Quite honestly, I never had the pleasure of actually listening to Shining’s albums, I always sought to listen to the actual CD and rarity of a vinyl release, but decided to change that to embracing the MP3s this time found on Season of Mist’s Bandcamp page. While not asked by anyone to review this album I decided to explore new avenues in the metal genre, learning and discovering what artists incorporate into their music. The ninth studio album is the title IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere Ends, while some might consider the music depressing and dread filled, I don’t share that same opinion, it is at times haunting, as the band does a fine performance of mixing anguish and sorrowful tones, throughout the album. Vocalist and songwriter Niklas Kvarforth who is known for an aggressive personality, shows talent for incredible musicianship on this album; with some research I learned about the band’s history, its simply amazing how I missed this band, something I am correcting now, especially since the band started back 1996. This album was released by Never Dead and Mazzar Records on April 20, 2015.
This album is slightly different from the normal black metal I listen to, which is good something refreshing exploring new paths allows for plenty of epic discoveries. The album brings so much more to the table to feast on, the sound sweeps the spectrum of doom and depressive to ferocious sounds, yes it contains some folk and industrial interludes, but doesn’t affect the album in negative manner rather conjures more chaos from guitarists Valovirta and Huss and bass equally up to the task of delivering the goods.
Let’s start with the first track, that is epic powerful instrumental track, “Vilja & drom” (Will & Dream) spews insanity and starts the album with an incredible aggressive fast unsettling track, Niklas generates such strength in his vocals. Then the third song presents a bit of strange calmness on “Framtidsutsikter” (Future Prospects) with the music becoming thought provoking on the listener. At first hearing “Människotankens Vägglösa Rum” (The Wall-less Room of the Human Thought) it’s reminiscent of Iron Maiden while channeling Leonard Cohen, the acoustic guitar sound filling in, a slower pace, never bores, rather enhances the song, and shows the talents of the entire band, because in quick flash they present the claws and fangs of intense music. “Inga broar kvar att branna” (No Bridges Left to Burn) follows in the similar vein to the previous song, with the lyrics filled with heartache, pain, and pure suffering. The final track “Besok Fran I(ho)nom” (Visit from I(ho)nom) is a return to what black metal is truly known for, the intensity showing of aggressive vocals and music to accompany it thoroughly in a brutal fashion.
Track Listing (Translated):
The Forced Duality
Will & Dream
The Wall-less Room of the Human Thought
No Bridges Left to Burn
Visit from i (ho) nom
Niklas Kvarforth – Vocals, Guitars
Peter Huss – Guitars
Christian Larsson – Bass
Rainer Tuomikanto – Drums
Euge Valovirta – Guitars
Cover art – Daniele Serra https://www.danieleserra.com/
I found myself captivated to listen to the entire album in one sitting, some of the songs had the power pulling you in the longer the music played, especially as it contains more than just black metal as its baseline, the doom and melodic moments. It almost inspires your mentality to enter the void, and drift with the music, the opening the track encourages the listener to step into the blackness and makes sure to allow passage out after the last song with a haunting atmosphere, as if Threatre of Tragedy or Opeth was in the room, balancing some fast aggressive vocals and music. I look forward to listening more of their music in the future.
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/5.0