far away from something actually happening.
The Ensemble of Shadows is not only the band that guides her, but is also a metaphor for the otherwordly voices Anna-Varney claims to hear, inspiring her while composing music. Anna-Varney never performs, claiming a human audience would never understand her pain and thus never understand her music. She says she makes the music solely for herself. Also, she rarely leaves her home and has little contact with the outside world, her fellow musicians being her sole contacts. "Sopor Aeternus" means "eternal sleap" and is a metaphor for death. The band has been named the most depressed band that ever existed by many critics, however I'd say it's the most unique music that can possibly be made. It blows you away literarly, as a journey through a far away dream in some very long forgotten past. The dreamy atmosphere and the surreal inner landscape it creates, is incredible. Definitely a band that needs to be recommended.
PS: I don't believe in spirits and ghosts and such, so that part of the Sopor Aeternus story is something I find hard to believe But otherwordly voices or just a fellow musician, I don't care, the result in the end is beyond beautiful music and then I don't really care who or what inspired Anna-Varney.
Also, definitely check A Perfect Circle, fusing metal, indie rock, and ethereal (almost Middle-Eastern sounding) sounds. The band's album "Mer de Noms" gets my trophy for best debut album of the last decade. The band is mainly the creation of Billy Howerdel and singer Maynard James Keenan, who also does the vocals for Tool. APC is less dark than Tool and less complex, however lyrically still quite complex and musically more mysterious. The band's lyrics are quite high-level, often attracting a very arty audience. Their song "Brena" is about the most romantic song I heard in my life, while songs such as "Magdalena", "The Hollow" and "3 Libras", "Passive", "Judith" are excellent songs as well.
Also, I love Arab folk music. I would highly recommend Natacha Atlas. She mixes western dance beats with mysterious Arab folk elements, creating a very multicultural music. She sings mainly in Arabic, but also has some songs in French and English. Very unique music.