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Generous boxed set by German gothic metal pioneers - 95%

kluseba, June 13th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2010, 2CD + DVD, Massacre Records (Limited edition, Boxed set)

Crematory's Black Pearls is a massive boxed set honoring the twentieth anniversary of the most important German gothic metal band. This release includes two discs with thirty-two songs from the band's early gothic death metal records over its most important commercial successes in the early years of the millennium and its latest gothic thrash metal output released earlier in the same year.

The positive thing is that the thirty-two songs aren't in any chronological or anti-chronological order but put together in a clever way that makes both discs sound like actual studio records. One gets to hear the band's critically acclaimed tracks like the gloomy and slow genre anthem ''Tears of Time'', the dynamic and melodic ''The Fallen'' dominated by clean vocals and the brutal yet catchy comeback hit single ''Greed''. On the other side, this compilation also includes forgotten pearls like the aggressive ''Eyes of the Suffering'' from the band's debut release, the group's first success with German lyrics in form of the melancholic ''Ist es wahr?'' and the simplistic moody ballad ''Perils in the Wind'' that still closes most concerts of the band. One can also find the popular cover of Sisters of Mercy's ''Temple of Love'' and more recently a cover of Depeche Mode's ''Black Celebration'' where the band honors its idols by cleverly adapting their original sounds to Crematory's charismatic DNA.

The only downside of the compilation might be that it doesn't offer any exclusive or new material. On the other side, I prefer it to be this way and have never liked bands who lured you into buying an entire full-priced compilation just to add two new songs to your collection.

The additional DVD is also quite generous and complements the two and a half hours of music brilliantly. The band offers twenty-one music videos from its early years until its last studio album released a few months before this compilation saw the light of day. Some of the videos are quite moody and have a great old school gothic metal vibe, others are more colorful and vivid while others only show some half-naked ladies dancing along to the band's music. Also included are two festival appearances where one can see the band perform a total of seventeen songs, some of which aren't included on the first two discs and have rarely been played in concert like the gripping ''A Story About''. As if that weren't enough, one even gets some backstage impressions from the band.

The whole thing is completed by a simple but stylish cover artwork and a detailed booklet. If you only had to buy one Crematory record, this should be the one as it represents everything the band stands for. New supporters, occasional fans and even faithful collectors should purchase this generous package alike. It underlines Crematory's status as one of the greatest gothic metal bands and pioneers of its genre in Germany. If you like what you're hearing here, I would also recommend purchasing the massive Inception boxed set released three years later which includes Crematory's first ten studio albums.