Shining (NOR)
Blackjazz


4.5
superb

Review

by oceangrave USER (1 Reviews)
April 21st, 2010 | 76 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A work of surreal mindfuckery of absolutely massive proportions, “Blackjazz” needs to be thoroughly heard over and over in order to be believed and fully understood. A soon-to-be classic album.

To say that Shining have morphed into a whole new different beast with “Blackjazz” might as well be an understatement considering how much of an stylistic shift this release represents compared to their previous work. Whereas earlier albums were mostly jazz fusion oriented prog-rock (specially their little known 2001 debut “Where The Ragged People Go”), 2007’s “Grindstone” marked a definite departure in terms of both sound and focus that managed to overshadow their previous work and, at the same time, to finally put the band among Norway’s greatest musical exports. After listening to “Blackjazz” in healthy, almost daily doses, I can say that “Grindstone” served little purpose as a sign of what was about to come.

Compared to Shining’s past albums, “Blackjazz” seems to be a much more violent, aggressive, modern and “avant-garde” affair, closer to the work of like-minded bands The Dillinger Escape Plan, Fantômas, Ground Zero and Ruins. These songs are performed with a sense of urgency that almost borderlines on lunacy but, after the first couple of listens, it becomes quite clear that this is one of the most chaotically controlled albums of recent times.

Whereas Shining have experimented with electronic elements from the very beginning of their career, they have always been a lot more subdued compared to the dense, layered industrial sound design they went for this time. Synthesizer leads and flourishes abound across the album, which leads me to a major complaint : had they focused on simpler, catchier leads instead of the intricate finger work scattered all over the songs, “Blackjazz” could have been an even stronger set of compositions with an stronger focus on the absolutely stellar rhythmic section of the band. Drummer Torstein Lofthus’ work on this album is nothing short of stunning and easily ranks among the best drum performances I’ve heard in a long, long time.

The guitar work is, without a doubt, the most chaotic performance on “Blackjazz”. Angular riffs and chords, with little to non-existent focus in melody, make up the bulk of the album. The fact that there are no guitar solos might enrage some of the more conservative fans but, yet again, this is not an album for narrow-minded prog rock listeners. There is some heavy feedback experimentation as well as noisy drone elements that might bring to mind the work of Khanate and Gnaw (“Omen”). These sections mix surprisingly well with Shining’s own brand of savage mind***ery.

Singer and band leader Jørgen Munkeby lashes out a bizarre yet intense vocal performance that draws much inspiration from Mike Patton and Yamatsuka Eye, aided by a diverse array of effects and post-production vocal manipulation. Apart from singing and playing guitar, Munkeby (a former member of Jaga Jazzist) took care of the saxophone parts, specially prominent in “Blackjazz Deathtrance”, drone-meets-Naked City sounding “Omen” and the album closer, a ***ed up rendition of King Crimson’s classic “21st Century Schizoid Man”.

“Blackjazz” needs to be thoroughly heard over and over in order to be believed and fully understood. A soon-to-be classic album.


user ratings (196)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
bodiesinflight57
April 21st 2010


870 Comments


This is annoying. I was writing a 4.5 review of this.

Ah well, no need now I guess. Great band

Phantom
April 21st 2010


8930 Comments


Shining (QWE) is better

jingledeath
April 21st 2010


7104 Comments


almost got this because i thought it was the other Shining

Ghostechoes
April 21st 2010


1353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In a good way, I find this album so different from their previous releases; much more avantgarde metal than jazz.

BallsToTheWall
April 21st 2010


44805 Comments


Great review. Heard about this record, looking forward to hearing it.

bloc
April 21st 2010


35024 Comments


I listened to this once, it was a bit too much for me.

elephantREVOLUTION
April 21st 2010


2791 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is sweet. i'm glad there's finally a review for it.

Wizard
April 21st 2010


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

almost got this because i thought it was the other Shining

That's why I got this LOL and it isn't very good tbqh.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

Dryden
April 21st 2010


13285 Comments


what in the

Wizard
April 21st 2010


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You liked this?

Dryden
April 21st 2010


13285 Comments


havnt heard this yet, dont know if its worth it

Dryden
April 21st 2010


13285 Comments


yeah not going to bother

NortherlyNanook
April 21st 2010


1285 Comments


only song off this i ever listen to occasionally is 21st century schizoid man

i'd rather listen to this than the last album from the other shining. dont wanna listen to opeth

Wizard
April 22nd 2010


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

only song off this i ever listen to occasionally is 21st century schizoid man

And they should fucking leave King Crimson alone!

bodiesinflight57
April 22nd 2010


870 Comments


Basically this album rules...

Jelliot
April 22nd 2010


10 Comments


Great album. They also completely destroyed live, especially on Healter Skelter. Impeccably controlled chaos : )

Plutonio
April 26th 2010


474 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Phantom took my joke.

Wizard
May 7th 2010


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I totally confused this with some of their older stuff hahahaha. Too many albums on my computer atm. This rules and I apologize for some of my snarky comments above.

eggsvonsatan
July 1st 2010


1087 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This album got annoying really fast. And their KC cover is just disastrous.

bodiesinflight57
July 1st 2010


870 Comments


"their KC cover is just awesome"



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