Monday, January 1, 2018

Shining :" Varg Utan Flock"

These guys have been one of my favorite black metal bands, though over the years they have grown weary of being a black metal band.  opening riff is more rock than metal, though it has a ton of drive. The vocals are choked yell. The vocals are normally neck and neck with the guitars as the band's strong point. They do morph into more of a black metal feel, but I am not going to hold my breath in hopes this will be a black metal album. Though his band has been at the forefront of the depressive black metal scene so maybe I am supposed to be holding my breath with a noose. It breaks into a darker section with clean guitar. Still very well in the range of what fans of this band expect. The second song moves with a darker throb and has some raspy sung vocals that still keep to a more dismal mood, which is what you want from this band, along with a return to the kind of guitar playing that elevates them above their peers. They do blast back in a pretty savage display of metal in the song's third act. The song end with a great sonic build.

One of this band's strengths is that they pull from many influences outside of not only black metal, but meta as a whole. There is still plenty of muscle to songs like "Jar Ar Din Fiende" which is one of the more straight forward metallic offerings. Kvarforth does go into a more sung section here, but these are done with more grit than what we have heard from this band in the past. The guitar solos are stellar adding to the melodic range of the songs rather than just wanking for the sake of it. A more melodic section brings another layer of darkness to the song and the drumming tastefully displays some chops in the process. It doesn't sound like Kvarforth is up to the same destructive indulgences as these album has a very controlled and clean sound.

"Han Som Lurar Inom" buzzes to life from the ambiance. While it doesn't run off of blast beats it still has a more black metal feel as it builds. There is a tense dissonance. It breaks down into a deliberate bass line. This song is followed by a piano interlude which doesn't serve much purpose unless it's to transition into the acoustic guitar that opens "Mot Aokigahara". The vocals are goth low riding the line between being spoken and sung, until they move up into actually singing. The song itself feels like a cross between Type O  Negative with Neurosis and is broken up by a more Pink Floydish guitar solo.The song roars back into a more blackened explosion. Lyrically it's mainly in Swedish with some of the spoken vocals in English.

After this the album ends with two covers, both of songs I liked the originals the first being "In Cold Light of Morning". His thick accent gives the lyrics a less androgynous feel than the original. It feels more like Psychic Tv and takes on a more folk feel in the way the arrangement has been stripped down. Next up is a cover of "Cry Little Sister " from the Lost Boys soundtrack. I might put this is my top 100 songs of all time. However they do not give it the same punch of Gerard Mcmann's version which is not heavy but worked off a more sensual punch. The vocals here are raspy, but it is instrumentation here that is lacking. But if this is the albums weakest moment it's still solid even if it falls behind some of their classic work I will round it up to a 9. This comes out the 5th on Season of Mist

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