Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shining:"8 ½ – Feberdrömmar i vaket tillstånd"

I pretty much wrote the band off as having drifted off into cock rock after "Redefining Darkness". Fodd Forlorare was a far in the melodic rock direction I could stand to see the band venture and then they pushed it too far into power ballads. So it was a big surprise to hear what I found on their new album that is stripped down raw black metal in the vein of Burzum. I think some of this was done because in the studio the band was reduced to a three piece, forcing them to get back to basics.

The change of tone is noted from the onset of "Terres Des Anonymes" or Land Anonymous, it has the cold "necro" sound, but with more room for atmospherics so often feels more like a Nachtmystium album when it comes to the mix though the songs tend to drone on like Burzum. While I'm over joyed to hear a return to the caustic heaviness of their earlier work, the lack of the metal god guitar solos is missed. There are some rock grooves on this album but the sound more like Celtic Frost than Guns N Roses. There is a dirge like drone to the final act of the opener.

"szabadulj meg onmagatol" or rid itself, finds him taking on more of an Immortal like croak, that at sometimes also sounds like Mayhem, with ghostly moans floating in the chaotic backdrop. They get into the blasties here which is where I began to suspect the drums are programmed , but as a whole the album is produced in such a way this fact is well hidden.

"ett Liv Utan Mening" or a life without meaning, finds them in more familar territory with an acoustic intro that Kvarforth grunt and gurgles over. The song gets heavier but keeps a balance with the dark melodic progression they are know for. So even though is this a change in sound the same way Cowboys From Hell to Vulgar was a change, you still have enough shades of the glory days to hold on to.I like the effects on his voice here, he never really sings in his clean voice on this album and at times the production on the vocals is more like Circle of Ouroborus.

This album is more lo-fi and raw than anything they have done since say the Eerie Cold, they still manage to blend lots of textures and layers , even though they are worn around the edges. On songs like "Self destructive emissaries", the ebb and flow from the more haunting passages to the grime of the nasty darkness are well balanced making one another seem wither more beautiful or more vile depending on the juxtaposition.  "Black Industrial Misery" fires off with the venomous howl of Kvarforth, whose harsh vocals have found a new authenticity. This is one of the albums more straight forward songs, as it hardly lets up its onslaught.

The whole depressive suicidal vibe is recaptured on " Through Corridors of Oppression " that starts off feeling like funeral doom, which I always thought was the next door neighbor to dsbm. but it's more like an outro piece than a full fledged song with a defined verse or chorus. I'll give this album a 10 as it's perfect for long walks in the rain and is a welcome return for the band after the mis-step of the last album.  

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