Saturday, December 23, 2017

Shining (SWE)

ISR Music Magazine 



"Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends."

I really like the way the band SHINING (SWE) and their songs are put together. They're not trying to live in the past of black metal history. They don't look like evil lost pandas.

There is no corpse paint, but there is real blood and plenty of it.

They still have the baser, malevolent elements of black metal, with the all-encompassing spirit of misery, the self-mutilation & cutting, and the nihilist lyrics.

But it's more modernized. Almost pretty. A pretty death.

Shining (SWE) has been around in one form or another since 1996. But due to the mental instability of lead singer and founder Niklas Kvarforth aka Ghoul, they have gone through countless manifestations, labels, and band members in the past 20 years.

Since 2005 their sound has really evolved into a very professional ensemble, capable of superior technical skill and instrumental surprises.

Many consider; Shining - "Halmstad" from 2007 their best studio album. It captures what I want to describe here far more eloquently than I can in words. If that one doesn't grab you try Shining - "The Eerie Cold" from 2005, that one is sure to impress. Ghoul's dramatic vocals are front and center.

They are a very melodic band with sweet acoustic guitar passages, and then power riffs that are almost anthemic.

It's not "pop metal", but there's a ton of solid rock and roll going on here.

Sans the lead singer's overt self-mutilation and glorification of suicide and drug addiction, you'd think you were listening to any other groove-metal band with power riffs and atmospheric bridge sections.

"Någonting är jävligt fel" (Something is Very Wrong), and the 2009 live concert DVD (SHINING -"Live in Brasov, Romania") show their facility for smart composition and arrangements.

There is clever decision-making at work here.

Song passages ebb and flow naturally and inventively. They are always tightly rehearsed, and recorded and mixed professionally.

The interview portion of the aforementioned Romania Live DVD shows lead singer and founder Ghoul (Niklas Kvarforth) to be visionary, witty, and articulate, and definitely no poser. He is a deeply committed vocalist capable of frightening rage and then emotional despair.

The Romania DVD is their best live concert performance footage, clean sound, interviews, and visuals from 2009. The guitar solos are very clean and melodic and the players can shred when required. The drummer is clear with the double bass-drum patterns, and with his drum fills. He grooves really hard with perfect timing. There is a clear separation of each instrument and cymbal crash in the live mix.

With titles like; For the God Below, Submit to Self-Destruction, The Eerie Cold, and Endless Solitude, Shining has a sound that since 2005 has redefined the word; darkness.

To me, this is what black metal should strive to be like going forward. It would help more people understand the genre. Not like any true black metalist would care. Your understanding would only undermine my misery, so please don't understand.

"Despair, is my Inheritance."

 By Mark Möritz-Rabson and James Clark

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