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Although there have been some alterations to their sound, fundamentally, Shining have remained a constant, but most importantly, a consistent threat to any band who’re looking to dominate the global black metal market. This band, despite the ridiculous antics that have gone on behind the scenes, market a sustainable sound that is dark enough for some sections of the fans, and experimental enough for others. This is a product that can be, and probably is, targeted at a wide audience who listen to a range of bands, from various genres and sub-genres of metal or otherwise. Shining have a appeal that stretches far beyond the realms of black metal. Though the antics, which might have cost the band dearly, as well as a section of their usually dedicated fan base, were unprofessional and uncalled for, the band remain a force within the genre and their next instalment, ‘Klagopsalmer’, which is due out in October, I believe, is eagerly anticipated by myself and numerous others. Bands like this, and Italy’s Forgotten Tomb, have pioneered in the mainstream side of black metal a sound which is incomparable to most bands. Instead of being a follower, a sheep, Shining are the leaders, the shepherd, who watches over its flock, dictating to them what their next move should be. Shining are the innovators and bands attempt to emulate their style, not the other way around. I hate to harp on about things, but this review will focus on Kvarforth’s performance. As the leading man, who was in charge of guitars, keyboards and vocals at this stage of the bands career, his outlet is pivotal to the outcome of the record. His demonic being is poured into this record like a deadly alcoholic spirit into a shot glass which you’re about to shoot. Feel the burn coursing through your throat, down to the empty pit of your soul and you won’t even come close to the excruciating pain that has gone into manifesting this sound onto disc.
The same goes for acts like Forgotten Tomb, who’s ‘Negative Megalomania’ sent shockwaves through black metal audiences due to its unique methods and clean vocals. Bands like Holland’s Urfaust have truly innovated the scene with clean vocals, and now Forgotten Tomb are piling on the pressure, attempting to rejuvenate the scene with a facelift, of sorts, by integrating clean vocals into the chaotic black metal sideshow. Shining themselves have altered the style of vocals. Its unbelievable when you consider that the epitome of Shining, Kvarforth (whom is responsible for the nonchalant antics that have gone on behind the scenes), was only 14 when the band recorded and released its first EP. Reading up about information like this makes me feel almost lazy. Whilst I sit here and write about the music I listen to, people like Kvarforth are practising for the future of the music I adore. I feel as if I should get up, walk over to my dusty guitar, pick it up and actually learn how to play the damn thing! However, motivation has never been my strong point. Thankfully, for me at least, Kvarforth is a motivated man who likes shower his adoring fans with gifts in the form of consistent records. Its surreal when I consider that this debut, ‘Within Deep Dark Chambers’ is the product of, essentially, a 16 year old boy. Not a man, but a boy. His vocals are the epitome of a generation of black metal vocalists, some of which are probably twice his age. His performance reminds me of the Enslaved boys, who also produced their first record in their teenage years. One almost feels that it is essential that this record, perhaps the bleakest of the bunch, was recorded during the troublesome teenage years.
Why? Simply because its in those years that we humans tend to suffer the most and the cliché of teenage angst really comes across as realistic in his vocal display. Those tortured screams, coupled with his demonic laughs are essential to the records display of anarchy and misanthropy. What is even more astonishing if the fact that since the dawn of creation, Kvarforth has been Shining’s star. He has, at one time or another, controlled the bass, guitar, keyboards and vocals of the band. Simply amazing. His performance here, although not as mature or musically gifted as his performance on the last effort, ‘Halmstad’, is deeply moving and ground breaking. This is where it all began, ladies and gentlemen. Although this sound hasn’t lasted the distance, the band still manage to sound fresh, several years after its creation. The guitars are, for the most part, to thank for this. The iconic title for this record turns out to be ironic too. Why? Well, Shining’s sound is one that conjures up imagery of dark themes, forgotten landscapes where no one dare venture unless they had a death wish, or even that of the band playing this style of music, in the form of a gig or show, in a deep dark chamber, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, during a freezing winter’s night in Sweden. The record has true meaning behind it. This isn’t just some form of killing time, or creating a bunch of songs that will save you from perpetual boredom. This is an emotive piece that allows the audience to see into the destructive mind of Kvarforth. The depth and eerie presence of this record cannot go unnoticed any longer.