"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Shining - "Blackjazz" (CD)

Shining - "Blackjazz" CD cover image

"Blackjazz" track listing:

1. The Madness and the Damage Done (5:20)
2. Fisheye (5:08)
3. Exit Sun (8:36)
4. Exit Sun (0:57)
5. HEALTER SKELTER (5:35)
6. The Madness and the Damage Done (3:24)
7. Blackjazz Deathtrance (10:52)
8. Omen (8:46)
9. 21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson cover) (8:41)

Reviewed by on May 27, 2010

"Shining has mastered what they do on this album."

Shining putting out an album called “Blackjazz”? Hold it right there fellow black metal fan, let's get ourselves straight. This isn't the Swedish black metal band Shining, it is in fact is the band's slightly crazier Norwegian doppelganger. Even with that out of the way, unless you're already a Shining fan we will still have to throw our preconceptions away. If you (like I) thought there would be any black metal involved it's time to look elsewhere. Hell, there's not a whole lot of jazz either.

"Blackjazz" a super-sized combo of electronic, industrial metal and noise music - and it isn't half bad. Most avant-garde bands tend to be unable to meld their new sounds cohesively, and instead writhe about under the thin guise of art. Although most of Shining's riffs tend to come off the wall, it flows very well from song to song, section to section. That's not to say however, that the weirdness level isn't off the charts and out the window. Saxophones shriek atonal curses from all angles, time signatures are swapped at random and, although industrial and square, the drums seem set on drum rolling their way into a small cyclone. Vocally Shining has moved to the standard industrial bark, hazed in a grainy lo-fi mesh and screamed with all abandon.

Unlike a decidedly more metal band like Rammstein, "Blackjazz" will appeal to fans of grittier bands like Ministry, Godflesh and their ilk - fans who are also unfazed by electronic, classical and jazz, etc. thrown in the pile. A small crowd no doubt, but one that I'm sure exists, seething in contempt at modern music. Like most industrial bands, it features a giant fuzzy crusher of a bass/guitar combo that dominate the atmosphere. It's easy to draw comparisons with fellow saxophone slinging heavy hounds Ephel Duath, or kings of weird like Orthrelm, but other times the square and battering nature of high speed repetitive elements are more akin to what electronic bands like Squarepusher or Aphex Twin.

Enough name dropping? Well it all serves the purposes of showing you the diverse elements on display throughout “Blackjazz.” It's not as ground breaking as they'd like you to believe, but Shining has mastered what they do on this album.

Highs: Well put together and seamlessy flowing avant-garde music.

Lows: If you're not a fan of the "all-genres-in-one" songwriting technique this band is not for you.

Bottom line: With "Blackjazz" Shining has climbed to the top of a very short and weird pile of bands.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)