As a millennial, my experience of dark culture was shaped by the blended scene that existed at the beginning of the 21st century. By the early 2000s, the distinctions between goth and industrial were becoming blurred. Though there were certainly people with trad goth and classic rivethead approaches, many more people were gravitating towards a cultural and aesthetic hybrid between goth and industrial. In a modern culture that has become increasingly tribal, and with a whole new generation of purists coming into the fore, I feel that rivetgoth is more valuable than ever.
Though it is worth noting that cybergoth also came to prominence around the same time as rivetgoth, for the purposes of this page, I am describing rivetgoth in a much broader context of dark culture or the dark alternative scene. Some might use the term neogoth, but I find that this term is too easily confused with nu-goth – a term that has largely come to be associated with new trad goth in the modern era. A broad aesthetic philosophy – one that incorporates elements of goth and industrial, both classic and modern, is what I’m referring to as rivetgoth.
Rivetgoth, in the strictest sense of the term, refers to a hybrid between goth and rivethead culture – a culture that exists alongside goth and rivethead for those who value both equally. Rivetgoths draw inspiration from the dark and macabre elements of goth culture and the elements of both industry and technology from rivethead culture. Unsurprisingly, cyberpunk is a strong influence on rivetgoth culture and aesthetics, but with a focus that is notably darker in tone.
Aesthetically speaking, rivetgoths have a lot of similarities to rivetheads. They tend to prefer casual street clothes – often with an industrial edge or aspects of military chic, but notably more expressionistic and darker like that of goths. Unlike cybergoths – who themselves might be considered a kind of rivetgoth in a sense, rivetgoth fashion is more subdued. It’s both less romantic than goth and less aggressive than rivethead. It exists in a happy medium between the two.
This harmonious balance is reflected in the kinds of music that rivetgoths enjoy. Though harsh and dark electro can certainly be enjoyed by rivetgoths, the sounds of synthpop and futurepop strongly capture the rivetgoth style. Modern genres like witch house, dark synth and especially dark clubbing or EBSM music, in my opinion, are also quite compatible with rivetgoth. A lot of the EBM revival and especially industrial techno reflects a more refined and refreshing take on these earlier genres that I think work quite well in a rivetgoth context.
In addition to electronic genres, rivetgoth is also much freer with regards to metal and rock music that incorporates darker or industrial inspired themes and sounds. For this reason, gothic and industrial metal – in addition to extreme metal more generally, are quite compatible with rivetgoth philosophy. Many artists in the modern musical landscape explore a mixture of genres in their work and rivetgoth thrives in this environment.
Philosophically speaking, rivetgoth is more pragmatic. It is less driven by introspection and mood than goth and less driven by anger or disaffection than rivethead culture. Much of the themes in music and aesthetics enjoyed by rivetgoths captures uplifting themes in the midst of dark futures. This approach is heavily shaped by a desire for harmony and a way of balancing darker emotions in a meaningful way. Both because of the blended approach of rivetgoths, and because of this desire for balance, rivetgoths are naturally anti-elitist and skeptical of authority in a productive manner.
As said before, rivetgoth is a hybrid approach within dark culture, and for me most reflects my own aesthetic. It reflects years of my experiences with dark alternative music, aesthetics and my distaste for elitism in alt culture as a whole. For me, rivetgoth is simple, minimalistic and highly existential – encouraging people to enjoy art and culture without taking anything for granted or making people feel like they have to prove themselves to be accepted. Rivetgoth is about enjoying dark culture – both classic and contemporary, in all its forms.