For the last half of the ’90s, the Blackend double-disc series has served as a veritable scene scrapbook for the economically challenged black-metal consumer. Blackend IV is no exception, offering previously released tracks from the good (Emperor, Behemoth, Enslaved), the bad (Hecate Enthroned, Usurper) and the ugly (all relative, but the most superlative here are Carpathian Forest and Ashes) in black metal, the latter-most being an ambivalently pejorative term. As has been the trend (among others) in the scene the past few years, a few bands presented here (Primordial, Peccatum) border on gothic-metal. And for all you closet Satanists out there, Blackend IV equally does the deed justice.
Metal Blade Records, 2828 Cochran St., Suite 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065-2793; http://www.metalblade.com