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Shining Blackjazz album cover
3.84 | 107 ratings | 15 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Madness And The Damage Done (5:20)
2. Fisheye (5:08)
3. Exit Sun (8:36)
4. Exit Sun (0:57)
6. The Madness And The Damage Done (3:24)
7. Blackjazz Deathtrance (10:52)
8. Omen (8:46)
9. 21st Century Schizoid Man (8:41)

Total Time 57:19

Line-up / Musicians

- J?rgen Munkeby / vocals, guitar, sax, keyboards, synths, programming, Fx, composer & producer
- Even Helte Hermansen / guitar
- Bernt Andr? Moen / keyboards, synths
- Tor Egil Kreken / bass
- Torstein Lofthus / drums

- Grutle Kjellson / vocals (8,9)

Releases information

Artwork: Trine + Kim Design Studio

CD Indie Recordings ‎- INDIE045CD (2010, Norway)

2xLP Indie Recordings ‎- INDIE045LP (2010, Norway)

Thanks to MiniGorbi for the addition
and to silly puppy for the last updates
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SHINING Blackjazz ratings distribution

(107 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

SHINING Blackjazz reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Certainly not a kind of music I normally like, but why not give it a try after all. One should try different flavors to experience various tastes. This one, starting with weird The Madness and the Damage Done is a foul track. Not that making track by track review matters much, tracks here all have similar basis. On a first sight, they are dissonant electronic "creatures" and after all, on the second sight too. I know that it's some kind of Avant-Garde performance, act of speaking about what they feel in a intentionally strange way (because it's Avant), but this is celebration of ugliness. Yes, some may like it, but count me out. I respect RIO/Avant style and (who else if not God, to whom I don't believe in? I often substitute it with word "Prog" - it's my "Him") Prog knows that there are albums from this genre I like. Or I love. And there is synonymous case in real life, I don't want to mention it (just that one you can do on your own and second one you have to do with girl - yes, I mean that word (but I don't want to use it on a well-mannered site as ProgArchives), but don't let it offend (1st time) you, because from what I've read on the forums, most of RIO/Avant lovers are fine people. Why I'm even saying this ? Because my message was misunderstood, so this is actually an explanation. I'm in fact talking about certain people, who are doing things "just for the cause", or simply when something is generally popular, they go for it with a flow (talking about pop music, fashion, you know). And from real life I know that there are some people who hates this very same trend, so they're against it, but actually, they're doing the same thing, only they embrace/love/like/worship opposite side of the battlefield and opposed to pop may be extremely fanatics side of Avant-Garde. May be for some. And when I said about this "you-know-what", I'm probably not talking about you, but about this kind of people), but don't let this offend (2nd time) you. This is just how it seems to me. Absolutely unpleasant music that enjoys being unpleasant and thinks that it's its advantage, I'll rather pass.

1(+), because of false hopes, because of whole purpose of this music that misses me perfectly (and completely).

For die hard fans only if you want to hear my opinion.

EDIT: I've added explanation of my words that may have offended someone. However, because I supposed that bad rating will spur discussion far more likely than good rating (if you check my profile, you'll see that most of my ratings are well).

And yes, I'm not native speaker, even this may or may not be good argument for you. I'm certainly trying, that's for sure, isn't it ? So yes, I'm aware that there are some mistakes, but frankly, I've improved (and I still am and will be improving) over the last year & there are people who write worse than I do.

I know that by time of writing this, there are 4 reviews with average of 4.75 - yes, you may like it, I not only don't deny you, I even don't offend you for liking this. If you think so, then my message was misunderstood, but that's different case, not problem of mine.

One more thing to state. I don't know how others feel/will feel about this album, but I personally felt responsible for warning people against it. Those, who might not like it. There will be some for sure. However, if you just don't like my rating and are looking for little things and nuisances in my review, there you go. Write me PM and we can solve it. Thank you for your patience. Be happy.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Name "Shining" for years associates for me with great movie with Jack Nicholson. And "Blackjazz" could be possibly nice words game ( if there will be release from late 60-s with such name, I could think it should be possibly avant-jazz-funk Afro-American energetic project). But it is not.

Norwegian quartet of jazz musicians with music academy education plays combination of BLACK metal, industrial, heavy progressive and free-JAZZ. Or shortly speaking, BLACKJAZZ.

During last decade Norway became the strong base for world most innovative progressive musicians in different genres. Shining's team is not exception - band's musicians participated in many different, mostly jazz projects, and two of them are even "Jaga Jazzist", one of best known European progressive new fusion band, members. But there is no music as on "Jaga Jazzist" albums on Blackjazz at all.

In fact, musicians doing there on this album, same things they 're doing in their other projects - they are mixing different styles in one melted fusion. The difference is components: this fusion is very fast, very heavy, cold, industrial, with trash/death metal vocals. Possibly, it is most radical mix, with still could be named "fusion".

Possibly, it is difficult to imagine, how does it sounds: just think about Zorn's Naked City, some radical form of King Crimson, and the atmosphere is very similar to The Mars Voltian chaotic space, but without such deep psychedelic sense.

As many avant/experimental works, this album is not everyone's cup of tea. For those searching for harmony, mellow symphonic conformism with very regulated element of heavy rock in their music, or lovers of Pat Metheny pleasant listening, this album could break their nerves. Or bring them into depression. Or just destroy their pink glasses. If you're the one from categories from above, better avoid. It is just not your world ( and there is huge industry, working to produce one more product to make you happy).

But for dark streets travellers, for researchers of the borders between light and dark, for those thinking music is not nice soundtrack for your cocktail party - try this.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Well I must admit this is a diappointment for me after their previous album "Grindstone" which blew me away.They've pretty much made this record more extreme when it comes to the vocals and sound. It's a noisy and chaotic recording while the growling and screaming vocals are just too much for me. A very intense album.

They kind of play with the title of Neil Young's "Needle And The Damage Done" calling their's "The Madness And The Damage Done". It opens with yelling then kicks in heavily. Not a fan of the vocals here. It's chaotic before 3 minutes and the vocals come screaming back after 4 minutes. "Fiskeye" opens with heavy drums as crazy synths join in. Spoken vocals a minute in as the guitar joins in. Synths are back. Sax before 3 1/2 minutes. Catchy stuff believe it or not. "Exit Sun" has a good guitar intro and some killer drum work.It turns experimental when it settles. Kicks back in at 6 minutes.

"Exit Sun" is a short percussion based tune. "Helter Skelter" is an uptempo track with drums and dissonant sax standing out. "Madness And The Damage Done" is intense early. Drums kick in before 2 minutes and the guitar follows. "Blackjazz Deathtrance" has these strange sounds that pulse before the heavy drums arrive. It settles around 3 1/2 minutes with more weird sounds. Spoken words follow. It's intense again. A calm before 6 1/2 minutes then it picks back up 8 minutes in. "Omen" is dark and intense once again. Sax in this one after 4 1/2 minutes and later. "21st Century Schizoid Man" is an interesting cover especially with the processed growling vocals. I prefer APRIL WINE's version.

A tough one for me to get into. Experimental, chaotic, noisy and loud. And no this has nothing to do with Jazz.

Review by 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 ¾ 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.
Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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)

Review by Warthur
5 stars Just as Dodheimsgard's 666 International attempts to fuse industrial music and black metal from a black metal direction, Shining's Blackjazz tries the same experiment from the perspective of an industrial musician, and of the two experiments I think this is the more successful one. With keyboards that sound like guitars, guitars that sound like keyboards, and a wall of noise which shifts between industrial and black metal modes on a whim, the group have produced a complex soundscape with sufficient variety that there's space for a King Crimson cover at the end of the album which seems bizarrely appropriate given the howling cacophony that precedes it. Not to everyone's taste, but if it is to your taste you'll love it to bits.
Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars More tea vicar?

For reasons unknown to me, metal has entered my life again..... It's strange, I used to be a huuuuuge headbanger, black and blue hair, nose ring and the works, and then by the flick of the switch my tastes changed, I started listening to electronic music, jazz, hip hop, avantguarde sorcery - found out about dancing the night away - completely unlike Gene Kelly, I always prefer the sun - and somehow over 10 years went by.

SNAP!!! It said, when I then, just for fun's sake, put on an album given to me by one of my old metal friends. Blackjazz zooms out of the speakers and whacks me over my head with the force of a wet screaming baby. The brutal hard edgings of the riffing, the occasional grindcore drumming as well as the freaky howls of the toy keyboards, all make this venture extremely chaotic. You get thrown into the washing machine and hope for the best...............My jaw dropped, I started bobbing back and forth in the chair I was sitting in, and suddenly the urge just got too overwhelming and I swooped out of my seat with the grace of a small dear - flying halfway through the room - headbanging uncontrollably for about 10 minutes. My fasting days had run their course, so it would seem. Metal had returned.

This is not your every day metal though - not even remotely. The vocals hint of black metal while the drums from Elephant9 drummer Thorstein Lofthus pull toward both jazz rock and the early RIO scene. In between you get electronic mish mashes that sound like a toy store gone berserk at night - coating most of this album in a somewhat surreal ambiance. Teamed up with the harsh growling vocals, you effectively get two opposites pulling away from each other throughout the course of this album. This is part of the genius though, not unlike the way great horror flicks betrayed our fickle minds with images of small school girls, blood flowing through elevator doors and an unnerving soundtrack storming through your sensory system.

Norway is undeniably one of the birthplaces of Black Metal, and while you'll find a great deal of people up here in Scandinavia swearing to the original strain of the genre, there are still bands taking this thing to the next level. Ulver fx.... They both pioneered the Black Metal genre as well as the progressive take on it. My guess is that Shining probably picked up a thing or two from Ulver, even if it may seem as if they couldn't be further from each other musically.

Blackjazz is not for the faint of heart. It's the kind of music that stabs it's way through the airwaves. It's vicious, brutal and then at the same time incredibly frail. There's a thin line running through this album, the very tightrope the vocals balance on - where the drums spin out of control and somehow have to land on their feet again. -All of this chaos depends on a frail and minuscule line, a common idea of where the music needs to go and what it needs to get there. It's insanely difficult to pull something like this off properly, especially when the pace is so furious and pumping.

This is without a doubt music for the adventurous folks out there. Puppies definitely not allowed. Blackjazz is basically what Samla Mammas Manna would sound like if they were a modern Black Metal band. It's fun, heavy like skips of gold, erratic, choppy, insane, loud, shrieking, unforgiving and energetic like a horny black rabbit on the prowl.

Expect ear bleed and soar ankles the morning after.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars After two albums of classic 60s avant-garde tinged post-bop jazz and two more of dark experimental progressive rock laced with auxiliary reserves of tripped out electronica and partitioned metal music bombast, SHINING led by the eccentric composer and band leader Jørgen Munkeby decided to delve into the heavier world of extreme metal that trimmed down the musical instruments even more and focused on a caustic rambunctious style of guitar driven metal with crazy jazz flair ups courtesy of Munkeby's frenetic saxophone squawking.

Another sound shift also signified yet another change in the lineup. Out was keyboardist Andreas Hessen Schei replaced by synthesizer wizard Bernt Moen and gone was basset Morten Strøm who found a replacement in Tor Egil Kreken. Torstein Lofthus stuck around for this third wave of stylistic shifts as drumming powerhouse extraordinary and the band added one extra member in the form of Even Helte Hermansesn as a second guitarist thus making the new version of SHINING a provocative and quixotic quartet. While the previous albums were primarily instrumental, SHINING's fourth album BLACKJAZZ was their breakthrough and featured a frenetic fast-tempo paced style of industrialized metal with Munkeby taking on the newfound duties as lead vocalist.

One of the major inspirations behind this sudden shift into extreme metal was the band's 2007 tour with Enslaved and also due to the fact that the previous two ridiculously complex albums didn't translate so well live therefore BLACKJAZZ was designed to represent how the band performed in a live setting with the album title referring to this new bizarre amalgamation of black metal, industrial rock and of course jazz! The album exists in the same league as fellow Norwegian band Dødheimsgard and in many ways Munkeby's frantic vocal style reminds me of Devin Townsend especially from his earlier years on Steve Vai's "Sex & Religion" album as well as with Strapping Young Lad.

BLACKJAZZ doesn't waste any time slapping you in the face with caustic swells of guitar riffs, bantering bass lines and spastic drum rolls but for all its direct assault on the senses, the musical flow is much simpler with less detours into psychedelic atmospheric journeys into another universe. The second track "Fisheye" dates back to the 2008 when SHINING performed with Enslaved at the 90-minute "Armageddon Concerto" and was mined to create the studio version of the first movement. It seems that this decision was the impetus to switching to the avant-garde industrial metal style on BLACKJAZZ and for those hoping for another dark prog journey in the vein of King Crimson's debut, they must have been as disappointed as the jazz purists who first heard SHINING's third album "In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster."

Ubiquitous caustic bombast aside, BLACKJAZZ is filled with creepy and oft eerie atmospheric backdrops that keep the incessant high octane metal rampages into the world of darkened progressive rock with highbrow time signature workouts, intricately designed atmospheric generators and brilliant execution through highly energetic but adventurous virtuosity. While saxophone jazz mixed with metal has become a bit cliche some ten years after this release, nobody has pulled it off quite as well as SHINING did when such a concept was still a novelty. All those King Crimson attacks are still quite present to the trained ear with the most striking example coming on "Exit Sun" which mimics parts of "21st Century Schizoid Man" which also happens to appear as a more metal cover version as the album's closer.

As the album entered mid-point with the crazed "Healter Skelter," the jazz and metal parts become ever more entwined with the saxophone parts dueling in a death match with the rampaging guitar and bass lines. This particular score is daunting in its virtuosic delivery. For those who appreciated the less bombastic approach of the previous two albums, BLACKJAZZ does deliver some darkened prog goods in the form of Anekdoten or Morte Macabre on tracks like "The Madness and the Damage Done" and most importantly "Omen" although do be warned that the quickened pace fo the drums, vocals and guitar parts which contrast quite starkly with the chilled out atmospheric backdrop offers a stunning contrast of stylistic approaches somehow woven together seamlessly as only true seasoned composers can master but it's probably the excesses of "Blackjazz Deathtrance" that i find most memorable here.

After a more extreme version of "21st Century Schizoid Man," the classic King Crimson song from 1969 that pretty much was the firing canon of the entire prog explosion that followed, the album ends and leaves you with the initial perception that you're not entirely sure what you just experienced. BLACKJAZZ performed an incredible mastery of fusing completely disparate musical styles into a seamless whole. The caustic metal mixes with jazz and what sounds like symphonic classical music is uncanny in how well it all gels together. Sure this isn't black metal and it isn't jazz but elements of both are here hanging out on the same playground along with their buddies prog rock, electronica, industrial rock, 20th century Western classical and moments of psychedelia.

This is not an easy listen for sure and will take some time for it to unleash its magic but once those sonic spores have hatched in your head, you cannot unhear it! In my world this is the second masterpiece in a row from the Norwegian band SHINING and although they wouldn't keep the world's attention very long after this lauded breakthrough, for a brief moment in time they were actually one of Norway's most promising bands. Warning: not to be listened to if you have severe reactions to extreme stimuli! Symptoms may include sanity loss, ringing ears, excessive desires to bang head against wall and possible sudden outbursts that could leave hotel rooms in shambles. However if you have all those uncontrollable impulses firmly under lock and key, this album may provide that exhilarating excitement that extremophiles crave but rarely find in such abundance.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Well, Shining certainly took the vibe of Grindstone even further here on Blackjazz. Where Grindstone was a heavy, yet experimental and dynamic record, this one is just a continous punch in the gut all the way through. The record starts off well with the opening duo of The Madness & The Damag ... (read more)

Report this review (#278640) | Posted by tired_feet | Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wow. That was the word that popped into my head when I first listened to "The Madness & The Damage Done, Pt. 1." And, that word continued to enter my thoughts as the album continued on its course. Now, at week #3 of owning this album, I can honestly say that it's one of the most powerful, artfu ... (read more)

Report this review (#276603) | Posted by MusicMan3172 | Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Just the other day, I was reviewing Ihsahn's After and noted a particularly bonkers track called A Grave Inversed where Ihsahn and chums seemed to play as fast and horrifically as they can and just when you thought things couldn't get crazier, in came the saxophone. Exhilirating though it was, ... (read more)

Report this review (#273827) | Posted by Textbook | Wednesday, March 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well all I have to say is wow with this album. To explain this album imagine if frank zappa made a metal album. It is very out there but that makes it unique. I have not really heart metal bands go this route much where they have very odd time signatures and changes throughout the song. It's very ... (read more)

Report this review (#273056) | Posted by sirfragalot86 | Saturday, March 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Finally something new! I like groups trying to emulate the seventies great bands, but only some of them are really good. The same for progmetal bands trying to follow the Dream Theater wave... Here, we are talking about a NEW kind of music, an incredible and unexpected mix of genres... Maybe GR ... (read more)

Report this review (#270337) | Posted by sbaguz | Monday, March 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I was sceptical at first. Not because of the material on offer here, but because I was mixing up the Swedish black metal band Shining with their Norwegian counterpart. Luckily the Norwegians don't sound a the sleightest bit like the depressing self mutilating metal music the Swedes make. Shinin ... (read more)

Report this review (#263756) | Posted by snoe | Monday, February 1, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 2nd review: Shining - Blackjazz : 5 stars. I cannot even begin to express the assault of jazzy waves of music that were crashing in my brain when the first 20 seconds of "The Madness And The Damage Done" knocked me back into my chair. I was literally stunned by the tempo, the rhythm, the vivid ... (read more)

Report this review (#261727) | Posted by Dunn Khan | Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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