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Shining - Blackjazz CD (album) cover

BLACKJAZZ

Shining

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.72 | 85 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What is this sort of radical experimentation in music comprised in "Blackjazz"? - a mixture of dementia, rebellion and black magic, perhaps. Mostly, it is the hyperbole of avant-garde metal, or the hyperbole of avant-garde jazz-rock wrapped up in abundant shades of metal and bound with progressive laces. No matter how sophisticated your sentences pour out in order to make an attempt to define the musical offering of Norway's Shining. It will always come out complicated and not as clear as it intended to be. Well, so let's try to point out at it this way: a dynamic mixture of prog metal, death, 90s Crimson, avant-jazz, RIO and electronica. Or maybe this way: a confluence of hyper-Fantomas, ultra-KC, mega-NIN and over-Tool at the UZ-meets-Zappath power. I'm afraid t didn't work either, but I'll leave it to rest so I can now set my mind to describe the repertoire of Shining's "Backjazz", arguably the cruelest prog rock album of the year. The first part of 'The Madness And The Damage Done' states a complex set of cadences that allows tension and counterpart to weave the running shrapnel of lunatic rock sonorities. 'Fisheye' is a bit less loud and more industrial- based: the massive influences from NIN and Tool are easily noticeable. Intelligent storms and erudite tortures, all this and more is what we have got so far from the Shining ranks? and will continue to, be warned. 'Exist Sun Pt. 1' also bears a Toolian mood in places, but the overall framework happens to be more related to Behold The Archtopus and Between The Buried And Me. The industrial expansion of the not-too-long 'Exit Sun Pt. 2' paves the way for the explosive odyssey of metal-jazz encapsulated in 'HEALTER SKELTER', a curious homage to The Beatles' wildest song ever. 'HEALTER SKELTER' is one of the most accomplished manifestations of the band's aesthetics of cruelty in the album - dissonant, powerful restless, yet sophisticated enough as to achieve artistic greatness beyond simple anger. The second part of 'The Madness And The Damage Done' starts on an autumnal mood, Crimsonically contemplative ("Red"-era Crimson is the obvious reference here), until the reprise of the first part's main motif brings a relief for massive aggression of sound. 'Blackjazz Deathtrance' occupies a 11- minute span: a prog metal gale focused on alternated sources of avant-garde adventures, industrial explosions, death metal irruptions and jazzy occasional developments. Many instrumental deliveries are really humanly impossible, as Zappa would say: given the amount and intensity of the mood and tempo shifts, it must have been particularly challenging for drummer Lofthus to use every ounce of his talent in order to comply with the demands for the rhythmic department. What a great work! 'Omen' is an exercise on creepy ambiences and surrealistic developments that inherits much of the darkness epitomized in UZ's "Heresie". All throughout the track's 8 minute span, there is a feeling of impending doom that never seems to fully come to the fore, and still, the fear remains solid as an infinite grey cloud on an endless winter sky. The tracklist end with a cover of KC's perpetual classic '21st Century Schizoid Man': Grutle Kjellson, of Enslaved, guests on vocals for this one. The band gives this classic a Dadaistic spin with lots of industrial-metal and RIO nuances along the way. Even though this particular cover does not add something essential to the "Blackjazz" experience, it works as a hint to the artistic ideology upheld by Shining. General conclusion: an excellent item in any progressive schizoid man's collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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