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From the very beginning of this album I realised that Shining meant serious business. The listener is plunged into a deep abyss of godforsaken darkness from the moment that the first track starts. The guitars are down-tuned and contribute to a general atmosphere of depression. There is a constant shift between slow guitar-riffs and much faster pieces. But personally I love the vocals the most – they are nothing but genuine cries for help and also an intense mixture of hopelessness and raw pain. It is certainly not melodramatic, but rather very honest.
The album as a whole gets interrupted in the middle with a spoken piece in which the band lays out their philosophical ideology of self-destruction and suicide. This might sound like a call-for-attention to some, but once you listen to this you will realise that it is a very scary work of art drenched in a slow river of pain. What make it even scarier is the psychotic cries and the obsessive repeating of the words “do me a favour and kill yourself”. Every single part of this album is a climax, but this part is certainly the ultimate climax that might finally convince you to lose all hope.
The rest of the album is a cacophonous symphony in which various influences from raw black metal, doom metal and depressive black metal can be heard. Instead of playing shrieking guitar-solo’s that sound like the more traditional stuff, the band plays a mixture between slow guitar-solo’s and slow guitar-picking. This might be boring to those who wish to focus more on the technical aspects, but it actually fits in very well with the aesthetic atmosphere in which Shining cloaks their music. They have a very unique way in which they take the macabre elements of self-destruction and suicide and bastardise it with elements of beauty. The best example of this is the track “Through Corridors of Oppression”. By the time you get to this track you are mentally worn-out, but the beautiful symphony that plays in the background (it is a mixture between guitar, keyboard and drums) actually gives you some kind of a cold comfort. The vocals on this track are also much more passively-aggressive without losing any of its intensity.
The final track is also a very beautiful symphony, but it contains some elements of atonality that creates an unnerving atmosphere. It is as if the band wanted to summarise the whole album on this final track, because it sounds like the whole album thrown together in an immense dark cloud of venomous aesthetics.
Overall this album is a suicidal masterpiece that blows every bit of entertainment-value into pieces. In some sense it is a challenging work of art that is very powerfully formulated.