SHINING
Avant-garde Metal / Metal Related • Norway

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Background:

"First period" Shining was formed in 1999 by Jørgen Munkeby (guitar, sax and various instruments) when he moved from his hometown of Tønsberg to Oslo to study in the Norwegian State Academy of Music. As he has been playing in bands ever since he was ten years old, he wished to form a new one in Oslo. In this new school there was a good opportunity for him to choose musicians for this project of his and he chose three he thought to be the best. This new band started playing Jørgen's music he wrote for the band and also performed in several shows as a support band, in which Jørgen says the band gave highly energetic shows, playing loud and fast. In 2001 the band released their first album, Where The Ragged People Go on "bp Records", and in 2003 after a tour in China, they released Sweet Shanghai Devil
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SHINING Discography

SHINING albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Where the Ragged People Go
Metal Related 2001
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sweet Shanghai Devil
Metal Related 2003
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster
Metal Related 2005
.. Album Cover 4.64 | 7 ratings
Grindstone
Avant-garde Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 4.03 | 21 ratings
Blackjazz
Avant-garde Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 3.51 | 5 ratings
One One One
Avant-garde Metal 2013

SHINING EPs & splits

SHINING live albums

SHINING demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SHINING boxset & compilations

SHINING singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fisheye
Avant-garde Metal 2010

SHINING movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

SHINING Reviews

SHINING One One One

Album · 2013 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'One One One' - Shining (6/10)

A couple of months ago, I read an essay written by Shining frontman Jørgen Munkeby, the essence of which argued that the human ear is in constant search for a greater degree of dissonance and extremity, and that popular musical trends are built around this notion. While it's one thing to take dissonance to heart in a relatively 'high culture' environment (like a certain Parisian theatre in 1913), there's a different sort of challenge in trying to marry an inherently challenging device in popular music. Shining's "One One One" is not so groundbreaking in this regard as a work by Stravinsky or Penderecki, but I'm sensing the same sort of adventurous intent here. Atop a tight foundation of dance-able rock energy, Shining add an unfamiliar distortion and atmospheric weirdness that sounds surprisingly unsettling, even to a seasoned progger's ears. "One One One" may not be grim or jazzy enough to warrant the band's self-professed 'blackjazz' label, but the band have crafted an interesting musical experience here somewhere in between the respective and highly dissimilar madnesses of Motorhead, Strapping Young Lad and John Zorn. It's a shame that the band's songwriting isn't as vibrant here as it was on their last two records, because "One One One" has many of the makings of a potentially great album.

"One One One" is a more rock-oriented offering than Shining have done in the past, and has been the case with many bands after they release their quintessential, self-defining masterwork, Shining have scaled their sound back a bit in order to focus on the core of their music. In Shining's case, that 'masterwork' was "Blackjazz", an album that wore its quirky blend of styles on its sleeve in the literal sense. While I don't think their self-invented genre tag fits their sound anymore, Shining's palette of sound remains familiar. Schizoid keyboard leads, electronic interference, and fuzzy guitars remain staples of Shining's style, and Munkeby's vocals retain their often harsh and occasionally melodic flair.

Ultimately, Shining's change of pace is felt most profusely in the album's composition. I have fond memories of first hearing nine minute bouts of progressive mastery on "Blackjazz"; Shining would pull out all of the stops and I would often be left in suspense, wondering what tricks the band had in store right around the bend. While "One One One" sounds like Shining's more ambitious work on a superficial level, there is none of the same catharsis I felt upon hearing the band for the first time. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that Shining has focused entirely on concise songwriting. Were it not for the overzealous distortion and noisy atmosphere, many of these songs could easily be adapted for a commercial format. "I Won't Forget" is a particular favourite of mine, pairing a Motorhead-esque energy and vocal style with experimental jazz breaks and an ample dose of production noise. "My Dying Drive" is another standout piece, taking the album a step away from the chorus-centric catchiness towards darker territories. Sometimes, I get the impression with the band's adherence to such tried-and-true song structures that they're being self-aware with it, as if they're trying to see how much madness they can stir within a typical four minute song. If that's true, "One One One" stands at a half success. Shining have been able to successfully transpose their weird style onto a basic songwriting format, but in doing so, the potential of some of these ideas has been lost. Somewhere towards the halfway point of the album, I start to yearn for a change of pace; an instrumental surprise or jazz break to keep things interesting. Alas, for all of the benefits "One One One" enjoys for its concise writing mechanic, it loses some of its sense of danger and daring as a result.

Shining's style may no longer so aptly reflect their blackjazz vision, but their style remains balanced between two conflicting ideas. Moreso than the combination of metal and jazz, or any other sort of genre fusion, "One One One" feels defined by Shining's ability to two conflicting ideas at once; one comprising the album's concise, catchy songwriting, the other representing its avant-garde weirdness. I've heard that this ability to process conflicting information simultaneously can be indicative of genius. While that may be true, I do not get the impression on "One One One" that the band is playing to the extent of their potential. It was a bold move for the band to try to infuse their avant-garde sensibility with the more commercial end of rock music, but it's underwhelming in comparison to some of the band's past achievements.

SHINING Blackjazz

Album · 2010 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Just as Dodheimsgard's 666 International attempts to fuse industrial music and black metal from a black metal direction, Shining's Blackjazz tries the same experiment from the perspective of an industrial musician, and of the two experiments I think this is the more successful one. With keyboards that sound like guitars, guitars that sound like keyboards, and a wall of noise which shifts between industrial and black metal modes on a whim, the group have produced a complex soundscape with sufficient variety that there's space for a King Crimson cover at the end of the album which seems bizarrely appropriate given the howling cacophony that precedes it. Not to everyone's taste, but if it is to your taste you'll love it to bits.

SHINING Blackjazz

Album · 2010 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Triceratopsoil
Shining's BLACKJAZZ is an album that I found almost laughably bad on first listen, but I find now that it has really grown on me. I appreciate the aesthetic and the instrument tones, particularly. This "avant-garde black metal meets free jazz meets Zu" approach is a new sound for Norway's Shining (not to be mistaken for the Swedish black metal band), and I think it works quite well for them. BLACKJAZZ is a very high-energy, loud album that incorporates - along with the aforementioned genres - elements of electronic music, which end up quite interesting with distorted, growled vocals overtop.

The only track I found remotely weak was the cover of King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man; the rest of the album definitely fits with my current tastes. However, I could easily see this as a love/hate album for most people.

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