posted on 2/2010 By:
Shining is never an easy band to sit through, which I imagine is entirely the point most of the time. Besides select moments of IV: The Eerie Cold, I can’t recall anything that’s really stood out about them, other than having a penchant for melody and some surprisingly adventurous leads, as well as releasing new music at a rather prolific rate. I’ve heard rumors that this album was rushed in order to fulfill contractual obligations (which makes little sense, considering the delays getting this release out), and if this is true, then Shining does some of its best work when time is of the essence, because much of the material on VI: Klagopsalmer is stunning.
As blatantly depressive and misanthropic as past releases have been, something is definitely different about VI. There is no doubt that the morbidity and mortality has shifted focus to something simultaneously brighter and dirtier; this is the bleary-eyed collective of Shining on a cloudy day, not just Niklas Olsson laying bleeding on the ground at twilight. The production has a lot to do with this shift, to put it simply, there are times the guitars sound raunchy as all hell, but this is totally a positive thing. All of the riffs are so up front and in your face, sometimes searing with red-hot rage, and other times pompously laying out caustic black n’ roll with an air of carefree arrogance, like on opening ripper “Vilseledda Barnasjälars Hemvist”. Kvarforth is in excellent, snarling form, content to spit and growl his lines in a way that makes you feel like he’s seething only a few inches away from your face, close enough to smell hatred and liver-shriveling alcohol on his breath.
My fellow writer John Ray stated in a conversation he and I had, “Kvarforth has always made great use of the balance of creepy ambient passages within and between rippin’ riffs, and assorted heaviness in the service of the story”, and this is where VI takes a crazy turn towards the negative. The track in question is the fifth song, and instrumental called “Krossade Drömmar Och Brutna Löften”, which is five minutes of sparse string picking, tedium, and numbing plainness. At first the track seems utterly out of place among the rest of the straight-up violence and majesty the previous tracks spewed forth, but upon further inspection and multiple listening, the song makes a decent if not distracting segue which leads into the lush and dynamic “Total Utfrysning”, a beast of a tune at nearly seventeen expansive minutes, blending the extremes of light and dark with gut-wrenching riffs and melodies. The inclusion of clean vocals at unexpected times throughout the album might also be a bit off-putting, but the guitar solos instantly remind me just how talented and startlingly progressive this band truly is, no matter what the lineup may be at the time.
Perhaps image has overshadowed the music, and maybe the entire concept of Shining is a bit melodramatic even within a scene that thrives on drama, but with songs as unapologetically catchy and layered with textured depth like “Plågoande O'helga Plågoande” and the graceful “Ohm-Sommar Med Siv,” the artistry is undeniable. Sure, it does meander a bit here and there, not every moment is compelling, and they’ve included new elements that could have been utilized with a smoother integration, but they never take the safe or easy route to getting a point across. VI: Klagopsalmer is a damn fine hunk o’ plastic that shows there’s still plenty of gas in the tank, and with Född Förlorare looming very close on the horizion, Shining has shoved yet another stake through the heart of black metal, turning eyes to whites, and gushing wicked riffs like wrists sliced with serrated blades. Imperfect as always, and just as nasty as ever. Shine on, you miserable bastards.
Register to post comments.
V - Halmstad (Niklas Angående Niklas)