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SHINING – MASTERS OF THEIR OWN DESPONDENT EXTRAVAGANCE ON “X – VARG UTAN FLOCK”

Despite only being six tracks and forty minutes in length, Shining’s message is short but sweet. The unfeeling characteristics of Black Metal working as the perfect backdrop for the band’s disparate tapestry. Sitting halfway between Punk and Metal, Shining’s opener of “Svart Ostoppbar Eld” brings their oxymoronic jam sense of Black Metal, a genre whose riffs normally feel regimented as Niklas Kvarforth’s first lyrics are vomited out. Yet just as quickly as the maelstrom of movement appears it’s replaced with a quiet stillness as cavernous cleans envelop the listener before the first of many inspired solo’s. What Shining always succeed in is creating the claustrophobie atmosphere that something could jump out at any moment. A musical bump in the night if you will.

There are of course moments when the beast reveals itself in full view the opening gambit of “Jag Ar Din Fiende‘s” swaggering guitar riff confidently struts in plain sight. Anchored by Peter Huss and Euge Valovirta inspired guitar work, the track is elevated with a solo that would have even John Petrucci’s ear pricked. Yet what I have always found enrapturing about Shining is not their bravado of when they get going but how they get there. You know exactly what you’re going to get, yet simultaneously have no idea what is coming with each release. The demure “Mot Aokigahara” opens with Folk laden acoustic guitar and mournful vocals, textured with simplistic clean picking that merely changes by a semitone all that is needed to create a mysterious and very much malevolent tone to the track before returning with grand finale guitar solo.

Initially irksome “Gyllene Portnarnas Bro” has well and truly ear wormed its way into my subconscious and sure enough become a favourite offering of mine. A simple technique but the small bend in the guitar lead, lends this lachrymose characteristic as though the melody itself is moaning. Simple changes to solid songs, these are the band’s ace in the hole. Shining have created the perfect oximoron of extravagant minimalism. Using simplistic riffs, on the surface the band might seem almost dull yet at its crux, dynamics, chord changes and atmosphere lead to this being quite the opposite. With this being Shining’s tenth offering you could argue that the band might not have moved genre specific mountains but have mastered their own despondent extravagance.

4/5

Shining’s brand new album is out January 5th via Season of Mist and you can pick up a copy here!

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