Who: Shining (Norway)
What: Their new album, “One One One”.
When: Released April 23rd.
Where: Bandcamp, iTunes and most major music retailers.
Alright so. Lets get this started by me saying I have nowhere the amount of patience, presence of mind or musical knowledge to adequately review this album. Shining operate on some otherworldly level that leaves me standing seventy leagues below with my jaw wide open and eyes glazed over. So therefore I am going to stick with just trying to give some rough pointers through the maelstrom.
Shining started life as a jazz band but then quickly shifted into some demonic hybrid of industrial, metal, prog and of course, jazz. They gained international recognition on their last album, “Blackjazz”, which still remains as one of the most insane and intriguing things I’ve listened through. “Blackjazz” pushed my limits of what I considered listenable and required the better part of a year for me to actually unwind my head from the mess that album left it in.
Compared to that, “One One One” is like a wonderful frolic in a grassy meadow, complete with wide-eyed fauna and a romantic sunset. However, it will still make your parents hate you and possibly question your life choices.
As you’ve probably heard from all the major outlets, “One One One” show Shining taking a much more stripped down and focused approach to songwriting. The word “approachable” has been getting thrown around, along with “more listenable” and more “groove-centric”. All of that is completely true. This is miles more accessible than “Blackjazz” and has the focus on really fucking catchy songs as apposed to straight industrial mind-melding.
It is a very different sound, but it also a pretty damn awesome sound. It’s still abrasive, frothing at the throat industroo-jazz-metal, now just with grooves for miles and a never ending Necronomicon of catchy riffs. They’ve really pulled themselves in and the result is some of the best songwriting and musicality in the genre right now. It’s a killer album that I’m still only just starting to get my head around. Give me a couple more weeks and I might be able to tell you something more detailed.
And if you wondering, the satanic saxophone is still there, shrieking through the tortured screams of the other instruments straight to the base of your spine. Brass have never sounded so damn evil. This is in combination with some really fucking cool guitar work that makes the jazz experience clear.
The opening half of the album plays to the more listenable industrial-groove style songs while the back half has a little bit more of that batshit insanity we’ve come to expect start leaking through. Starting at about “Blackjazz Rebels”, Shining really get down to business and have them operating not just on another level but in another dimension entirely.
So if you really dug “Blackjazz”, you’ll find more than enough to enjoy here and if “Blackjazz” scared the shit out of you, then “One One One” might provide a safer jumping-off point.
Shining will be launching into a North American tour in the fall. See y’all in Toronto.