Shining
Shining

I’m only going to write the words Suicidal Depressive Black Metal once, so from this point, I’m going to use the acronym SDBM. You’ve been warned, constant reader. Shining was my introduction to this shadowed genre, I went through a devastating loss in 2013 and SDBM became my refuge. Bands like An Autumn for Crippled Children, Lifelover and Happy Days (whose recent album I reviewed within these hallowed pages). Shining has been the standard bearer for SDBM for years. Since 1998, as a matter of fact, Niklas Kvarforth released a slew of progressively fantastic albums including the awesome X: Varg utan flock and Redefining Darkness.

Now in 2023 we have a self-titled album with Shining. Historically when a band releases a self-titled album it’s seen as a statement of sorts. It’s a fist on the table, the pinnacle of a grand career, if I may be so bold. Is this Shining’s pinnacle? It could be because, with these six tracks, they’ve created a very complex and emotional album that drips with the essence of human suffering and pain. Time changes that go from modern Jazz to furious double bass Thrash and Nicholas Barker’s (ex Dimmu Borgir, ex Cradle of Filth) signature blasting.

Clocking in at 50.08 minutes, Shining utilizes every second to blow your fucking mind. The haunting opener “Avsändare okänd” switches effortlessly from a Black Metal attack to a subtle, yet absolutely brutal breakdown at 4.00 when it erupts into a pummeling experience throughout the rest of the track. “Snart är dom alla borta” begins with an acoustic guitar that counters the distortion. Starting at the 3.55 mark is a fucking beast of a solo, before the surge of punishment that is to follow and the tortured vocals of Niklas Kvarforth squeezing every boil from humanities festering carcass. It’s the album single “Allt för döden” that is the crux of this pitch-black slab of melancholy, featuring twisting riffs that infect your mind, a constant reader.

The album gets better and better as it continues on this path of madness with “Fidelis ad Mortem” featuring the talent of Mr. Andy LaRoque of his own and King Diamond fame. Closer “Den permanenta sömnen kallar” evolves around this mesmerizing, sick as a motherfucker riff before the drums come thrashing in, a savage punch to the face of Black Metal that slows abruptly around 6:00 minutes to let the song breathe before it starts to build intensity with another ear ripping solo. It ends as hauntingly as the album began.

Shining has built a massive piece of work with this self-titled release. They are an entity unto themselves and if you’ve never heard them, you really should; this album is coming to a stereo near you quickly. So prepare the ritual chamber, raise the red lights, and light the black flame. Raise the horns! Skóll!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeremy Beck
September 21st, 2023

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