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Redefining Darkness - 85%

Tomb_of_Cunt, March 5th, 2013

I must say that I’ve never really heard any album of Shining that was bad. This album is another powerful piece of art that speaks to the listener in so many ways. It starts off in a very powerful way with heavy distorted guitars and Kvarforth screaming like a raging demon. The further the album goes, the more it gets a balance between slow, melodic pieces with clean vocals and the faster, distorted pieces that are really raw blood pouring from the veins of desolation.

It is also interesting to note that Shining implemented a wide range of instruments. On “The Ghastly Silence” you can hear acoustic guitar, electric guitar, horns etc. The band made a powerful mix of depressive black metal, jazz, a bit of pop music, and also a few ambient influences. When doing this kind of mix a band can easily make a mess of things and produce an album that sounds so ridiculous that it results in the band getting a very bad image, but Shining succeed in more than one way. They didn’t decompose into some popular outfit who brings in pop and jazz just to sell more records. Instead they master all the musical elements in a brilliant way and make it part of an aesthetic whole that contains a very powerful and dark aura.

The guitar solos on this album is also great. Needless to say, the guitar solos are high-pitched with some old school rock influences. Kvarforth’s vocals in general are great and vary between frustrated screams and melodic singing. What really intrigues me is the melodic death metal kind of approach on “Hail Darkness Hail” because these melodic death metal styles are very successfully mixed into a blend of black metal, choir chanting, progressive rock, and general aggressive rhythms that really tear at your heart. I love the classical guitar playing on most of the tracks. It is very calm, but also contains a very subtle dark element. When the music breaks out into aggressive overdrive, it is almost as if a psychological element is implemented therein the calm and frustrated mind of an individual that suddenly explodes into a bloody rage of revenge.

The album ends on a high note with “For the God Below”, which is a very powerful track wherein Kvarforth takes a confessional-poet kind of approach. This song addresses so many emotional aspects – the attraction of man to darkness, the general despair and loneliness of the tortured individual, and the dualism of light and dark, good and evil.

In general. this album has a very strong existential concept and is a must-have for all fans of depressive black metal and black metal in general.