Monday, June 13, 2011

Shining (Swe): VII: Född Förlorare (2011)


I picked up the Swedish band Shining's seventh full-length, VII: Född Förlorare, basically because almost all references to the Norwegian band take pains to clarify which Shining we're talking about. In other words, it was sheer curiosity. But I am most definitely not disappointed.

VII : Fodd ForlorareI've probably called close to half a dozen different bands a black metal version of Opeth, whether it's Kansas City's Lo-Ruhamah or Norway's Enslaved. But here again is another black metal Opeth. There are startling similarities, beginning with the basic elements of progressive extreme metal and extending to a solo here ("Tillsammans Är Vi Allt"), an acoustic guitar lick there ("Tiden Läker Inga Sår"), and many other places. Though "I Nattens Timma" is a cover of another Swedish prog band, even it sounds Opethian. But there's a lot more to it than that.

Shining has a great many elements to their sound that seem familiar, like I know I've heard it somewhere before, but it's always at the tip of my tongue. I can't figure out what, exactly, this or that sounds like. That unfamiliar familiarity is what makes it so accessible and immediate, but there are layers and layers beyond that to keep you coming back.

The songs are epic and cover a lot of ground. You'll find black 'n' roll riffs that will stick in your head forever, like on opener "Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel". But then they'll throw in some modern, dissonant atmospheric black metal in the verses to the same song. An acoustic guitar or piano melody will haunt the passageways between alternately unnerving or catchy black metal, held together by an excellent songwriter's sense and the vocals. The clean singing is good, but the growls are great. They snarl, recalling old-school extreme metal like Venom or Celtic Frost. The Scandinavian tongues' trilled consonants only enhance that attitude, and Niklas Kvarforth projects a great deal of confidence he may not have in English.

The Verdict: This was an extremely pleasant surprise. I was only expecting a curiosity, but instead found something that may well end up on my end-of-year list. I give VII: Född Förlorare 5 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed, I hadn't listened to any Shining before and picked this one up on a whim after IO's post and was blown away.