Review Summary: Shining offer you another outstanding release as they present you with the ultimate suicidal summer release.
Whats the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term 'suicidal black metal' ? First inital impressions are most likely questionable; but thats the genre Shining has coined from their lyrical topics. Which are solely based on depression, suicide, and angst. But don't let the lyrics illustrate the band as whole. Straight out of Halmstad, Sweden; Shining have released alot of great material over the years, but it was sad to hear the news of there disbandment after the release of 'IV / The Erie Cold'. But thankfully in the same year the break-up took place the band announced the reformation and the news of a new album. They would then deliver their fifth full-length album 'V / Halmstad' This was great progression wise, because they proved they were better and healthier as band. The same question always remains, 'can they top their previous release?'
Summer of 2009 cited the release of Shinings sixth full-length album titled 'VI / Klagopsalmer' and not only was I eager to hear what Shining had to offer, I was also curious to see if it would blow its previous release out of the water. While it doesn't beat its preccedor, it comes pretty close because 'Klagopsalmer' marks another progression in the bands career as it does not disappoint. They have generally added more ideas into their unique sound. While the band is known for their suicidal based lyrics and the incorporation of doom elements; the band has also incorporated a more raw sound as oposed to their previous work. Which makes the overall presentation more severe and harsh. The atmosphere is absolutely crushing and gives you a haunting feel to it. Mostly because of the bands use of disinct elements and singer Niklas Olsson's vocals.
Niklas 'Kvarforth' Olsson; The vocalist for the band comes across to me as one of the most unqiue vocalists I have heard in awhile. He uses alot of vocal stylings and ranges which give him huge singularity. Theres just a rough edge to his voice as he offers you such nasty and tastelessly howls. 'VI / Klagopsalmer' showcases Kvarforth's voice better than ever and is ultimately at its prime as he even presents you with a batch of clean passages in songs. Suprisingly he pulls it off. But the vocals are not what only makes up the band, the guitars are a key role in the bands evolved sound and generally are better.
Guitarists Fredric 'Wredhe' Graby and Peter Huss have never failed to give listeners any mercy as they blast threw with their doomy leads and crushing riffs. What makes them better than ever with this release is the amount of guitar solo's which were not much present on 'Halmstad'. The use of guitar solo's just make the record better than ever, because I do not know one person who does not enjoy them. Drums and bass are still good but have not gone threw any improvement, as vocals and guitar take away the spotlight, which in most cases always happens.
Now as for the songs, the opener 'Vilseledda Barnasjälars Hemvist' starts off arubtly as the guitar slides into a sludgy riff as vocalist Niklas 'Kvarforth' Olsson blares into his rough leads. Defintley a great opener and will keep the listener awake and aware from start to finish. Next track 'Plågoande O'Helga Plågoande' basically starts where the previous track left off, it crushes through out and the most noteable part is in the middle of the song where it breaks down in a beautiful acoustic passage and great clean vocals.'Krossade Drömmar Och Brutna Löften' starts off with another acoustic lead and just when you think its going to be a calm delightful song, the guitars come in quickly and without warning and squashes the listener. 'Fullständigt Jävla Död Inuti' without a doubt is one of the best tracks off the album as it shows you the more melodic side to the band, as clean vocals and soft soothing riffs are dedicated throughout the whole song.
Thankfully the band gives you a break with 'Ohm - Skoj Att Leva' which is actually a cover of Norwegian alternative rock band Seigmen. The song is nothing more than an acoustic interlude consisting of the same riff until it unwillingly leads you to the albums ending epic 'Total Utfrysning' Which could be seen as one of the best tracks on the album as it basically showcases everything heard before and more. After all that it ends in an array of violin and piano just to top it all off. All in all 'IV / Klagopsalmer' does have potential to be a classic and is defintley a grower. If you are new to the band my suggestion would be to start with this or the bands previous release 'V / Halmstad' as both are guarenteed to blow your mind.