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Shining: VII - Född Förlorare

Shining are perhaps among the more controversial depressive black metal acts out there because of the way that they actively make the self-destruction and angst, which characterizes much depressive black metal, an integrated part of not just their image, but also the very being of the band. And the angst and desperation certainly also figures in the lyrics of VII: Född Förlorare - I mean song titles like 'Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel' ('Despair, My Inheritance'), Tiden Läker Inga Sår' ('Time Heals No Wounds') and 'Människa, O'Avskyvärdiga Människa' ('Human Oh Despicable Humans') really say it all.

I can't really relate to this aspect of Shining, which is an integral part of the universe of the band (and I certainly am not attracted to their image of self-destruction and self-mutilation), but the music itself on this release is certainly not bad at all. The essence of the sound on this release is black metal, or rather depressive black metal, as mentioned above. But Shining also draw extensively on rock music on this album, and there actually is a lot of groove to their music as well as a lot of melody, which is one of those things that I quite appreciate about Född Förlorare (which means 'Born Losers', by the way).

As for the expressiveness of the music on this album, I do think that it is expressive, and that some of the desperation and melancholy of that I associate with the concrete neighborhoods in Swedish major cities in the autumn (I've been to such neighborhoods in Stockholm several times, and, boy are they depressing) shines through in the music. So that is a feat, but, that being said, I do not think that Shining are successful at maintaining this sort of atmosphere all through the album – but that may not have been their intention anyway.

The album was released in February, and so it has been out for some time now, and most reviewers seem to be very positively impressed by it, so, if you like dark and depressive black metal music, then you definitely should check out Född Förlorare. And, because of the more rock music derived nature of Shining's style here, the album might also appeal to fans of depressive rock in general who are not scared of a bit of extreme metal to fulfil their listening experience.

Track Listing:
1. Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel
2. Tiden Läker Inga Sår
3. Människa O'avskyvärda Människa
4. Tillsammans Är Vi Allt
5. I Nattens Timma
6. FFF

Added: October 30th 2011
Reviewer: Kim Jensen
Related Link: Shining @ MySpace
Hits: 2351
Language: english

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Shining: VII - Född Förlorare
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-10-30 18:44:00
My Score:

Swedish 'suicidal' black metal act Shining are known for their misanthropic and disturbing imagery put to music, and with VII: Född Förlorare the band seems to have created yet another fantastic chapter of dark and depressing extreme metal. With a title that translates to "born loser", it's clear that Shining have not cheered up very much since their previous album, and the music contained within this disc is every bit as dark as we've come to expect from them. Shining's seamless blend of depressive black metal and seventies' progressive rock is instantly recognizable on VII: Född Förlorare, and I can't imagine any fan of the band being anything less than awestruck by the terrifically bleak and memorable compositions contained within this forty minute journey. This may not outdo some of the band's previous achievements, but it's definitely good enough to be considered part of Shining's essential canon.

Shining are often compared to Opeth and Enslaved due to their mix of extreme metal and seventies' progressive rock, but Shining should be in no way labeled a clone act. The epic black metal sections may be reminiscent of Enslaved and the heavy-soft dynamic may bring Opeth to mind, yet Shining clearly have found their own unique sound that doesn't borrow too heavily from any single influence. Even though VII: Född Förlorare contains lots of very heavy black metal portions, you'll also hear gentle progressive rock sections, pastoral acoustic guitars, and clean vocals before the album is over. Make no mistake, however - even though there may be 'lighter' prog rock sections on VII: Född Förlorare, they are still every bit as dark and depressing as the heavy parts. Shining manages to perfectly bridge the gap between vintage prog and black metal, and I'd imagine that's simply due to the fact that the mood is so consistently bleak and frightening.

VII: Född Förlorare sports a production that's both warm and organic, yet still somewhat raw and unpolished. It's actually a bit difficult to describe the production on this album. I really like the fact that it manages to sound furious and powerful during the black metal madness, and still maintain that same level of power and emotion during the calmer sections. This is the perfect mix between an organic seventies' sound and more modern black metal production in my mind.

Even though VII: Född Förlorare might not quite have the same 'classic' potential as some of Shining's previous efforts, I have no doubt that this is another terrific addition to their already fantastic discography. These Swedish lads simply know how to deliver powerful progressive extreme metal time and time again, and they've proven that once more with VII: Född Förlorare. Anyone who's willing to experience a bleak, depressing, and often beautiful musical journey should be sure to check this one out... just remember not to keep a gun or sleeping pills close at hand. I'd say 4 stars are very well-deserved here.

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