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Beauty in Darkness | 5 | review | goth | metal | compilation | Lollipop

Beauty in Darkness

Vol. 5 (Nuclear Blast)
by Scott Hefflon

Beauty in Darkness is a favorite series of mine because I learn about the flipside I usually don't get exposed to, and it gives me something to recommend to people to get the whole picture. The whole dark picture, that is.

While it's pretty clear that American Goths like to dance and dislike guitars (but make exceptions for Ministry and Manson, and Cradle of Filth, for some reason), the rest of the world revels in the many shades of darkness, be it tainted with the slow chug of monstrous guitars or air conditioned with cold industrial keys or wallowing in slow, Gothy circles of despair. And Beauty in Darkness has it all. Packed into these 18 songs covering 78 minutes, man, there's creepy and brutal and eerie and sexy and every combination you can imagine, and plenty you can't until you hear these dark masters.

I come from a metal background, so I'm always interested in industrial bands that don't just sound like lame metal and Goth that isn't shimmering and kinda sexy but otherwise just a Tori Amos knock-off with a flair for Hot Topic fashion. Highlights here include black metal gods Dimmu Borgir petting Skinny Puppy, and Tiamat vocalist Johan Edlund's new pure Goth rock project, Lucyfire, focusing on the dark underbelly of the rock life like no one has since Mötley Crüe were L.A. sleaze boyz playing and living "Merry-Go-Round" and "Starry Eyes." If you chuckled at the Crüe reference, you obviously never listened to Too Fast for Love very closely and your lack of perspective is not my problem, got it? Oh, and it turns out US newcomers Tapping the Vein actually cover a Tori Amos song, so the crossover is a lot more real that I'd feared... And solid contributions by well-respected dark forces like Therion, Project Pitchfork, Theatre of Tragedy, Amorphis, Lacuna Coil, and Love Like Blood round out the package alongside eye-opening newcomers like To/Die/For, Entwine and Within Temptation. Any complaints I'd have are really just "What about so-and-so?" pettiness, and I figure it was more a matter of who had cool tracks available, not who Nuclear Blast is buddies with. Glaring omissions to these ears are, say, Tristania and Dark Tranquillity, but that brings up the whole gruff-voiced male roar contrasted by angelic fluttering subgenre, and that's probably best left to those able to consider Carcass a pretty standard rock band, dig? Others dancing with the Devil in the pale moonlight: The 69 Eyes, L'ame Immortelle, Nevermore, Crematory, Silke Bischoff, Mandragora Scream.
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