One One One
When I finally stumbled upon Norway’s Shining a few years back, it was perhaps the most joyous discovery I’d come across in music for some time. ‘Blackjazz’ was a terrifying monster of an album, a perfect meld of black metal aesthetics with industrial precision, and extreme avant-garde and jazz tendencies. There was absolutely everything to love and yet fear from the savage psychosis of ‘Fisheye’, the huge anthem ‘Madness and the Damage Done’, the densely thunderous horror of ‘Blackjazz Deathtrance’ and the sublime cover of King Crimson’s ‘21 st Century Schizoid Man’.
Now that they’re a little better known, there’s now sufficient enough evidence to say that maybe I viewed their new album ‘One One One’ through the bleary glaze of hype. After all, delivering an album like ‘Blackjazz’ and with a sound near enough unique to their own, you wouldn’t bet against them. But ‘One One One’ is a different beast altogether, with the longest song coming in at just four and a half minutes, and with the whole thing sounding much more accessible indeed. Jørgen Munkeby is still prominent as ever with his menacing schizophrenic vocals and his flourishes on the saxophone, but in comparison to ‘Blackjazz‘, this is short short short. That’s not an entirely bad thing, as from the off this album broods with malicious intensity, from the lead single ‘I Won’t Forget’ and ‘My Dying Drive’, and all in all its still an excellent set of tracks. The album does suffer slightly though from its significant loss of progressiveness. Shining have always excelled previously because of their unpredictability, that one thing that really makes a band stand out. True, given their roots purely as a jazz band, it would be churlish to say they didn’t switch again to a more straightforward style unconsciously –but without question its this that holds ‘One One One’ from being a great album, rather than just a good album.
Still, I would still recommend people to check out this record, and Shining fans shouldn’t balk entirely – not many bands can go down this route and still sound fantastic at what they do, and if anything, Shining are now catchier than ever. I first heard ‘I Won’t Forget’ a couple of weeks back and its still in my head now. A true mark of a band people should remember. But I’m willing to bet more people will commiserate, rather than celebrate Shining escaping the proverbial lunatic asylum – albeit on a leash.
Shining – I Won’t Forget
Buy/download ‘One One One’ here (MP3/FLAC)