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Shining - Blackjazz CD (album) cover

BLACKJAZZ

Shining

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.71 | 88 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars One would only hope that Shining would stick to the winning formula, that they so marvelously established on Grindstone, and push it even further with their highly anticipated follow-up release. This would of course not be something that the band members would ever accept, considering their highly fluctuating style shifts up to this point.

While In The Kingdom Of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster still had one foot solidly placed in the world of Avant-garde Jazz and Grindstone loosening those traditions and instead expanding on the darker and more eclectic approach to music making. Blackjazz does seem to promise that same tradition, judging solely by the album's title, but what we get here is just one half of what made Grindstone the great record that it was.

Right off the bat, The Madness And The Damage Done starts off as a wild beast that just won't be tamed no matter how hard you'll try. It's a wild and extravagant piece that seems to take as much inspiration from Extreme Metal as Electronic Rock. Yes, we had the electronica experiments available on Grindstone, but it was hardly the only reason why that album felt so ambitious and different. I'm talking about the groovy soundscapes that we got as the record progressed, which showed us the versatile band that Shining truly was. This just doesn't happen on Blackjazz and what we get instead is more of the same Extreme Metal and Electronic Rock sound all throughout the record.

It doesn't really help that Blackjazz is almost a third longer than its two predecessors. I honestly get exhausted while listening to this record and this feeling of fatigue hasn't really diminished over time. I often don't even care that the album ends with a cover of King Crimson's great anthem 21st Century Schizoid Man. That statement in itself says a lot!

In retrospect, I don't consider Blackjazz to be a bad record and there are quite a few tracks that come close to achieving the greatness of the band's previous milestones. Still, there are just too many flaws for me to consider rating it any higher than this. Good, but far from essential.

**** star songs: The Madness And The Damage Done (5:20) Fisheye (5:08) Exit Sun (8:36) Healter Skelter (5:35) The Madness And The Damage Done (3:24) Blackjazz Deathtrance (10:52)

*** star songs: Exit Sun (0:57) Omen (8:46) 21st Century Schizoid Man (8:41)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |

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