The first wave of British post-punk included Gang of Four, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Joy Division, who placed less emphasis on art than their US counterparts and more on the dark emotional qualities of their music. Bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, The Cure, and The Sisters of Mercy, moved increasingly in this direction to found Gothic rock, which had become the basis of a major sub-culture by the early 1980s. Similar emotional territory was pursued by Australian acts like The Birthday Party and Nick Cave. Members of Bauhaus and Joy Division explored new stylistic territory as Love and Rockets and New Order respectively. Another early post-punk movement was the industrial music developed by British bands Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, and New York-based Suicide, using a variety of electronic and sampling techniques that emulated the sound of industrial production and which would develop into a variety of forms of post-industrial music in the 1980s.
The second generation of British post-punk bands that broke through in the early 1980s, including The Fall, The Pop Group, The Mekons, Echo and the Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes, tended to move away from dark sonic landscapes. Arguably the most successful band to emerge from post-punk was Ireland's U2, who incorporated elements of religious imagery together with political commentary into their often anthemic music, and by the late 1980s had become one of the biggest bands in the world. Although many post-punk bands continued to record and perform, it declined as a movement in the mid-1980s as acts disbanded or moved off to explore other musical other areas, but it has continued to influence the development of rock music and has been seen as a major element in the creation of the alternative rock movement.