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Unlike other splits that Shining has done, 'The Sinister Alliance' is actually a split with another one of Shining frontman Kvarforth's bands. Funeral Dirge is a two man partnership between him and the musician Missfall. For some added bonus, the Polish dark ambient artist Mrok adds a handful of atmospheric interludes to give 'The Sinister Alliance' the semblance of an actual full-length. While it goes past the call of duty in many respects as far as splits are concerned, 'The Sinister Alliance's musical selection rarely proves to be more than mediocre. Kvarforth has done much better than this.
The Shining side of the album is simply a reprise of their 1998 demo 'Submit To Selfdestruction', a fairly good two song release that the band did when they were in their teens. Funeral Dirge's two track offering on the other hand comes from their EP 'The Silence Ebony'. On Shining's side, the music is fairly straightforward depressive black metal. Kvarforth's screams are tortured, and the performance is muffled through a lo-fi black metal production that gives it a slightly surreal, albeit generic atmosphere. Funeral Dirge's music is not quite as good, a less atmospheric brand of black metal fueled by more clearly defined riffs and distorted vocals. The two bands have a similar vibe to them, but there are enough differences to set them clearly apart.
Although both Shining and Funeral Dirge bring enjoyable music to the table, there is nothing they offer that is exclusive to 'The Sinister Alliance'. Ironically, the best music on the album is from the dark ambient Mrok, scoring a trio of interludes that bookend the album and separate the two bands. These pieces are dreary and vast, and might be described as an arboreal symphony. Seeing as the Shining and Funeral Dirge tracks were recorded in 1998 and 2001, I am not sure why 2007 was thought to be the year to release something like this. This was at a time when Shining was in their progressive 'Halmstad' stage, and the early primitive black metal was left behind. In any case, 'The Sinister Alliance' is not a great album, but as splits go, it's gifted with a sense of flow and 'togetherness' that is not seen all that often.