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A slight disappointment,
This review is from: Redefining Darkness (Audio CD)
Shining are responsible for some of the finest black metal ever recorded, on their third and fifth albums especially. As well as 2011's seventh album, which took a more pop-influenced approach to their patented black 'n' roll, with jawdropping results.
Now, here are my thoughts on Shining's eighth opus:
We were promised a return to black metal, and in that respect at least, it delivers. Opener 'Du, Mitt Konstverk' starts with a blackened exclamation by Taake frontman Hoest, his only appearance on the album, and so far it's all good. But then Niklas starts singing and I realised as the first song progressed that the lyrics were not all that good, and by the time the clean-sung part had finished I was certain; the lyrics were an embarrasment! 'Childish' springs to mind. So.. not off to a great start. Song number two, 'The Ghastly Silence', is in English, as the songs alternate between having Swedish and English lyrics. This is probably the best song on the album, with better lyrics and some musical twists along the way. It's reminiscent of Kvarforth's work with BM supergroup Den Saakaldte. The next two songs and one instrumental are rather anonymous affairs that just poddle along and don't do much. Now, album closer 'For the God Below' was talked about a bit before release. It's a kind of lovesong for Satan, and the lyrics are supposedly of a very personal nature. I personally think, again, that they're rather weak. But it's a decent song, to finish off a so-so album.
Shining fail to redefine anything, except perhaps themselves. Darkness feels very much the same as it did before. If you're just getting into Shining, I would recommend 'V: Halmstad' or 'VII: Född Förlorare' to get a better idea of what these Swedish madmen are capable of creating. If you're already a fan, this one is a bit hit and miss but I'm sure you'll find some redeeming features here and there. But overall it's just not that good.
Minus for dreadful cover art
Plus for the dedication of the album to deceased Urgehal frontman Trond 'Nefas' Bråthen