Review Summary: Shining's dangerous debut inspires hundreds of musicians to take up the hobby of self mutilation.
Formed in 1996, Swedish band Shining was one of the first projects in the black metal genre to earn the tag "suicidal black metal". While nowadays that term has gone to become bastardized by a countless number of bedroom black metal bands, at the time of Shining's introduction to the scene, they were one of the first groups to include lyrics heavily influenced by suicide and depression. As it is with most originators of a genre, while other "depressive" and "suicidal" black metal bands fade into obscurity even after their first releases, Shining's quality material stands strong with I - Within Deep Dark Chambers
being the first full-length in a line of an impressive discography.
Musically, the sound of I - Within Deep Dark Chambers
is very reminiscent of that of the classic 90's black metal bands. Last track, "Only The Silence Remains" is a perfect example of the sound of this album; the begining of the song features fast, tremolo picked guitar, backed by whirling blast beats and demonic howls courtesy of vocalist Andreas Classen. After a beautiful clean guitar picked interlude, the song's tempo slows, becoming something more akin to doom metal. While each song does for the most part feature the song same structure, they all each feature their own little quirks and traits that separate themselves as well. Take for example the track "Stonelands" which features acoustic guitar towards the end of the track, or "Inisis" which features a bass interlude and then a simple, yet searingly melodic lead in the background of the other instruments. The album also puts on display a sense of melody, through the use of subtle keyboard arrangements buried beneath the guitar, or even from the guitar itself in most instances.
While on the music end, I - Within Deep Dark Chambers
features solid instrumentation, the true gem of this album is it's tortured lyrics, and their delivery from main singer Andreas Classen and the guitarist/founder of Shining, Niklas Kvarforth. While lyrics such as "Disgusted by life/
Release the blood and submit to freedom!
from the song "Vita Detestabilis" would have been strong in the first place, no matter on who the vocalist was, but with the emotional delivery of Mr.Classen, these lyrics are given new life (or death, depending on how you view it). Whether these lyrics are just a front, an effort to differentiate themselves from the pack, or honest true lyrics, the world will never know, but with the strong emotion put into the performance, the latter situation seems more much more likely. Lyrically, the words on this album also proved to be incredibly influential, inspired many black metal musicians to start to develop lyrics bent towards suicide and depression.
I - Deep Within Dark Chambers
is probably the most "immature" Shining album, but even so remains a great piece of metal. From the melody laden black metal passages, to the lyrics of utter self loathing, there is little about this album that is not to be liked by black metal fans. From this point on, Shining grew upon their already tremendous talent, and have gone on to release some more truly great albums.