ALBUM: Shining – International Blackjazz Society

Release Date: October 23rd 2015
Label: Spinefarm Records


Shining‘s newest release is something of a much more stripped down and straightforward band than they were on ‘Blackjazz’, and especially ‘One One One’. The use of a more alt rock and lo-fi type guitar lines with a heavier use of drums gives the band more of a solid exterior. Shining, for one of the first times in their career, use quite structured guitar lines throughout the majority of their albums, and it makes them a hell of a force on this album. However, if you thought this album would be easy listening, it’s definitely not by any stretch of the imagination.

The band as a whole, for anyone who doesn’t know, is definitely not easy listening. Its existence goes back to their first album ‘Where The Wild People Go’, in which the band existed as a non-vocal free form jazz experimental band. Fans of this period within their career can most definitely identify with the track ‘House Of Warship’, in which you as a listener can hear nothing but pure saxophone interpretation leading you to just sit through pure noise. This can be quite polarising, but also really enjoyable.

If you can get over the fact that it’s basically nothing but pure noise, you can get the hidden meaning and interpretations through Jorgen Munkeby‘s playing. Sticksman Torstein Lofthus fluctuates massively between playing a pure straight-up beat to adulterated mayhem, leading the listener to either go along with what’s going on or pure dismiss it altogether.

The next song is chosen to form a sort of flow, and this is what makes Shining‘s music so good. The fact one song flows into the next as a form of conceptual music makes the listener go on a journey with the band, and this is what makes a good structure.

‘House Of Worship’ is vastly different to ‘House Of Warship’ in the fact that it sounds like a straight-up alternative song with some basic metal riffs put in. Jorgen uses the phrase “Empty house of control” throughout this piece to demonstrate how much he has a distaste for basic song structures. This song feels like the want to abolish boundaries to the listener and telling detractors where to go. Though this is done very explicitly, it feels almost more creative than doing free-form expression constantly throughout. Fans of ‘Blackjazz’ might have a problem with this track, but Shining have expanded massively since their debut album and will further expand into new territories if this song is anything to go off.

This album feels like it needs to be heard with an expansive mind. To sit and judge structure would be ridiculous to any knowledge of the band but, if you’re a fan of the likes of Ihsahn, this album will work for you.

Written by Bradley Cassidy (@bradcassidy170)