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Shining - IV - The Eerie Cold CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.21 | 20 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'IV: The Eerie Cold' - Shining (9/10)

Shining are a band that are consistent, if anything. Although I was not too keen on their debut, this band has gone on to release some of the most powerful and unique black metal out there. Often labelled as a 'suicidal black metal' band, Shining are a far cry from anything warm or cheerful, and while their music's tone is almost unrelentingly bleak and negative, they have managed to stir some profound emotions in me. 'IV: The Eerie Cold' is arguably the album where the band starts taking hold of their more progressive tendencies, a move that would thrust them into the highest echelon of modern Scandinavian black metal.

Much of the knowledge of this band surrounds the unending black metal shenadigans of frontman Niklas 'Kvarforth' Olsson, a man who I would have dismissed as a petty attention whore, were it not for the brilliance of his music. From self-inflicting harm, to advocating suicide to faking his own death, don't let Kvarforth's behavior trick you into thinking that Shining is merely a gimmick band attempting to cash in on the notoriety of black metal. The idiosyncratic behavior has undoubtedly introduced some to the band's music, but Shining's work stands above the context. 'IV: The Eerie Cold' is a less refined work than what they would later do with the excellent albums 'V: Halmstad' and 'VI: Klagopsalmer', but it is equally as powerful and emotionally stirring. The music is rooted in an emotionally volatile breed of black metal labeled as 'depressive black metal', gearing the atmosphere of the music to reproduce feelings of total desolation and despair. Atmosphere is Kvarforth's main aim here, but there are some guitar riffs that pack alot of punch. Kvarforth's vocals have not yet achieved the distinct sound they would have on 'Halmstad' and beyond, but they are grim and diverse, ranging from a soft whisper to a maniacal howl.

As would be the case with 'V: Halmstad', the aspect of the songwriting that really stands out as being incredible are the band's more laid back sections. 'The Eerie Cold' is rife with spoken word samples, one monologue most notably taken from the film American Psycho. Incidentally, Christian Bale can now proudly declare he has offered guest vocals on a black metal album. In seriousness, these spoken word pieces could have been handled horribly, but the music never feels cheesy, and Kvarforth is clever enough to pick source dialogue that was powerful to begin with. When a woman heard towards the end of 'Nagonting Ar Javligt Fel' says she's going to slit her throat, there are no smirks or ironic laughter, and especially within the first listen, these sections come across as profoundly disturbing.

Even for black metal fans, Shining's music is not recommended to all. They will not be fast enough for some people, and on the other hand, they may be too heavy for the atmospheric crowd. Shining have become one of my favourite black metal bands for the fact that unlike so many black metal acts out there, they have managed to find a unique sound. 'IV: The Eerie Cold' is a perfect introduction for a listener looking to find out what this band is about; a powerful combination of their progressive latter era material and more straightforward early work.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |


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