Various Artists

Beauty in Darkness, Vol. 4

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Pooling resources from several labels (primarily Nuclear Blast and Century Media), Beauty in Darkness, Vol. 4 continues the series, drawing upon the elegantly sinister sounds of goth metal, symphonic black metal, and progressive death metal. Much of this music is surprisingly melodic and often quite atmospheric, with some bands actually emphasizing synths more than raging metal guitars. However, this won't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed death metal's evolution, as bands pushing past the genre's limitations continue to branch out into alternate realms of darkness. The presence of Danzig ("Five Finger Crawl") underlines that band's later work as an unheralded influence on this style, overlooked in large part because of their origins outside the death metal underground. Other big names here include Tiamat, In Flames, Lacuna Coil, Dark Tranquility, Therion, and Theatre of Tragedy; there are also some up-and-coming artists featured in hopes of increasing their marketplace exposure.

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