Yes, pasty pale skin is one of the 10 goth commandments, but Latin Americans of all shades are huge fans of the subculture. It makes sense, once you realize that the region’s cultures and the death-obsessed style actually have a lot in common. Many pre-Columbian cultures incorporate morbidity and death in day-to-day life and consider it an integral part of their belief systems, with iconography found in art and temples across Latin America. Catholicism continues to be the most widely practiced religion in Latin America, and its imagery also has a major presence in goth. Moreover, each country has its own deeply ingrained supernatural folklore.
Although goth is often the butt of jokes and memes (to be honest, it has never been the most respected of musical styles), it has been a persistent force in music for almost 40 years. Goth began as part of British post-punk, characterized by somber guitar music with a driving beat and operatic vocals. In the early 80s, it became the soundtrack to the dance floor of the Batcave club in London. Soon the genre expanded into many different forms, from the lush and atmospheric to the electronic – without shaking a sense of the macabre.
The rock en tu idioma boom that shook Latin America and Spain in the early 1980s was strongly influenced by post-punk. In Spain, the movement was hugely successful thanks in part to Parálisis Permanente, originally an offshoot of punk-turned-pop phenomenon Alaska y Los Pegamoides. Many others followed, coining the genre descriptor “siniestro.” These included Seres Vacíos (a Parálisis spinoff), La Casa Usher, Paralítikos, Morticia y Los Decrépitos, Los Monaguillosh, and more.
Brazil was also an early adopter and a place where many forms of goth took root. Some of the most noteworthy pioneering bands are Arte No Escuro, Escola De Escandalo, Das Projekt Der Krummen Mauern, The Tears Of Blood, Lupercais, and the electronic-leaning Individual Industry.
Argentina, being the pied piper of the rock en tu idioma wave, contributed to the genre in the form of Euroshima, Fricción (who gave us an excellent Spanish-language cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes”), Art Nouveau, La Sobrecarga, and Septima Sima.
Peru was another fertile territory for goth, proliferating during the rock subterráneo era with bands like Voz Propia, Dolores Delirio, Lima 13, and La Devoción.
During the late 80s, Mexico developed some of its own heavy sounds. Las Insólitas Imágenes de Aurora adopted elements of the genre which they retained once they morphed into Caifanes, as well as contemporaries Santa Sabina. El Clan, Las Vírgenes Que Nunca Fueron Santas, Las Ánimas Del Cuarto Oscuro, Phornoshop, and Hueco played the true darks circuit. Electro-goths like pioneers Década 2 begat Hocico in the 90s, whose popularity reached global heights.
Other Latin American nations didn’t develop scenes as dynamic as Mexico or Peru’s, but contributed some great bands nonetheless, like Chile’s Justine, Verso Perverso, and Sangrederosas (even early Lucybell were considered goth). Colombia’s CO2 and Frankie Ha Muerto, Venezuela’s La Seguridad Nacional, and Sentimiento Muerto, and Uruguay’s RRRRRRR are some other notable examples.
So go ahead and stream this playlist – no one will tell you “tú no eres darks” anymore.