Various Artists Music of the Shadows Series
Grade
A
 
Also Try
The Cure
Cocteau Twins
Attrition

Remember K-Tel records? The TV commercials and all the cheesiness that went with the K-Tel name? I do, and if someone was to tell me that K-Tel released the best series of gothic rock compilations in history, I would have proclaimed him or her an idiot.

But it's true; K-Tel's Music of the Shadows series is an excellent overview of the genre. While there are some key artists missing (The Cure, Joy Division, and Dead Can Dance come to mind), I assume that K-Tel couldn't get the rights for those bands. If you are already a fan of gothic music, the Music of the Shadows compilations are excellent because they feature a lot of great songs in one place. If you are new or interested in the genre, you simply cannot ask for a better introduction.

Volume 1: Goth features gothic and death rock. The classic artists are covered, but the album avoids cliched choices. For example, Bauhaus is represented by Dark Entries rather than Bela Lugosi's Dead, the Stairway to Heaven of goth. While I disagree with some of the song choices, overall I have to give credit to the compilers for going with songs that haven't been run into the ground.

Volume 2: Darkwave is a collection of ethereal artists. To be honest, I have a divided opinion on ethereal darkwave. I love the overall sound, but too many bands in the genre make what sounds like a gloomy muddle. Thankfully the choices here are not at all boring, and the album flows smoothly. The odd person out is Cruxshadows, who belong more on the Goth album than on this one, as they are more of a straight-ahead gothic rock band. Even so, I like the Cruxshadows so I am glad that they were featured somewhere in this series. This set also includes tracks by Lycia, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, and the Cocteau Twins.

Volume 3: Industrial continues the series by featuring an excellent mix of industrial artists. Unlike many industrial compilations, the choices here are pretty eclectic. I still feel that Skinny Puppy is a glaring omission on this album, and ideally Nine Inch Nails would replace the Gravity Kills track. But it is still a good mix, featuring My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Apoptygma Bezerk, and Attrition, among others.

In short, buy these albums. They are well worth your money and a great starting point for a collection of the genre.

- - Ruthven
website: http://gothic.vei.net

(Editor's note: If you are having trouble finindg thisalbum, try ordering it from Projekt.com.)

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