Review Summary: Shining Lite
The last time we heard from Norway’s Shining, 2010s Blackjazz
was spewing it’s sonic template of hyperkinetic spazz metal to a somewhat international stature and even spawning a live album in 2011. Blackjazz
was a monster of an album to say the least, molding metal, progressive dynamics and an eccentric, free-wielding saxophone from multi-instrumentalist Jørgen Munkeby and his bandmates. They even managed to cover the amazingly complex King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” and nail it in to their own sound which is what a great cover should sound like. Even the huge production that boosted a fatter than normal instrumental sound only made their first major critical album all the more enjoyable all the while bringing to life every conceivable note crammed into the nooks and crannies of their rather elongated songs. One One One
is what I would like to call ‘Shining Lite’ because of the major refinements made to the bands overall envision to what a proper eccentric album should sound like.
Ever since their debut Where the Ragged People Go
, Shining have been onto this refinement since day one, elaborating on the cliché building on the old and making something new. The only thing different which makes One One One
stand out as the best in their discography is their overall grasp of song structure and allowing their lengthy process of speedy/ spazzy mechanical metal and jazz fusion frenzy to be channeled into shortened and tight-as-hell song structures. This refinement of ideas helps channel the chaos of Blackjazz’s
excessive use of repeated ideas (remember how many damn pretentious free-style saxophone parts there were?) and makes these chunks of songs fit together as if they’re trying to write an album full of songs instead of the bombardment of great ideas that seem to all flow into excessive chaos. Whether you’re a fan of controlled chaos or not, it makes for a much easier listening experience throughout the entire album and inviting potential repeat listens instead of draining the listener after three songs.
As for the actual songs themselves, this is Shining through and through. Their somewhat industrialized tremolo riffs are still accompanied by a rhythm attack that’s not only frantic but is also worthy of keeping a stellar technical groove. Even the saxophone and electronic parts feel important to the songs and aren’t quite as jarring as past efforts. To put it simply, these parts sound in place within the song and less of an overbearing noise attack. In fact, these parts only notch up the intensity of the songs crescendos to a point of near heart attack in some cases (“I Won’t Forget” & “Paint the Sky Black”). The industrial edge to Shining has also been molded well with a more organic sense of song-writing (“The One Inside”) while other standout tracks such as “Off the Hook” are songs Munkeby uses to search for a melodic tone to his singing ability, adding further flavour to his eccentric brand of chaotic yet controlled song writing. And let’s not forget the fat production of past albums because it’s even more intact this time around. All the instrumentation is completely up front and literally nothing gets lost in the mix.
An overall impression of One One One
would be that Munkeby created this album for a live setting. Shorter song times and compressed ideas from albums past are all you really need to know before going into One One One
. It’s more or less the same Shining, just way more of the punch instead of the drawn out experimental tendencies that were cool but a little excessive.