Review : SHINING – "Blackjazz"

released February 2, 2010 on The End

In the past, fusing jazz and metal has proven to be a melodic, complex form of technical death metal. Floridian acts like Cynic and Atheist really defined this movement. However, jazz and metal are two of the most diverse genres in the world, so it wasn’t going to be too long before other breeds were seen. Shining is offering one of the most interesting styles to come around yet.

Despite the fact that Shining has been making music for more than 10 years, they haven’t been making metal for very long. In fact, this is really the first release of theirs that can be truly called metal. The Norwegian collaboration has gone from initially being a post-bop jazz band to now taking a million different genres and just throwing them all in a pot. Following is a list of the influences that I can hear:

-Avant-garde jazz
-Black metal
-Progressive rock

I’ll stop there. Everyone will likely hear different things, but those 7 genres are most prominent here. I really don’t know what to call it other than “black jazz,” which still leaves out a lot of things. Classical-influenced progressive industrial blackcore dronejazz might be a more accurate description, but it’s a bit of a mouthful in conversation.

Either this album is going to be so innovative as to create an entire new movement of bands attempting to recreate this cacophony or it will be too unique for anyone to even make an attempt at coming close to it. No matter what, though, this will stay in my mind as one of the coolest albums of the last 20 years, comparable to such groundbreakers as Cynic‘s Focus and Sleep‘s Dopesmoker. I would even go as far as to drop King Crimson‘s In the Court of the Crimson King as an equal album, with the band even covering “21st Century Schizoid Man.” “Omen” also brings to mind Pink Floyd, with much of the song showing similarities to the dirge-like part IX of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.”

A Best of 2010 pick!
Try 1, 2, 4, *5*, *7*, 8, *9*

01. The Madness and the Damage Done I
02. Fisheye
03. Exit Sun I
04. Exit Sun II
06. The Madness and the Damage Done II
07. Blackjazz Deathtrance
08. Omen
09. 21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson cover)

Rating: ★★★★★

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