Dissonant, Melancholic
"This eponymous album proves that Shining is still tortured, disgorging black metal as vicious and twisted as ever."
CHILDERIC THOR (10.11.2023)  
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You should never judge an album by its cover, especially if it's ugly and unsuccessful. Thus, the rather uninviting cover of Shining's eleventh official release (not counting all the crumbs littering their career) doesn't really give us much desire to reveal its contents. And yet, apart from the fact that good taste has never been Niklas Kvarforth's (the band's boss, for those who don't know it yet) first quality, quite the contrary, this gory case perfectly announces what the record has in its blood-stained bowels, corroded by a black, unhealthy bile - that sickly black metal which definitely belongs only to its progenitor.

The successor to "X: Varg Utan Flock" simply bears the band's name as its title. It would of course be tempting, if not convenient, to read into this choice the Scandinavians' desire to make a fresh start, as is often the case when an album is baptized eponymously by a band that has already been around for many years. The fact that this new release marks the return of Shining after an absence of almost five years could lend credence to this interpretation. But this is clearly not the case.

Shining continues to carve the same path since the matrix-like "Within Deep Dark Chambers" (2000), faithful to an identical mold both in form (six tracks as usual) and in content, vicious and tortured. But it's not true to say that Kvarforth and his band haven't evolved over the years. Although still as dark and corrupt as ever, haunted by death and drugs, their black metal is shining ever brighter with melodic gleams (Peter Huss's solos are no stranger to this) and is not afraid of coupling with other styles seemingly far removed from their universe, jazz or classical music, as illustrated here by 'Åttahundratjugo', an instrumental inspired by Erik Satie, played by a sinister piano.

But this doesn't in any way empty it of its mortifying sap, which oozes out in a more accessible but no less decadent way. The tempo may be brutal, but it's halted by the moments of death that the Swedes knit together like a macabre dance over a bottomless pit. The vocals are flayed, but Niklas's whispered melodies nonetheless ruminate a bloody gall that stains the walls of these compositions that never go straight. The guitars weave superb lines, but never abandon those spindly chords that resonate like the razor blade of a suicidal soul.

Shining has changed, but not the malaise of its principal author, whose gaunt, swollen writing is easily recognizable. Sometimes approaching ten minutes, each track is eaten away by a morbid stupor, reeling out a haunting weft fractured by sudden, gangrenous eruptions. Haunted throughout by a craggy atmosphere, this eponymous album proves that Shining is still tortured, disgorging black metal that's more vicious and twisted than ever.
- Official website

01. Avsändare Okänd
02. Snart Är Dom Alla Borta
03. Allt För Döden
04. Fidelis Ad Mortem
05. Åttahundratjugo
06. Den Permanenta Sömnen Kallar

Alex Friberg: Basse
Charles Hedger: Guitares
Nicholas Barker: Batterie
Niklas Kvarforth: Chant / Guitares / Claviers
Peter Huss: Guitares
Andy La Rocque: Guitares / Invité
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