Released: 2013, Prosthetic Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Norwegian avant-gardists Shining – not to be confused with suicidal Swedish black metallurgists Shining – put together a truly phenomenal package with 2010’s landmark Blackjazz. The album fused the disparate elements of wailing jazz, industrial clangor, hard rock hookiness and thrash metal energy into something that certainly was unusual, but was also surprisingly captivating.
The question going forward, however, was would they try to do that again, or continue the metamorphosis that began over a decade ago when Shining emerged as an acoustic jazz outfit and try something even more outrageous? Well apparently the band have found their comfort zone with the “blackjazz” histrionics, because their sixth album One One One makes for a logical, but no less challenging follow-up.
You could almost call One One One “blackfunk” because of its bouncy, swinging bottom end and loads of groove that propel “I Won't Forget,” “Off The Hook,” etc. But then things get a little crazy. The churning guitar salvos and frontman Jørgen Munkeby's shit-fit vocals drape a Nine Inch Nails/Ministry-like sheen over the rump-shaking rhythms, and occasionally scamper off on brief math-metally forays that seem to come out of nowhere.
And then there's Munkeby's John Zorn-like saxophone freakouts, which some may be familiar with from ex-Emperor frontman Ihsahn's last couple solo outings. The way he weaves the often insane solos into the mix is nothing short of masterful. At times, they add to the intensity by building one more layer onto the band's already cacophonous sound, as on “The Hurting Game.” At others, as on the intro to “How Your Story Ends,” they bring drama and mystery to the mix, because you can't really be sure where it all may lead.
Any band can make a lot of noise, but few bands make it sound as cool or outrageous as Shining does.