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SHINING - V: Halmstad cover
4.23 | 15 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2007


1. Yttligare Ett Steg Närmare Total Jävla Utfrysning (6:22)
2. Längtar Bort Från Mitt Hjärta (8:29)
3. Låt Oss Ta Allt Från Varandra (6:05)
4. Besvikelsens Dystra Monotoni (10:05)
5. Åttiosextusenfyrahundra (2:43)
6. Neka Morgondagen (8:49)

Total Time 42:35


- Johan Hallander / Bass
- Niklas Kvarforth / Vocals
- Peter Huss / Guitars
- Ludwig Witt / Drums
- Fredric Gråby / Guitars

- Marcus Pålsson / Piano (track 5)

About this release

June 2007
Osmose Productions

Thanks to Vehemency, Prog Geo, Lynx33, adg211288 for the updates


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Emerging in the wake of the whole "Ghoul" debacle (in which Kvarforth and Shining tried their best to convince the world that Kvarforth had committed suicide without ever directly stating it for the sake of plausible deniability when the sham was revealed), V: Halmstad reveals a rejuvenated and refreshed Shining. It's not that their formula has radically changed here, but the application of the formula is masterful and compelling. In particular, the band have clearly honed their skills when it comes to the quieter instrumental sections, and the tightened up sound there really helps the compositions hang together. If Kvarforth needed to pull a tasteless prank on the black metal scene in order to produce this album, I'm inclined to forgive him when the results are this good.
Conor Fynes
'V - Halmstad' - Shining (8/10)

As one might first derive from the not-so-subtly disturbing album cover, Shining is not a band for the cheery-eyed. Given the label of 'suicidal black metal', the band's nihilistic and misanthropic subject matter is enough to turn off many listeners, without even getting into the music itself. But while Shining's fifth record 'Halmstad' may be anything but a feelgood record, Shining makes a unique and powerful observation on black metal with this one.

Although Shining is typically considered to be a 'black metal' act- and not without reason- one of the things that most attracts me to them is that they do not adhere to most of the conventions of the genre. Most noticeably are the vocals of frontman Kvarforth, who sidesteps the raspy snarls typical of black metal in exchange for a more aggressive growl. The riffs here on 'Halmstad' are also significantly heavier than what alot of conventional black metal. Shining is not without a sense of beauty however, as is best represented in their mellow moments. Much like Swedish metal titans Opeth, Shining is a band that juxtaposes heavy metal sections with acoustics, and the mellow parts on 'Halmstad' make the album possibly the band's best. The riffs and raging howls of Kvarforth build the listener up to a peak of anger, only to resolve with a beautiful piano interlude, a classically-styled acoustic guitar segment, or even a dark jazzy section complete with fretless bass.

'Längtar Bort Från Mitt Hjärta' and 'Låt Oss Ta Allt Från Varandra' are the two tracks that contrast these two aspects of Shining the best. These titles translate into fairly morose Swedish phrases, and the most active emotions in the sound of 'Halmstad' are anger and despair. One thing that may have been done better for the album would be to capture the beautiful melancholy of their mellow sections in the heaviness; while the riffs here do often get a feeling across, some added melodies would have helped the aggressive moments to really come alive. The production and execution of this album is very good, although the vocals of Kvarforth do seem to be overdone at times. It is clear he is influenced by the fellow Swede Nattramn from the band Silencer. His howls are filled with anguish, but it can sometimes feel like if Kvarforth had toned down his performance a little, there would have been more room for feeling to get across over time, and sometimes the vocals even feel unnecessary to begin with. This is best demonstrated with 'Åttiosextusenfyrahundra', a rendition of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata where he quietly hums overtop. While I suppose it gives Shining something of a creative license over what would otherwise just be a cut and paste of another composer's work into their own, it doesn't seem to compliment the music. Luckily, the instrumentation here is more than strong enough to deal with the few issues that pop up in the vocal department here.

Shining's 'Halmstad' was once an album I considered a masterpiece, but upon revisiting it, I did find that some of the weaker elements of the album do stand out to me more. All the same, 'Halmstad' is an excellent piece of extreme metal, and devastating in the way it is able to wreak feelings of despair over the listener. Dark, creepy, and haunting stuff.
"V - Halmstad" is the 5th full-length studio album by Swedish black metal act Shining. The album was released in April 2007 by Osmose Productions. Shining have through their career incorporated more and more progressive/ adventurous elements/ ideas into their sound and "V - Halmstad" is the culmination of that development.

The music on the album is black metal/ extreme metal with nods toward progressive metal. Not progressive metal of the whimsical/ vanilla kind but extreme progressive metal in the vein of acts like Opeth and Enslaved. Shining is like the demented family member that you keep locked up in the basement though. Lead vocalist and band leader Niklas "Kvarforth" Olsson has a sick, filthy and bleak misantrophic view on life, which is expressed through the lyrics on the album. Suicide, depression, self-mutilation, hatred and other sunny subjects are the order of the day. His quite varied vocal delivery suits the music and the lyrics very well. Deep death growls, raw aggressive type vocals, higher pitched black metal rasps ( not as many as on earlier releases), clean vocals and whimpering too ( all styles are fully decipherable). The whimpering is a bit too much to my ears, but I guess it´s a part of the suicide black metal tradition and it only appears a couple of times throughout the playing time, so it´s a minor issue. The lyrics are in the Swedish language and while that might scare off people who don´t understand that language, I think it´s one of the strengths of the album. The lyrics are delivered with scary conviction and when Niklas "Kvarforth" Olsson spits out the words "Jag vill döda dig, Jag ska döda dig Jag mäste döda dig" ( this roughly translates into: "I Wish to Kill You, I Will Kill You, I Have to Kill You"), in the song "Längtar Bort Från Mitt Hjärta", I believe every word. I don´t necessarily have to share his bleak view on life to appreciate an extremely convincing delivery.

There are 6 tracks on the 42:33 minutes long album. "Åttiosextusenfyrahundra" is a shorter piano interlude, but the 5 remaining tracks are all pretty long ( all between 6 and 10 minutes long) and display both heavy memorable riffing, haunting guitar lines, melodic soloing, longer acoustic sections and epic elements too. There´s a good balance on the album between the raw and aggressive and the more mellow melancholic/ depressive parts.

The production is very powerful and professional. It was by far the band´s best production up until then.

If you enjoy your extreme metal ( I struggle to really call this black metal) with progressive elements but still with a raw and aggressive edge, "V - Halmstad" is sure to meet your demands. There are a few minor issues that keep me from giving a full 5 star rating but but a 4.5 star rating is fully deserved.
The fifth Shining album Halmstad is their creative peak. They had been growing considerably through each of the preceding releases and now the rage, the fury, the intricate progressive metal riffing and the bludgeoning intensity really strikes home.

Shining is Kvarforth's vehicle for his quite disturbed world view. With topics such as self-mutilation and suicide, the decadent and exaggerated stance of this band is perfectly matched by his extravagant vocal style. His emotive wail and theatrical grunts are one of the real treats of this act and provide that little extra needed to set them apart from the black metal pack.

But Kvarforth's vocals are not the only feature to seek out this album. The guitar playing is very remarkable as well, it’s really diversified, next to the harsh dissonant Voivod-type riffing, there are very touching bluesy leads and solos that give the music an almost Floydian grandeur. The second track amply shows the band’s confidence with different styles: punkish black metal like Darkthrone, post-rock musings like Agalloch and wailing blues guitars like mr Gilmour.

I’ve been tossing up coins forever whether or not to give this one 5 stars. As usual, the fact that I‘m not sure is argument enough to restrain from the masterpiece standing. Let's have time decide on the matter.
Now, for those that don't know or understand black metal, basically it is a dark and almost ambient musical form which basically uses Satanitic, Occult and Mythological imagery in order to shock and portray emotion.

Now, Shining are very different from the norm.

Shining is the project created by Niklas Kvarforth, one incredibly messed up man, who takes his emotions to the extreme, e.g. cutting himself on stage (although this has been done before, e.g. Mayhem, Dir En Grey). Now for all the shock rock, this guy does make some incredibly amazing music. Mixing progressive music with black metal is very risky, but this basket case seems to do it flawless, making one amazing fusion.

This style is also very reminiscent to bands from the French Black Metal scene (if you haven't heard it, then caution, it is very dark and incredibly eerie). If you are interested check out Deathspell Omega & Blut Aus Nord, the 2 best. There are way more, but they're very obscure.

1. Ytterligare Ett Steg Närmare Total Jävla Utfrysning - The intro is very eerie. The start of te song really does suprise you. Amazing acoustic section. The painfull vocals really do create a morbid atmosphere. The bursts of energy convey alot of pain and sorrow. This song has an amazing 90's Darkthrone vibe to it.

2. Längtar Bort Från Mitt Hjärta - Amazing intro. A quite beautiful acoustic passage would usually seem out of place, but it works perfectly with the melancholic mood. Great anger in the vocals. Very atmospheric ending section with acoustic and a simple drum beat. Very Porcupine Tree.The audio samples add to the dreary tone.

3. Låt Oss Ta Allt Från Varandra - The intro is very Satyricon. The vocals again are great. The piano section is actually incredibly beautifull and the cello melody only adds to the beauty. The audio clips even though are very sad and quite disturbing work really well with the music. I love how the song changes when the vocals come in. The best song on the album. One amazing piece of music.

4. Besvikelsens Dystra Monotoni - The orchestral intro is quite trancy. The darkest song on the album. The flamenco like guitar playing is weird, but it does work. This is one of the most kick ass songs on the album, riff wise.

5. Åttiosextusenfyrahundra - The theme in this song is Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (sorry, my classical music knowledge spurts out every now and then). Very dark and eerie but in a beautiful way. Great interlude.

6. Neka Morgondagen - What a mammoth of a song. Amazing vocals from Nik. Pretty cool guitar solo (Kirk Hammet should listen to this, to hear how a wah pedal is used). This song is more uplifting than the others, but still very eerie. Amazing acoustic solo. I love how the guitar production just surrounds you. Amazing ending.

CONCLUSION: One band that needs alot more attention. Incredibly unique and one mother of an album

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