Dark Alternative

Dark Culture or the Dark Alternative scene is a social millieu which includes musical and aesthetic subcultures that feature dark, macabre, taboo or transgressive themes. Dark Alternative contains a spectrum of various different subcultures - many of which with unique perspectives and aesthetics, however connected they may be.

Some subcultures that are included in the Dark Alternative scene include:

Horror Punk
Trad Goth

Though these subcultures are effectively unified in the Dark Alternative scene, most of the attempts to solidify them into a term have assumed the universality of the Goth subculture. A part of the reason why Dark Alternative exists in the first place is because of Darkwavers breaking off from the earlier Goth culture. But both by outsiders and those in the community, distinct subcultures have consistently been folded back into the Goth label. Though there are certain Goth purists, there are also some Goths who have actively perpetuated the concept of Gothic subtypes.

For me, Goth is very loaded, and doesn't adequately represent several existing subcultures, as well as various other Dark Alternative subcultures which often lack their own identity. A good example of this would be Witch House, which frequently defies solid classification. The best attempt I've seen is to conflate it with the concept of Nu Goth, but I think this term is not especially helpful. With this in mind, I've been looking for more appropriate terms to represent people who belong to Dark Alternative culture, while allowing people to identify with the specific subcultures that it contains.

Inspired by the Doomer or Doom Metal subculture, I thought of a term to describe people into Dark Culture or the Dark Alternative scene:


In my opinion, Gloomer is simple, casual, fun, and very self-aware. It reflects the general mood of not only a lot of the people who enjoy this culture and the media we produce, but also the broader themes of the music and art we all enjoy - without going into the extremes represented. I think that this is a useful term and I intend to encourage others to use it - especially when they enjoy darker music that doesn't succintly line up with Goth or Rivethead subculture.

On a related note, I've also taken to using nominal suffixes to describe younger members of alternative subcultures. So for instance, you could use Gloomling for young Gloomers and Gothling for young Goths. I think that their usage is more self-aware and honest about how we are as teens and preteens, without being as condescending as something like Baby Bat for young Goths. Personally, I think it is even more adorable as well.

Here is a list of diminutive subculture terms:

Cyberlings for Cybergoths
Darklings for Darkwavers
Deathlings for Deathrockers
Doomlings for Doomers
Gothlings for Goths
Gloomlings for Gloomers
Punklings for Punks
Metalings for Metalheads
Rivetlings for Rivetheads

I'm definitely curious how one might adapt all of these terms into other languages. All that being said, I think the term Gloomer gives people an option to participate in our scene without feeling pressured to use or not use other subcultural classifications.