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Shining - Submit To Self-Destruction - 50%

ConorFynes, March 20th, 2012

Recorded and released while Niklas Kvarforth was still making his way through the angsty teenage years, 'Submit To Self-Destruction' opens the journey of Shining on an exceptionally lo-fi note. As a self-produced, adolescent demo, this is a far cry from the professional, progressive act that the band would evolve into less than a decade later. As a thirteen minute sample of Shining's music, there is not much to write about here. 'Endless Solitude' takes a more emotional approach when compared to the more riff-oriented title track. The musicianship is fairly amateurish, but not sloppy.

The production of 'Submit To Self- Destruction' is incredibly muffled as one would expect from a black metal band at this stage, and in order to listen to it properly, I found it necessary to turn the volume knob far past what I'm used to. It is a quiet, unclear wave of sound, but the songwriting on Shining's demo makes this a small slice of the band's work that deserves to be checked out by the band's fans. Kvarforth's vocal delivery is tortured and impressive, especially considering he was in his teens when this was released. It won't inspire a great deal of admiration outside of Shining's fanbase, but as early demos go, I've been pleasantly surprised by Shining.

Submit to Selfdestruction - 15%

Noctir, December 22nd, 2011

Released in May 1998, Submit to Selfdestruction is the first official offering from Sweden's Shining. This E.P. contain two songs of depressive suicidal black metal, according to many. It would be difficult to really label this as Black Metal, considering the total absence of any sort of evil or Satanic vibe. This would be better described as dark metal or even blackened doom, before putting it into the same category as such albums as Under the Sign of the Black Mark, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas or Under a Funeral Moon.

Musically, this bears some similarities to the works of actual black metal bands. One can easily detect influences from Burzum and Strid, though the most notable inspiration for this had to be Bethlehem. The vocals, in particular, seem to try mimicking the type of tortured screams found on Dictius Te Necare, or even Varg's early releases. This is also, probably, the weakest element of the entire release. Niklas's performance is laughable, failing to convey any real feeling, and coming off as very childish and pathetic. The material features a lot of tremolo riffing with slow-paced drumming underneath. This really has nothing to do with any other Swedish band, taking a good deal of influence from the Norwegians, instead. There are parts that include clean guitar and spoken word passages, which is an obvious nod to the band's German heroes. The two songs of this release are not very good, but they have their moments. "Endless Solitude" boasts a mournful guitar melody, late in the song, that is actually kind of memorable. The title track is less engaging, until things slow down during the latter half. Even then, it fails to truly pull the listener down into a realm of utter misery and sorrow.

Regarding the production, it is really poor and serves as a detriment to the music. The already-weak vocals are buried in the mix, though that may have been to hide just how awful they were. In addition, the percussion is much to high and distracts from the guitar melodies. For something that was attempting to be a part of the black metal movement, there is no excuse for the guitar to be taking a secondary role while the bass and drums are featured so prominently. More or less, everything is able to be heard, but the lack of emphasis on the guitar limits the potential that this effort possessed.

Submit to Selfdestruction is an average E.P. that is fairly consistent in its inability to create a really sombre atmosphere. One can clearly see what Shining was going for, but they were way off the mark with this one. The material presented here displays no sense of originality or sincerity; rather, this is merely the product of children that were trying to imitate other bands that they liked with no real understanding of how to create something meaningful. Avoid this band, altogether.

Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com

In The Beginning.... - 85%

Misere_Nobis, May 23rd, 2008

Here we have the very first release from Swedish depressive black metal band Shining.This band has had quite a bit of controversy during its existence, mainly because of the actions of vocalist Kvarforth.They ended up receiving a lot of criticism because of this as well.However, this band should not be judged by its member's actions, and this EP proves it.

Seeing as this is the debut release of the band, I had somewhat lower expectations before actually hearing it.I was definitely wrong.Right from the start of "Endless Solitude", I was completely caught off guard by the riffs.The songwriting here is very effective at creating that bleak, suicidal atmosphere.These riffs perfectly portray pain,depression,and hopelessness.On top of that, we have Kvarforth's very impressive vocal performance.Considering he was only 14 when they recorded this EP, he does a very good job.His style is torture screams, but they sound very unique.He sounds so hopeless, as if actually on the verge of suicide.The vocals perfectly match the hopeless atmosphere.Nothing much can be said of the bass guitar.It is audible, but it merely follows the guitar.The percussion is performed very well.The drum beats will more than likely sound familiar to fans of depressive black metal.In this song, it is mostly slow beats with good usage of double bass.It doesn't get too technical or fast, but is played flawlessly.This is a very good song, and is one of my favorites from Shining.

The title track makes up the B-side of the EP.This song has much more variety in tempo changes.It starts out quicker, but does have a good amount of slower passages as well.The drums incorporate a good amount of double bass again, but there are some good single bass beats as well.The guitar tone in this song actually sounds a bit less suicidal, and a bit more black metal.Don't get me wrong, this is not at all a bad thing.Once again, the riffs are very good, and create incredible atmosphere that will surely keep the listener's attention.Kvarforth delivers another impressive performance, fitting in perfectly with the music.He's a very good vocalist, even at age 14.This song seems fitting as the closing track.Although this is a good song, I must admit that I do prefer the first song much more.

As far as production goes, this material sounds very clean, but maintains the atmosphere of the songs very well.All instruments are heard perfectly.This release was a good way for Shining to make their debut.I highly recommend it to fans of depressive black metal, and to fans of black metal in general.