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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Darkroom Sessions is a compilation album by Swedish black metal act Shining. The album was released in August 2004 by Perverted Taste.

The Darkroom Sessions contains rare pre-recorded outtakes and rehearsals. All 6 tracks appear in different versions on other releases by the band. 2 of the tracks appear on II - Livets Ändhållplats (2001) and 4 of the tracks appear on III - Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie (2002). I assume ther versions on The Darkroom Sessions are recorded earlier than the versions on the studio albums.

The music on The Darkroom Sessions is, unlike the music on the more regular releases by the band, fully instrumental. These are basically demo and rehearsal versions, which also means that the production is a bit more lo-fi than what we´re used to from the band. In the case of Shining the thin lo-fi production values only enhance the dark depressive atmosphere in the music though. The music is cold, majestic and only created by guitar, bass and drums. When I found out that the versions on The Darkroom Sessions were fully instrumental I feared that I would miss the tortured vocals by Niklas Kvarforth, but the songs work surprisingly well as instrumentals. Ett Liv Utan Mening ( which translates into A Life Without Meaning) is the only time during the 54:33 minutes, that the album lasts, that my attention shortly wanders. The rest of the songs on the album are great in these versions. My favorites are probably Mörda Dig Själv ( translates into Kill Yourself or actually Murder Yourself) and especially Svart Industriell Olycka ( translates into Black Industrial Misery). The latter song also appears in this version on the Through Years of Oppression (2004) compilation album.

The Darkroom Sessions is a pretty great release by Shining, but it´s not the place to start for newcommers to the band. Rather this is more of a fan release even though it´s one of the better fan releases I´ve heard in a while. As far as compilations go I´d recommend getting Through Years of Oppression before The Darkroom Sessions as it gives a more diverse picture of how Shining sounds, but The Darkroom Sessions is still a good release deserving a 3 star rating.

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Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
2 stars 'The Darkroom Sessions' - Shining (4/10)

'The Darkroom Sessions' is a rare compilation from Shining, a band who are definitely at the top of my favourites list when it comes to suicidal, misanthropic Swedish progressive black metal. Barring the darkly eccentric nature of their frontman Niklas Kvarforth, the band has made some incredible music. Although it is a compilation, 'The Darkroom Sessions' is not a best-of, or even a collection of unreleased tracks,as was the case with their earlier 'Through Years Of Oppression'. Instead, this compilation offers alternate takes of tracks from their early albums, specifically instrumental renditions. Likely used as demos to sharpen up the instrumental quality of the compositions, these demos show the songs in a (more) raw form, but the lack of anything really fresh or new makes the album feel somewhat unnecessary.

The only real perk that 'The Darkroom Sessions' has over other releases is the lack of Kvarforth's vocals, an aspect of the band which helped distinguish them as a whole. To be fair, these longwinded compositions are functional without the human element, and parts of this- particularly the epic 'Svart Industriell Olycka'- work even better in the instrumental format. However, in general, 'The Darkroom Sessions' does not offer a listener much more than a sombre, tedious listening experience. Keeping in mind that I was not a big fan of Shining's early material to begin with, the compilation does little to augment my appreciation for the work. 'The Darkroom Sessions' is easy to sit through, and enjoyable at times, but it would sooner send me to sleep than haunt my dreams.

Report this review (#586946)
Posted Monday, December 12, 2011 | Review Permalink

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