I have no idea why, but Shining are one of those bands who I’ve never really checked out before. I saw them live once, maybe 2005-ish at an alldayer in London. I was completely pissed, so I don’t remember much about the day, nevermind their performance… and that was it, until the recent single/radio track, Gyllene Portarnas Bro.
If you’re a fan of the band already, you probably don’t need my opinion, but for the rest of you that have missed out, this is a fucking amazing album.
So much is made of the mental demons that forge frontman Niklas Kvarfort’s creativity, and that does reflect in some of the music on here.
Some of it though, is full on vitriolic Black Metal and other times, it’s like waiting for a ticking bomb to go off, or like waiting for the scary bit in a film. You know it’s coming, but you still jump anyway.
And it is that extra edge that makes this album stand out, mainly as you have no idea what to expect…. And that uniqueness, comes into play from track 3, Jag Är Din Fiende, onwards, with Niklas sort of crooning his way through part of the song, and producer Andy La Rocque tempering that with some sublime guitar work.
Tolvtusenfyrtioett is the biggest surprise, with guest musician, 68 year old Jazz pianist, Olli Ahvenlahti, playing, what sounds to me, like the soundtrack to the end of a war, or the destruction of a concentration camp and the piano is the sad soundtrack to all the atrocities that have occurred… I hope that all makes sense.
And that just leaves the epic finale, Mot Aokigahara, which begins with acoustic guitars and deep mumbled talking… that makes way for an angelic vocal and a stunning guitar solo that wouldn’t be out of place on a Pink Floyd album… the song then drifts off, before finally exploding just after the 6 minute mark. The surge in power is unbelievable and I’m left sitting here thinking, “why the fuck have I not listened to them before?”