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Shining - VII: Född Förlorare CD (album) cover

VII: FÖDD FÖRLORARE

Shining

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.90 | 25 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'VII: Född Förlorare' - Shining (8/10)

With a troubled past and some incredibly disturbing subject matter under their belts, Swedish 'suicidal black metal' act Shining also has the distinction of having created one of my favourite dark metal albums of all time, 2007's 'V - Halmstad'. Although their sound may be given the half-baked comparison to Opeth or Enslaved in the sense that they meld extreme metal with clean dynamics and moderate hints at vintage progressive rock. What makes Shining such a different act than the other two aforementioned acts is the sheer darkness that Shining takes their music (and listeners) into. Even the most melancholic metal acts usually give some small glimmer of hope amidst the despair, but in the eyes, the only true escape of suicide. Kindly enough, Shining has composed another soundtrack to suicide for anyone that may opt to check out early, creating a black metal soundscape that is sometimes beautiful, often aggressive, but constant in its dark atmosphere. 'VII: Född Förlorare' may not reach the sort of dismal perfection that 'Halmstad' achieved, but Shining's seventh studio effort is a fitting addition to the band's saga.

Much like Opeth, Shining's sense of songwriting is geared greatly around the dynamic between anguish-ridden extreme metal, and introspective acoustic segments. For the majority of 'VII: Född Förlorare' though, the listener will be exposed to Kvarforth's abrasive growls and mid-tempo, almost bluesy guitar riffs.Much more so than alot of other black metal I have listened to, Shining's formula on 'VII: Född Förlorare' ('born loser' in English) is a highly riff-based venture, with the main guitars relying on fairly simple, yet darkly atmospheric licks that- were the distortion turned down a little- could fit in a standard rock song, albeit a fairly morose one. Shining's magic with guitars is found tough in the added textures over the rhythms, as well as the guitar solos. As for the texturing, Shining makes their roots in depressive black metal very clear, managing to sneak some beautiful harmonies and resolutions into the mix that- in most of the sections they are present- are incredibly beautiful. The guitar solos on the other hand, tend not to tug on the heartstrings nearly as much, but they are executed brilliantly, with plenty of bluesy grit flooding through.

The acoustic and other more introspective moments on 'VII: Född Förlorare' may be the best. While Shining works their malefic aggression quite well during the heaviest sections, it sometimes feels as if a little more subtlety could have been used to improve them. The quietest moments here are close to perfection however, often making use of mellotrons and a cello overtop the acoustic guitars and classical piano to add to the beauty. Even some industrial percussion can be heard briefly in the intro to the last track, 'FFF', although it seems awkward that it is never heard from again in the song.

While there are a couple of guest vocalists here, Kvarforth is the main vocalist. Both his clean singing and growls give off a feeling, and neither is a sound that is often heard in much black metal. The production here has not improved any from 'Halmstad', and that's perfectly fine; Shining has evidently maxed out the studio to their liking, and are free to explore the feelings of loss and despair that they base their music around. 'VII: Född Förlorare' is not the best thing Shining has released, but there is certainly depth here, and depth enough to keep me coming back for many listens. An excellent album from Shining, and if I did not have 'Halmstad' to compare it to, perhaps I would be more inclined to call this a masterpiece, because there are certainly moments in this album where I am very tempted to.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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