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Although I was expecting some sort of ultra kvlt 'greatest hits' collection, Shining offers a compilation that has some good merit to it on its own. In essence, 'Through Years Of Oppression' collects some of the band's apocryphal recordings, including unreleased tracks, alternate takes, and the highly rare 'Submit To Selfdestruction' demo. Normally, this would be the sort of thing that I could only recommend to hardcore fans of the band, but it benefits from being released in a very interesting stage of the band's development. Released right before their big transition album 'The Eerie Cold', 'Through Years Of Oppression' is an intriguing crossroads of the band's past, present, and future.
The first two tracks of this compilation is a reprise of 'Submit To Selfdestruction', a 1998 demo that the band did when they were teenagers. While recorded primitively, Shining give a powerful, albeit generic display of depressive black metal. Things get a little more interesting with the ambient track 'Manipulation Session', a none-so-cheery ode to suicide where Kvarforth openly asks his fans to do him a favour and kill themselves. Perhaps this was too 'extreme' a message for a full-length album, or maybe its mellow focus on atmosphere didn't fit the flow, but it was left off of the band's second album. 'Black Industrial Misery' is an alternative take from the band's third album, an instrumental version that gets a good grasp of the misanthropic sound despite the absence of Kvarforth's vocals.
While the first four tracks of the compilation show Shining developing from an adolescent depressive black metal act into a more serious project, the final two tracks would show Shining as they were at the time of the compilation's release, and even a sneak peek at the new album. As most fans of Shining would hopefully agree, 'IV: The Eerie Cold' was the album in which Shining finally matured as an act, incorporating healthy doses of progressive rock into their sound. 'The Claws Of Perdition' ends the compilation with a look into the future. Although this is a more primitive recording than the near-perfect version that would end up on the full-length album, one can definitely get the sense that Shining had done alot of thinking in between the third and fourth records. 'Through Years Of Oppression' may be something of a fans-only item, but as a fan item goes, it is very insightful into the development of this band. It's a good thing that these tracks were released.