Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shining : Redefining Darkness

The title doesn't lie. There is truth in advertising here. Darkness has been redefined here as something much lighter than what I normally think of and lighter than Shining's more definitive work like " the eerie cold" and "Halmstad". It's more of the same from The "fodd forlorare" period, though with a slicker production value and not coming out of the gate so blatantly black n roll.

In some ways the band sees where they need to go but can't synch there creative gps to get there in the most concise manner and the opening track is case in point. " Du, Mitt kontsverk" blasts of at a rapid pace akin to black metal but lacks the depth and destiny the band has displayed in the past as part of their sound . It might sound more fitting on the more well adjusted Enslaved's album. Kvarforth is grunting just as harshly as ever but it lacks the anguish and personality that is his trademark. The guitar comes in to give this song it's most redeeming quality. When the acoustic breakdown comes it feels very color by numbers though the clean vocals are improved and better produced.

"ghastly silence" Is forgiven for not being as heavy as their early work because it does succeed at creating a mood similar to "eerie cold" though here its like they have been taking their medication as the depressive and suicidal elements are toned down. In fact the new Nachtmystium conveys those feeling much more convincingly than here. The spoken section is not desperate sounding or depraved but rather goth...think My dying bride. But the song has a good sense of movement. The clean vocals are a little too emo Katatonia , sure these guys mke emotional music but it's cutting in a more destructive sense. The sax blurs the lines between their Norse counterparts , the black jazz ones who I ignored their existence since this was the only Shining for me.

The ugh at the beginning of "Han Som Manniskan" is very familiar and I'm not talking Celtic Frost. Once agin the guitar solos which shreds with a capital s comes in and saves the black n roll. The growls are a little more convincing , my only problem with the songs which brings back the bath tub moans is its a little derivative. The riff at the midway point is pretty killer and the guitar that follows it wins me over on this one. The solos are frequent which I'm o.k with because they are taking it to the next level. So I begin to think more of my problems with this album are production based as the grit is gone.

Hearing him sing in English is a little weird. "Hail Darkness Hail" has the ghostly vocal chant that reminds me Andy Laroque produced this and is why the guitars sound great for a King Diamond record, but I think they need rougher edges at times here. But give Andy credit as he know how to produce the hell out of some vocals. The spoken word section in the middle breakdown takes me back to their glory days though the clean vocals are bland from a melodic sense until the harmony comes in. This album needs to be heard by any metal guitarist who wants to learn how to play tasteful leads. By this point I have accepted the fact like Enslaved there is nothing black metals out this album.

There's a pointless piano ditty before " For the god below" . By the time this one rolls around I'm thinking the. Whole acoustic thing is becoming overdone. A very Enslaved riff comes in, though the vocal pattern reminds me of Dissection , until the weepy Katatonia singing returns. I appreciated the Dissection worship, why should Watain and Thulcandra be the only bands with good taste. The solo around the four minute mark is the first one that I feel is slight filler, where the others really added something and the embelishments after this part are tasty. The lyrics to this songs as a love song to Satan is cute. The line about his devotion to evil I like. The solo at the last minute and a half is pretty epic and I don't use that term lightly. The solos steal the show on this one.

This might not be the direction I think the band should go in,but it's not bad I rounded the score down Becuase I think there is a lot of recycling from "fodd forlorare",which I and of its self was a great album, the riffs had more grit which made up for the formulaic Opeth clean vocal sections. I love real singing, I think there's some great singing with personality on this album, but like Opeth you know it's right around the corner and while not as trite as the old Killswitch Engage good cop bad cop exchanges it sometimes feels like these dynamics could have been explored to a greater extent . So taking this into consideration as well as they fact this was once a great dsbm band who longer makes dsbm , I'll give this one a 8.5 and see how it grows on the first song lead is once I get past the first minute and a half of Enslaved. But I lead own the new Enslve dso give me a depressed Shinging and I'll be happily morose again.

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