I don't normally recommend smoking, but you may need to after watching this video. Blutengel dives right into the sensual gothic subculture, somehow making blood consumption seem as natural as a bouquet of roses.
Of anything here, Switchblade Symphony is the most on target for the 5 minutes Darkwave existed before the cultural consciousness gave up on goth and turned to either emo or something. Unlike Blutengel, S.S. went in the direction towards the goth aesthetic you'd be more likely to see in real life. As much as a ballroom full of slender female vampires might seem alluring, going to a club will most likely only result in seeing individuals with large doll hair extensions, bringing Babes in Toyland's kinderwhore image to its natural ending point. But enough of that, the music was equally fitting with a lot of meloncholy lyrics about dolls and weeping willows. It's fun music despite that, and you need to enjoy the theatrics of it.
I debated including an older song from the Hot Topic sampler CDs, but this one from a few years ago shows that they still held onto their sound. You can tell that there's a heavy influence from Depeche Mode and the like, but with more emphasis on guitars and a bit more brooding.
Yet another find from the "New Dark Noise" compilation, which pushed me out of the mid-90's Alt and Industrial Rock scene and into the drearier realms. I believe they covered a lot of songs I currently listened to as well, so it was a natural progression.
I didn't discover Collide until several years later when they remixed a Front Line Assembly song. Like many other artists, the first few albums were moody and atmospheric, then it sort of mellowed out. There's still a few good tracks to be found though.
Definitely out of the scope of this page, but A) I don't want to make another, and B) it would be a crime to omit Type O Negative. There was a healthy overlap with them as I was into the more traditional Rock/Metal before dipping into synth bands. Type O was gateway band since they dealt mainly with gloomy and depressing topic, despite the obvious humorous undertone. It's hard to pick a favorite, but I'll go with Paranoid, an flawless production and much better than whoever did the original.