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Album Reviews : Shining – IX – Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends

By on April 9, 2015

489156It took a conscious effort for the sake of the review to keep personal opinions of Niklas Kvarforth’s philosophical views and lyrical objectives separate from this piece (for the most part), which was difficult because these philosophical views, however deplorable they are, gave birth to this masterpiece of an album. Shining’s ninth album IX – Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends is more of an experience than anything, a haunting catharsis that leaves you craving more depravity, dissonance, and despair.

Niklas Kvarforth is the driving force behind Shining, being a multi-instrumentalist, and the main composer in the band, and his vision shines (see what I did there?) brilliantly on IX. At this stage, it would be foolish to call Shining a black metal band, as they have evolved beyond the constraints of labels to incorporate progressive, doom, alternative country, and shoe-gaze themes in their music. The guitar work comfortably transfers between slow, funerary chords to arpeggio dirges with the occasional tremolo for effect. Utilizing as many effects and tones as they could, the music is in perpetual metamorphosis, using a range of cleans, distortions, reverbs and choruses that bond effortlessly. With every rhythmic progression, there is an accompanying lead section that adds an extra layer of misery to every song. The band obviously went to great lengths to depict a sort of exquisiteness in tragedy, and it is scintillating to listen to.

The drum work speaks simple yet elegant deliberation. The shifts in cymbals during slow segments accentuate the leads, and is sure to add signature black metal blast beats and a steady double kicking that should speak to most metal fans. Reverb effects have also been added to the drums during clean passages, where simple 4/4 beats become commonplace. It would have been more exciting had drummer Rainer Tuomikanto taken a more jazz-influenced approach during these moments, but it’s a forgivable transgression given that in a band where the guitars are meant to be the primary focus for the listener, the goal of percussion is to provide a backbone but not detract from this focus.

The vocals may not to be everyone’s taste, as they are more or less guttural shouting as opposed to traditional screaming. Kvarforth also does his best to add melancholy clean vocals during the acoustic passages. While he may not be the most technically proficient singer, and it’s evident that he hasn’t received formal training for it, the uneven and desperate cleans suit the music well enough.

It’s difficult to pinpoint any focal highlight of the album, as each song adds its own personality and flavor. Each individual section within a song has its own merits. Personal favourites include “Inga Broar Kvar Att Branna,” which is a seven minute long clean song that adds banjo lead riffs to make the song unique from other songs on the album, “Framtidsutsikter,” which is probably the most hauntingly beautiful songs on IX, and “Vilja & Drom,” which is a rolling heavy piece that still maintains a constant atmosphere.

It’s quite easy to recommend this album even to those who aren’t usually into more progressive music, as the craftsmanship of these songs holds undeniable passion. IX is an album that will stick with me for quite some time to come, and I welcome its depressing charms, as a reprieve from the constant berating brutality of the metal scene. For fans of Agalloch, Katatonia, Watain, and the lesser known Panopticon (go check out Roads to the North), this is a must own album.

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Band: Shining
Album: IX – Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends
Year: 2015
Genre: Progressive Black Metal
Label: Season of Mist
Origin: Sweden

Track listing:
1. Den påtvingade tvåsamheten
2. Vilja & dröm
3. Framtidsutsikter
4. Människotankens vägglösa rum
5. Inga broar kvar att bränna
6. Besök från i(ho)nom

About

Benjen is a qualified teacher residing in the south-east suburbs of Perth. Benjen was introduced to hard rock at the age of 12 with Papa Roach's "Love-Hate Tragedy," and has developed a love for hard rock and metal since. He also has a keen interest in gaming and almost every fandom imaginable, from Doctor Who to Deadpool. He can be followed on Twitter @thetoadmode