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Wow. That is what I have to say about this release. I’ve been a fan of Shining for years but this release amazed me. Kvarforth can be considered the brain behind the music of Shining since he formed the band in 1996 at the age of 12 and have been playing most of the instruments on the records as well as being the vocalist. I must admit that the first albums have not really been much in my taste and Shinings fourth album “The Eerie Cold” that was released in year 2005 was probably their breakthrough. The band has a lot of progressive elements in their music and the band is also a part of the dsbm – depressive/suicidal – black metal wave and you can definitely hear that on the bands releases. “Halmstad” was the fifth album and considered the best that they have ever recorded. I agree that “Halmstad” is a fantastic album that I love deeply myself and I must say that “Redefining Darkness” is about as good as “Halmstad”.
I’ve heard a lot of criticism towards this release and I do not really understand why that is. “Klagopsalmer” and “Född förlorare” were released after “Halmstad” but they never really came near the great experience that “Halmstad” was. The acoustic passages, the catchy basslines and the varied drums along guitar solos and Kvarforths great vocals were something special and made “Halmstad” really unique. I think these things lacked on the previous two albums, but “Redefining Darkness” is one hell of an album that brings the Halmstad memories back and still keep a lot of the aggression from the two previous albums and as well as the clean vocals that Kvarforth introduced on “Klagopsalmer”.
What makes this album great is the anger that merges with acoustic and jazzy deep depressing parts. You can’t really call this a black metal album I suppose. The vocals of Kvarforth are not shrieky but rather a clean vocal that is just deep and aggressive, it sounds like he wants to kill someone. The clean vocals are beautiful and soft and fit the atmosphere of the album perfectly. Kvarforth also tends to do lower whispering vocals that you can hear in for instance “Han Som Hatar Människan” when you get to the acoustic part. The acoustic guitars on the album create a soft and dark atmosphere and are perfectly backed up by fantastic audible basslines and great drums. Ludwig Witt plays session drums on this album and he was also the man behind the set on “Halmstad” and you can definitely hear that on this record. Christian Larsson is the bassist on this album but he reminds me a lot of Johan Hallander who played bass on “Halmstad”. But it also makes me think; perhaps Kvarforth is the one writing some of the basslines? He plays both guitar with Peter Huss as well as keyboards. Electric guitar passages are of course also present on this album, the album kicks off with a great high note riff in “Du, Mitt Konstverk” as well as some nice guitar solos in “Han Som Hatar Människan” for instance.
I love Swedish and I can also speak it myself so I was a bit disappointed that Kvarforth wrote and sang a few songs in English on this record however it’s not a major issue for me. I just think that Swedish fits his vocals so perfectly as well as the feeling you get from the music. I can’t complain about the production on the album either. It’s clean and every instrument can be heard with no problem, nothing gets pushed away by another instrument or something like that.
If you are a Shining fan this is a must indeed, this album is amazing. If you like something in the vein of black metal but also progressive, get this. Or if you just like metal, get this. It’s worth it. I’ve been listening to this far too many times already and it must be an album of the year for 2012 for me.