In the year 2000 when Swedish based band Shining released their first album I - Within Deep Dark Chambers
the group simultaneously (and almost singlehandedly) created both the suicidal and depressive sects of black metal. From its subtly atmospheric music to its heavy references to suicide, the album inspired hundreds of young musicians to step and and voice their own hurts and pains. Unfortunately, the majority those inspired musicians have only instead created music that hurts and pains the ears of the genres listeners. Luckily for the black metal community, that unlike so many of the other suicidal and depressive black metal bands who (also luckily) would disappear after their first albums, Shining proved to be a true long player in releasing their fantastic II - Livets Andhallplats
in the summer of 2001.
As a whole II - Livets Andhallplats
proves to be a much more dynamic record then its predecessor. This is clearly evident even from the first song "Ett Liv Utan Mening" which begins with a hauntingly melodic acoustic guitar introduction which leads into but then leads to pure, unrestrained atmospherically abundant black metal. While most times the atmospherics are created by some sort of synth effect, in Shining's case the overwhelming disparity is caused by nothing more then the tremolo picked guitars and the gratifyingly audible bass to the blasting drums and the tortured howls of project main man Kvarforth. Musically, there are many instances on the album where the band successfully and what seems to be easily, transitions from melancholic clean picked guitar sections to the trademark black metal aggression the genre is known for. While yes, the music is fast, intense and quite claustrophobic it is also enjoyable melodic, with the latter factor never detracting from the emotions brought out by the instruments.
Lyrically, the suicidal content of I - Within Deep Dark Chambers
is also taken to new heights (or depths depending on how one decides to look at it). In the song "Att Med Kniv Göra Sig Illa" Kvarforth repeatedly spews "born to die/cursed to life/i was born to die/but I'm cursed to die/unchain the wolf inside/and let the self-destruction blossom
". With lyrics like this coupled with the lead singers haunted delivery it really is a wonder at how the man has not yet committed the act he so vehemently supports. Where this pain and anguish came from, nobody can say, but it's quite easily felt upon listen that Kvarforth doesn't live a day without some sort of feeling of ache and pain. Even with the song "Manipulation Mass" the band urges it's listener's to harm themselves, creepily pleading "Do me a favor/and kill yourself
" throughout the song. While many bands in the past have been tried and sued for even the thought of incorporating such a message into their music, the bold Shining puts their message right into the front of the mix, unafraid to preach their own self mutilating morals.
Overall, II - Livets Andhallplats
is much more focused, mature approach to the musical and lyrical content of the first album. The instrumentation proves to be much better, and the lyrics, even more depressing that thought to be possible. While the rest of the suicidal black metal genre was already showing signs of an imminent collapse, Shining gave the genre a revitalizing breath of fresh air with II - Livets Andhallplats
showing once again, the might of of true innovators.