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Shining: VI - Klagopsalmer

Regardless of how you want to classify them, Black Metal, Doom or even Goth, Swedish veterans Shining have definitely built up an impressive catalogue of work consisting of six full length albums since their formation in the mid 90's. Their steady rise through the metal underground over the years hasn't been without its share of controversy as lead singer Niklas "Kvarforth" Olsson's lyrics have been accused of promoting suicide, not to mention he's been known to go off the rails from time to time.

If we put all the nefarious bulls**t aside for a moment and just concentrate on what's really important which is the music itself, then you'd have to consider the band's last release Klagopsalmer, translated as Hymn's of Lament in English, as yet another example of why these guys should recognized as superbly talented musicians. "Vilseledda Barnasjälars Hemvist", "Plågoande O'helga Plågoande" and "Fullständigt Jävla Död Inuti" all feature an abundance of crushing guitar rhythm's and articulate sounding leads from the twin attack of six stringers Peter Huss and Fredric Graby. Likewise the pile driving rhythm section of Andreas Larssen (bass) and Rickard Schill (drums) should also be commended for laying down the amazingly heavy foundation on which these songs are constructed. Kvarforth is an absolute menace as usual as he sneers and snarls his way (all in Swedish save for one track) through his trademark tortured sounding vocal approach. When he chooses to employ a clean method to his singing, as he does on portions of "Plågoande O'helga Plågoande" and the surprisingly ironic, almost upbeat rendition of Seigman's (a Norwegian Pop group) "Sommar Med Siv" (Summer With Siv), it just goes to show that beneath all that venomous aggression, the guy really does have a great, natural sounding set of pipes.

Perhaps in comparison to albums like The Eerie Cold and Halmsted diehard fans of Shining may consider Klagopsalmer to be a bit of a letdown. However for this reviewer I found these superbly crafted and perfectly executed compositions sit nicely alongside some of their best material. Especially the multifaceted and melancholic, epic closing track "Total Utfrysning " (Total Desolation), which I think sums up perfectly what these dark Swedish veterans do best. This song is an all encompassing glimpse into the darkest depths of one's soul, which in addition to once again featuring some absolutely soaring trade off solos between Graby and Huss, also has a gorgeous piano melody inserted around the halfway mark, before concluding with an equally as moving string arrangement that rides out the final four minutes. All in all it's a fantastic way to brings things to an end.

Klagopsalmer is an extremely strong and varied album from beginning to end, and ultimately if you're a fan of Shining I think you'll find it ranks right up there with their best.

Track Listing
1) Vilseledda Barnasjälars Hemvist
2) Plågoande O'helga Plågoande
3) Fullständigt Jävla Död Inuti
4) Ohm - Sommar Med Siv
5) Krossade Drömmar Och Brutna Löften
6) Total Utfrysning

Added: June 6th 2010
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Osmose Productions
Hits: 1763
Language: english

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Shining: VI - Klagopsalmer
Posted by Denis Brunelle, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-06-08 10:28:52
My Score:

Shining has recently joined the rank of well respected French label, Season Of Mist. The Swedish quintet is presenting its first album through this new collaboration with them.

When I first heard this album I felt it was good. Then I went: "this is very good!", only to end up saying that it ruled! Even after many listens, VI Klagopsalmer is just as good and fresh. I have very little info with this promo, but I would call their music black metal with a progressive twist. Season of Mist calls it: "avant-garde black metal. This 50 minutes/ six tracks beast is only made of well done and juicy compositions. Bone crushing riffs, pounding drums & double basses, powerful bass lines and wicked vocals are forming the extreme aspects of Shining's music. Those are the main elements that are powerfully demonstrated through the omnipresent crafty musicianship. As for that progressive edge, it is present in the time signatures and the more subtle tonalities. I was very surprised, as well as pleased, to hear the cool acoustic guitar arpeggios in more than a few places. You would not expect this exquisite instrument there, although everything falls into place when it shows up. Track # 3, "Fullständigt jävla död Inuti" is a good demonstration on how to mix acoustic arpeggios, powerful extreme music and wickedness to create an outstanding composition. Later on "Krossade Drömmar Och Brunta Llöften", you will get some dark arpeggios and leads played on an acoustic guitar; a very cool piece by the way. This compositions reminds me of Alice Cooper's "Pick Up the Bones", but it also bears a certain western vibe too, and it is pretty inspiring. The closing track is a 16 minutes epic piece that combines a doom crunchy mood with calmer / melodious instrumental parts.

Shining is really an interesting act to keep an eye on, and VI Klagopsalmer is definitely on the best release list of 2010.

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