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SHINING

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Sweden


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Shining biography
SHINING is a Swedish experimental black metal act formed in Halmstad in 1996. The band has gone through several lineup changes through the years and only lead vocalist/ keyboard player Niklas "Kvarforth" Olsson is left from the original lineup. The band is known for their fascination of lyrical themes such as Hate, Depression and Suicide and their style of music is often refered to as suicide black metal. SHINING released their debut full-length studio album "I - Within Deep Dark Chambers" in 2000. They did already release the "Submit to Selfdestruction" EP ( limited to 300 hand-numbered copies) in 1998 though. SHINING´s studio albums are numbered I, II, II and so forth. The latest studio offering at the time ( December 2009) is "VI - Klagopsalmer (2009)".

SHINING´s inclusion in the Prog Archives database was approved by the Progressive Metal Team.

( Biography written by UMUR)

Shining official website

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International Blackjazz SocietyInternational Blackjazz Society
Spinefarm 2015
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VII: FVII: F"dd F"rlorare
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SHINING shows & tickets


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SHINING discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SHINING top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.58 | 7 ratings
I - Within Deep Dark Chambers
2000
3.07 | 7 ratings
II - Livets Ändhållplats
2001
3.38 | 11 ratings
III - Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie
2002
4.26 | 16 ratings
IV - The Eerie Cold
2005
4.05 | 22 ratings
V - Halmstad
2007
3.99 | 14 ratings
VI - Klagopsalmer
2009
3.89 | 24 ratings
VII: Född Förlorare
2011
3.95 | 9 ratings
Redefining Darkness
2012
3.00 | 2 ratings
8 1/2 Feberdrommar I Vaket Tillstan
2013
3.40 | 5 ratings
IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends
2015

SHINING Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SHINING Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SHINING Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.95 | 4 ratings
Through Years of Oppression
2004
2.49 | 3 ratings
The Darkroom Sessions
2004

SHINING Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.98 | 3 ratings
Submit to Selfdestruction
1998
3.45 | 4 ratings
Dolorian / Shining
2003
2.98 | 3 ratings
The Sinister Alliance
2007
1.51 | 3 ratings
Shining / Den Saakaldte
2008
2.00 | 1 ratings
Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel
2011
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lots Of Girls Gonna Get Hurt
2012
2.00 | 1 ratings
Shining / Alfahanne
2012
2.00 | 1 ratings
Shining / Monumentum
2013
2.00 | 1 ratings
In The Eerie Cold Where All The Witches Dance
2013
2.00 | 1 ratings
Shining On The Enslaved
2014
2.00 | 1 ratings
Five Valid Reasons For Self-Inflicting Harm
2014

SHINING Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Redefining Darkness by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.95 | 9 ratings

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Redefining Darkness
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kluseba

4 stars After the short cover EP "Lots Of Girls Gonna Get Hurt", the controversial Swedish depressive black metal band Shining around front man, vocalist, keyboarder and guitar player Niklas Kvarforth is back for good with an eight full length record in only twelve years.

I haven't been a big follower of the band but I wanted to try them out for quite a while and I'm very positively surprised with this release that surely motivates me enough to check out further parts of their discography. The band is in fact much more epic and especially melodic than I expected. Harsher parts with unchained and fascinatingly unique vocals, sharp riffs and heavy drumming are as present as psychedelic with atmospheric keyboard sounds, chilling acoustic guitar passages and dreamy clean vocals that give the whole thing a very progressive touch. In these passages, the band is quite close to bands such as Anathema, Katatonia or Opeth. There is only one difference: Shining happens to be better than any of the talented other three bands. The band sounds very pure in its emotions, the song writing perfectly plays with contrasts and the tracks vary enough to never get boring.

A few years ago, I would have been discouraged by the quite brutal opener "Du, Mitt Konstverk" but as time went by, I began to understand what I would call the essence of black metal and find the bleak atmosphere authentic, extreme and profound. It's definitely one of the most diversified genres in the entire metal universe but it takes some time to get into this kind of music. Even this beast of an opener has though a melodic break in its second half that calms you down, puts you in a melancholic mood and plays with contrasts. On the other side, the closing "For The God Below" is probably one of the most epic and melodic tracks the band has ever written as far as I've heard and should also please to fans of other genres such as gothic or progressive metal for example. The acoustic guitar harmonies, the variable vocals and the great guitar effects and solos are simply touching and also technically very well executed. This track is by far one of the best songs of the year and any open minded metal maniac should try this out at all costs.

In the end, Shining deliver one of the most emotional and varied releases of the year and have won a new fan in me. There have been many amazing records out this year but this album is clearly among the twenty best albums and I feel that it may still grow on me. Those who like extreme emotions and imaginative music filled with contrasts should try this band out despite its controversial image. Madness and genius are quite close and even though Niklas Kvarforth might be very eccentric, what he delivers here can be called a true little masterpiece despite its short length and a few less convincing passages in the tracks of the record's middle part.

Originally published on the Metal Archives on November 5th of the year 2012

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 Redefining Darkness by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.95 | 9 ratings

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Redefining Darkness
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Redefining Darkness" is the 8th full-length studio album by Swedish extreme metal act Shining. The album was released through Spinefarm Records in October 2012. "Redefining Darkness" was produced by Andy LaRocque (King Diamond), who also plays some leads. Other notable guests are Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano, who also contribute with lead guitar work and Hoest (Taake) who contributes additional vocals.

The album features six tracks. Two with Swedish language lyrics, three with English language lyrics and one instrumental. The band haven´t used English language lyrics on any album since "IV - The Eerie Cold (2005)", so in that respect Shining return to the roots. That´s certainly not the case with the instrumental part of the music or the songwriting in general though. "Redefining Darkness" is in the more mature semi-progressive extreme metal style that the band have more or less followed since they reformed in 2004. Misantrophy, depression, self-loathing and suicide are still central themes in the band´s lyrics like they have been from day one. The words are delivered with a malevolent kind of gleam in the eye and therefore it´s hard to know how much to put into them. They are certainly deranged and will probably also be perceived as imoral by some.

Niklas Kvarforth´s twisted schizophrenic vocal delivery, which ranges from extremely aggressive raspy/growling (completely intelligible) to clean singing and whispering, is a real treat and create intriguing contrasts, that not many extreme metal vocalists are able to do. Personally I think he is best when he delivers lyrics in his native tongue. One of the most striking examples of that is the line: "Snällä, snällä, snällä, snällä, snällä, snällä Låt mig få skada dig" (which translates into: "Please, please, please, please, please, please Let me hurt you") from the opening track "Du, Mitt Konstverk" ("You, My Artwork"), which is delivered in a clean emotional and mellow tone, that greatly contrasts the lyrics, which are about a murderer and his obsession with mutilating his victims. In his mind he is an artist. "Genom att förstöra skall jag nu skapa" ("By destroying I shall now create"), "Så skapar jag nu ännu ett mästerverk", "Allt som är vackert blir nu fult" ("This is how I create another masterpiece". "Everything that's beautiful now becomes ugly"). Twisted and unpleasant to say the least.

The intrumental part of the music is varied. The album features both faster parts, crushingly heavy yet groove oriented parts (the main riff in "Han Som Hatar Människan" ("He Who Hates Humans"), is a classic example of the stomping groove that Shining are able to produce) and mellower acoustic sections, which usually feature a haunting or melancholic atmosphere. The guitar solos on the album are a real treat. It´s not that the guitar solos on previous releases have been bad. Actually far from it. But the solos on "Redefining Darkness" are a step up for the band. Of course I would have expected no less from especially Andy LaRocque.

Out of the six tracks on the album, it´s only the instrumental piano dominated "Det Stora Grå" ("The Great Grey"), which isn´t that great. On the other hand it does work as an atmospheric intro to the closing track "For the God Below", so it does serve a purpose on the album. "Redefining Darkness" is overall a very strong release by Shining. This could make a great entry for new fans but it´s certainly a worthy addition to the collection of the existing fans too. It´s not that "Redefining Darkness" is vastly different from the rest of the post-2004 material by the band, but the band incorporate enough new ideas to the music to keep it fresh sounding and exiting. A good example are the saxophone parts in "The Ghastly Silence". A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is well deserved.

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 The Darkroom Sessions by SHINING album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2004
2.49 | 3 ratings

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The Darkroom Sessions
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 The Sinister Alliance by SHINING album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
2.98 | 3 ratings

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The Sinister Alliance
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'The Sinister Alliance' - Shining (5/10)

Unlike other splits that Shining has done, 'The Sinister Alliance' is actually a split with another one of Shining frontman Kvarforth's bands. Funeral Dirge is a two man partnership between him and the musician Missfall. For some added bonus, the Polish dark ambient artist Mrok adds a handful of atmospheric interludes to give 'The Sinister Alliance' the semblance of an actual full-length. While it goes past the call of duty in many respects as far as splits are concerned, 'The Sinister Alliance's musical selection rarely proves to be more than mediocre. Kvarforth has done much better than this.

The Shining side of the album is simply a reprise of their 1998 demo 'Submit To Selfdestruction', a fairly good two song release that the band did when they were in their teens. Funeral Dirge's two track offering on the other hand comes from their EP 'The Silence Ebony'. On Shining's side, the music is fairly straightforward depressive black metal. Kvarforth's screams are tortured, and the performance is muffled through a lo-fi black metal production that gives it a slightly surreal, albeit generic atmosphere. Funeral Dirge's music is not quite as good, a less atmospheric brand of black metal fueled by more clearly defined riffs and distorted vocals. The two bands have a similar vibe to them, but there are enough differences to set them clearly apart.

Although both Shining and Funeral Dirge bring enjoyable music to the table, there is nothing they offer that is exclusive to 'The Sinister Alliance'. Ironically, the best music on the album is from the dark ambient Mrok, scoring a trio of interludes that bookend the album and separate the two bands. These pieces are dreary and vast, and might be described as an arboreal symphony. Seeing as the Shining and Funeral Dirge tracks were recorded in 1998 and 2001, I am not sure why 2007 was thought to be the year to release something like this. This was at a time when Shining was in their progressive 'Halmstad' stage, and the early primitive black metal was left behind. In any case, 'The Sinister Alliance' is not a great album, but as splits go, it's gifted with a sense of flow and 'togetherness' that is not seen all that often.

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 Dolorian / Shining by SHINING album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
3.45 | 4 ratings

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Dolorian / Shining
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Split' - Dolorian / Shining (7/10)

As a band that exercises a philosophy of hatred towards every living thing, you wouldn't think they have many friends. That hasn't stopped them from making a split EP however, here with the Finnish doom act Dolorian. Although many of Shining's earlier releases have passed me as being somewhat bland when compared to the hordes of other bands within depressive black metal, this split sees them stepping up to the plate. Each of the two bands delivers one song,and as short as this split is, each track is strong enough to warrant a solid recommendation for lovers of ambient black and doom metal.

First is Dolorian's offering, a plodding doom mini-epic called 'Ekstasis'. It begins with a flood of clean guitars and a slow, intentioned pace. Eventually, Dolorian burst into a crushing display of ambient funeral doom, with vocals and instruments nearly garbled by the effects and atmosphere. To be honest, I had never heard of Dolorian's work before hearing this split, but I know I will have to listen to them in the future. Their music here is profound and full of rich, sad atmosphere. While not as impressive, Shining's 'Through Corridors Of Oppression' is a beautiful track that sounds a little more pleasant on the ears than what Shining typically produce. Like Dolorian, it has a doomy feel to it, but follows a more conventional structure. Kvarforth's vocals here are clear-sounding, filled with grief but never going over the top like he usually does.

Dolorian's half is arguably better than Shining's track, although both are strong and memorable. I do not usually expect much from these one-off releases that bands churn out, but the Dolorian/Shining split proves to be one of the better ones I've come across.

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 Shining / Den Saakaldte by SHINING album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
1.51 | 3 ratings

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Shining / Den Saakaldte
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 'Split' - Shining / Den Saakaldte (3/10)

Sometimes coming across a release, I try to understand that it probably isn't as good as it was outside of its context. This is a split live recording from two nights at Inferno Festival 2008. Swedish 'suicidal black metal' band Shining and Norwegian Den Saakaldte (a band named after a song by the great Ved Buens Ende) each throw in a recording of a song they played at the concert. This release was then sold in highly limited supplies, with an exclusive t-shirt to boot. What I'm thinking is that this was meant both as a souvenir and collectible for the hardcore fanbase of either band. It's nice to hear a rare live recording of Shining, and the music of Den Saakaldte has been pleasant to encounter, but there is one huge weakness with this split that leads me to believe that there wasn't much effort involved in putting it out.

In short, the sound quality for this live recording is, shall I put it, lacking. To elaborate, the performances of both- which sound well played in any case- are muffled, fuzzy, and barely audible over the cheers and conversations of the crowd. In other words, there is nothing done to hide the bootleg quality of this album. To its benefit, it does a much better job of giving a 'real' concert experience, and that's something I usually don't find with polished live albums. Even so, the performance here is difficult to enjoy when I'm hearing a recording of concertgoers talking overtop as well.

In terms of the actual music, Shining plays one of the songs off of their then-new record 'Halmstad', an album that is considered a modern classic of black metal by some. Den Saakaldte is the band here that I'm less familiar with, but they fare a little better on the split, thanks largely due to their inclusion of a horn section. Both bands evidently play well, but I get the impression I have missed out on alot of the details in each band's performance. For those that attended Inferno Fest in 2008, this would make for an amazing souvenir. For everyone else, this is an underwhelming and amateurish live recording.

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 Through Years of Oppression by SHINING album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2004
2.95 | 4 ratings

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Through Years of Oppression
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Through Years Of Oppression' - Shining (6/10)

Although I was expecting some sort of ultra kvlt 'greatest hits' collection, Shining offers a compilation that has some good merit to it on its own. In essence, 'Through Years Of Oppression' collects some of the band's apocryphal recordings, including unreleased tracks, alternate takes, and the highly rare 'Submit To Selfdestruction' demo. Normally, this would be the sort of thing that I could only recommend to hardcore fans of the band, but it benefits from being released in a very interesting stage of the band's development. Released right before their big transition album 'The Eerie Cold', 'Through Years Of Oppression' is an intriguing crossroads of the band's past, present, and future.

The first two tracks of this compilation is a reprise of 'Submit To Selfdestruction', a 1998 demo that the band did when they were teenagers. While recorded primitively, Shining give a powerful, albeit generic display of depressive black metal. Things get a little more interesting with the ambient track 'Manipulation Session', a none-so-cheery ode to suicide where Kvarforth openly asks his fans to do him a favour and kill themselves. Perhaps this was too 'extreme' a message for a full-length album, or maybe its mellow focus on atmosphere didn't fit the flow, but it was left off of the band's second album. 'Black Industrial Misery' is an alternative take from the band's third album, an instrumental version that gets a good grasp of the misanthropic sound despite the absence of Kvarforth's vocals.

While the first four tracks of the compilation show Shining developing from an adolescent depressive black metal act into a more serious project, the final two tracks would show Shining as they were at the time of the compilation's release, and even a sneak peek at the new album. As most fans of Shining would hopefully agree, 'IV: The Eerie Cold' was the album in which Shining finally matured as an act, incorporating healthy doses of progressive rock into their sound. 'The Claws Of Perdition' ends the compilation with a look into the future. Although this is a more primitive recording than the near-perfect version that would end up on the full-length album, one can definitely get the sense that Shining had done alot of thinking in between the third and fourth records. 'Through Years Of Oppression' may be something of a fans-only item, but as a fan item goes, it is very insightful into the development of this band. It's a good thing that these tracks were released.

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 Submit to Selfdestruction by SHINING album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
2.98 | 3 ratings

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Submit to Selfdestruction
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Submit To Self-Destruction' - Shining (5/10)

Recorded and released while Niklas Kvarforth was still making his way through the angsty teenage years, 'Submit To Self-Destruction' opens the journey of Shining on an exceptionally lo-fi note. As a self-produced, adolescent demo, this is a far cry from the professional, progressive act that the band would evolve into less than a decade later. As a thirteen minute sample of Shining's music, there is not much to write about here. 'Endless Solitude' takes a more emotional approach when compared to the more riff-oriented title track. The musicianship is fairly amateurish, but not sloppy. The production of 'Submit To Self- Destruction' is incredibly muffled as one would expect from a black metal band at this stage, and in order to listen to it properly, I found it necessary to turn the volume knob far past what I'm used to. It is a quiet, unclear wave of sound, but the songwriting on Shining's demo makes this a small slice of the band's work that deserves to be checked out by the band's fans. Kvarforth's vocal delivery is tortured and impressive, especially considering he was in his teens when this was released. It won't inspire a great deal of admiration outside of Shining's fanbase, but as early demos go, I've been pleasantly surprised by Shining.

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 II - Livets Ändhållplats by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.07 | 7 ratings

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II - Livets Ändhållplats
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'II: Livets Ändhållplats' - Shining (5/10)

I have previously expressed that while I deem Shining to be a highly consistent band, I did not care much for their debut, 'Within Deep Dark Chambers'. While it would take until their fourth album for Shining to hit their stride, 'II: Livets Ändhållplats' shows Shining already moving in an interesting direction with their music. That being said, the band is not yet out of a Burzum worship phase with this record, and and like the first and third album from this band, does not tend to stir me in the same profound way that the best material from this band does.

Although the highly negative lyrical content is still here as it always would be for Shining, the band's way of expressing their hatred of life and others is channeled through a more straightforward black metal sound. Shining's 'III' would see the identity and individual style begin to peer through, but at the stage of 'Livets Ändhållplats', do not expect Shining to go beyond the call of duty. Shining plays a brand of depressive black metal that isn't unlike Silencer, complete with drawn out compositions, washed out guitar tones, and Niklas Kvarforth's near-inhuman wailing. In terms of atmosphere, 'Livets Ändhållplats' does not grab me like the titans of the depressive black metal style, but it draws me in. Burzum is another act that Shining could be compared towards at this point. Along with Burzum's firm grasp of atmosphere, a problem I had with much of Burzum's music has also transferred via the influence, that being the highly repetitive songwriting structures. The sensation of hearing these drawn out chord progressions play in a loop has the effect of mildly hypnotizing a listener, but they don't overcome their influences on this one.

The music is not challenging perse, but it is difficult for me to get into. I am not opposed to a lo- fi rendition of depressive black metal, but the conflict between the need to concentrate in search of subtle melodies, and the inclination to simply 'let the music wash over me' makes 'Livets Ändhållplats' an album that leaves me a little underwhelmed, despite demonstrating the band's great potential. I feel that if the compositions had used their ideas better, I would have found myself loving what Shining offers on the second album. Alas, I will have to look to their fourth album and onwards for a fulfilling experience.

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 III - Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.38 | 11 ratings

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III - Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'III: Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie' - Shining (5/10)

Before Shining went on to release some of the most devastating depressive black metal albums of all time in the form of 'IV: The Eerie Cold', 'V: Halmstad' and 'VI: Klagopsalmer', this suicidal band played a less refined, more straightforward brand of black metal. 'III: Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie' shows Shining at the end of their early stretch of albums, and the potential that would later go to be realized a couple of years later is here. All the same, while this music was evidently inspired by the same dark feelings that would fuel the masterpieces of this band, Shining's third album does not yet demonstrate Shining's now- trademark emotional intensity, although it is a certain step up from their origins.

More or less, Shining's 'Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie' is a depressive black metal album on the more aggressive side of the spectrum. Much like Burzum, Shining at this point delivers repetitive, somewhat hypnotic songwriting through atmospheric riffs, subtle melodies, and blastbeats aplenty. Of special note to any black metal enthusiast; the legendary drummer Hellhammer delivers a percussion performance here, and his skill with the double kick brings a power that I was sorely missing on the band's debut. In comparison to the more modern Shining that more people are evidently familiar with, the songwriting here lacks the same heavy-to-soft dynamic that draws so many comparisons to Opeth, although a few passages see the black metal riffage take a step back in favor for some cleaner tones, at times. The production is a small step up from your run-of-the-mill black metal.

'III: Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie' has some very good ideas in regards to some guitar melodies and keen drumwork at the hands of Hellhammer. The songwriting on this album is still somewhat immature, and like the earlier two albums, a generic production holds the band back from excelling in their field. It is too repetitive and monotonous for my tastes, but there are enough intriguing ideas planted throughout each of the songs to merit a listen.

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Thanks to UMUR for the artist addition.

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