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Darkness reinterpreted in new album

Swedish black metal band puts out morbid gem

cgallon.advocate@gmail.com

Published: Monday, November 5, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 15:11

Sinister precision

Special To / The Advocate

Shining is known for its depressing lyrics, dark undertones and controversial promotion of self-harm and suicide.

With Shining’s basic album art, one would think that it would follow suit by keeping the sound of the music just as simplistic.

Yet the choice of name, “Redefining Darkness,” ends up being well thought out by the Swedish black metal band as the two words hold a deep meaning that is reflected in the album from the first track onward.

Released Oct. 29 “Redefining Darkness,” seems typical of Shining with its fast paced drumming, screaming vocals and overall harsh sound that would make any newcomer’s ears bleed.

While other bands can grow tired with their constant repetition and lack of growth in their music with each album that makes its way to store shelves, Shining retains its familiarity while still making the sound fresh to its fans.

The first song, “Du, Mitt Konstverk” begins the record with what sounds like a heavy metal version of Hans Zimmer’s score, “Dream is Collapsing,” in the film “Inception.” Darkness immediately overtakes the listener as the music fills one’s body with an unexplainable rage that would make him or her want to go on a rampage.

A highlighted track on the album, “The Ghastly Silence,” does a 180 degree turn from the first song by starting off slow and luring the listener in. It only takes a minute before lead singer Niklas Kvaforth jumps in with his loud voice.

While the song is great with the change of English lyrics and alluring soft vocals that appear midway through, perhaps the most unique aspect of “The Ghastly Silence” is the introduction of the saxophone, a first for the band.

The haunting piano that makes up the fifth track “Det Stora Grå,” takes a step back from Shining’s usual guitar and drums. The song gives off a creepy vibe reminiscent of what one might hear during a play like “Phantom of the Opera.”

As the piano grows louder, building anticipation, listeners would expect either Kvaforth’s vocals to invoke fear in them or the striking guitar playing to slap them right in the face. However, neither expectation is heard as surprisingly the piano remains from start to finish as the only instrument used.

The most prominent track on the album, though, that truly sums up its title, is the finale, “For the God Below.”

The track immediately introduces a somber sound as a guitar softly plays evoking an emotion within the listener as one is likely to reflect upon a sad moment in life.

Drums assist in picking up the pace of the song as vocals are introduced almost as if the song shifts from depressed to angry. Softer vocals are present as well, singing as another voice whispers to them in the background.

With lyrics like, “I find comfort in sadness and grief,” and “My devotion to evil will always come before you no matter what you do,” on top of creating emotions upon hearing the beautiful guitar solo toward the end of the song, makes “For the God Below” the saddest track on the album.

Despite there being only six songs, fans will be pleased with the record. Hesitant newcomers to Shining should check out the album’s top picks to ease their prior cautiousness.

With its trademark sound to keep fans happy, a relaxing break with the soft piano and a beautiful song to close it out, Shining puts out another fantastic album in “Redefining Darkness,” leaving fans eager for their next one.

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