|Stylistic origins||Gothic rock, alternative rock, heavy metal|
|Cultural origins||Late 1990s Europe|
|Typical instruments||Electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, keyboards|
Dark rock (or dark alternative) is a broad style of music that, as with gothic rock, alternative rock and heavy metal, generally shares the same musical and lyrical tones to varying degrees, though not directly considered a part of either the goth or metal subcultures.
Dark rock music accompanies a variety of concepts and musical styles, though its fundamental characteristics include morose and romantic lyrics often dealing with the subjects of love and death, as well as haunting and gloomy musical atmospheres. Dark rock uses more gothic and alternative rock elements than heavy metal, and compositions use more electronic nuances (especially synthetic pianos) without abandoning metal entirely.
Dave Thompson, in his book The Dark Reign of Gothic Rock, sums up the vagueness of dark rock as follows:
If Dark Rock, Gothic Rock, call-it-what-you-will rock, can be summed up in any single phrase, the music, its makers and its story have never heard it. In twenty years of development, and two decades beforehand of antecedents, the only common thread is surely the individualism that any artist, in any field, must strive towards.
The term "dark rock" has been in use since at least the early eighties, at first to describe some negative aspect of rock and roll. For instance, The Mass Media: Opposing Viewpoints journal reported dark rock as "popular music that promotes violent and sexually explicit messages in the lyrics." Despite this previous usage, Paradise Lost is sometimes credited with creating the genre of dark rock in the mid-1990s, as the band members often described their music as dark rock in interviews. In the second half of the 1990s, heavy metal groups like Secret Discovery and Paradise Lost expanded their repertoire with modern elements, producing a more melodic, gloomier sound that currently is typically classified as dark rock. 
In Finland at the same time, a very similar dark rock style was developed by bands such as HIM who from the early 1990s fused the haunting and romantic themes of gothic rock with the heavier musical qualities of gothic metal, most prevalent on their 1995 EP 666 Ways to Love: Prologue, and their 1997 debut album Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666.
- Thompson, Dave (2002). The dark reign of gothic rock: in the reptile house with the Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus and The Cure. Helter Skelter. p. 245. ISBN 9781900924481.
- Modl, Tom (1988). "The Mass media: opposing viewpoints". In Neal Bernards. Opposing viewpoints series (Greenhaven Press) 23: 123. ISBN 9780899084251.
- "Paradise Lost; Bandgeschichte" (in german). VIVA.tv. Retrieved 2012-08-25. "Der Frage nach der Zuordnung zu einem musikalischen Stil begegnete Sänger Nick Holmes mit der eigenen Genredefinition Dark Rock"
- "İnterview with Paradise Lost". Şebokolik Magazine. sebokolik.com. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
- "Interview mit Nick Holmes". Zillo Musikmagazin (in German) (7/8): 27. 1999.
- Bukszpan, Daniel; Dio, Ronnie James (2003). The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal. Barnes & Noble Publishing. p. 185. ISBN 978-0760742181. "Their more recent work minimizes their connection to metal and has at times become almost straight goth - the band members nowadays refer to their music simply as dark rock."
- "Darkwave". CMJ New Music Monthly. April 1999. "Given these new elements, darkwave is being used more and more frequently to describe the dark rock, dance and folk sounds emanating from different factions around the goth-influenced globe."
- "H.I.M. at MusicMight". Musicmight.com. Retrieved 2011-07-19.
- "HIM: Venus Doom | CD Kritik". Pooltrax.com. 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2012-04-05. "Die finnische Band um den charismatischen Sänger Ville Valo haben sich seit 1995 dem interessanten Genre "Dark Rock" verschrieben."