Shining were not a band to me until I got this review. I was totally unaware that they existed. Since then I have got very familiar with their back catalogue and their “controversial” outlook and themes. It with that said that these are not a happy or fun band; there is little entertainment to be had and at best every album is a deep, dark reflection on being depressed and embracing it.
They promote suicide and self harm; that has huge issues however we get the taboo out in the open. You get honesty. Shining are the most honest metal band I have heard in years.
“IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends” is no exception. It plays with black metal’s use of atmosphere and dark tones to create a beautiful picture of one man’s pain. This is weaponized and made into a cutting black metal assault. That is some feat; everything is in Swedish. I don’t speak Swedish but you can literally feel the tone, and the DSBM intent of Kvarforth.
Shining seem to be beyond the trite BS of others in the scene and the “conventions” that can hurt a lot of great bands. Yes, their themes are very problematic but a lot of art will be seen at some point as problematic. I love this album and all their work. This is metal as art and is written to make you reflect and think.
The overall tone is dark but brooding; the clean guitar parts are beautiful and eerie tucked by a thumping and melodic bass. Each track has break outs from its clean parts with either very Swedish death metal guitar lines or the blackest of black metal blast beats. Their influences are clear without being akin to them.
The album production is top notch with a clean sheen that makes the tracks pop. I am all for the polished black metal and personally dislike the “we recorded this in two days in my shed over a few cans” approach to black metal.
“Vilja & dröm” is the first of the heavy black metal tracks. With a crushing guitar and drums combo; there is little doubt that they are not messing around. But the sound breaks with a gorgeous melodic verse with the chilling vocals of ghoul. Man, I love this. It’s so dark and so simple. It’s unreal! “Människotankens vägglösa rum” plays with the Dimmu Borgir sound to create a familiar yet unique sound. If you like that kind of black metal then boom, this is for you.
Contrast that with “Inga broar kvar att bränna” this is super melodic and slow to even get going but the bass work from Christian Larsson in the intro does it for me. I loved this one; the vocals kick in and it is strange to hear a melodic song hitting harder than Darkthrone. Outstanding solos in this one too. The lads are killing it and make the whole track a stand out.
“Besök från i(ho)nom” is very like the last track but more aggressive. Larsson is great on bass; he can actually play very well. This sense of ethereal calm is smashed with a heavy chorus and frantic solo breaks.
Overall, this is an amazing record. However, there is a lot to get offended at and if you do, right on, you know that going in. Shining are one of the most unique bands I’ve heard in some time so that may throw you too but hang in and get into what the lads are trying to do. It’s metal as art and that can be off putting. It’s great once you take it for what it is.
- Den påtvingade tvåsamheten (Instrumental)
- Vilja & dröm
- Människotankens vägglösa rum
- Inga broar kvar att bränna
- Besök från i(ho)nom
Niklas Kvarforth – Vocals, Guitars
Peter Huss – Guitars
Christian Larsson – Bass
Rainer Tuomikanto – Drums
Euge Valovirta – Guitars
“IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends” is out April 20th, 2015 via Season of Mist