The record “Blackjazz” by Norwegian SHINING – not to be mistaken for their Swedish namesakes – is shit, annoying shit to be outspoken. No boring average mainstream consensus bullshit, but really obnoxious crap you can’t listen to.
So says the “big” metal press in Germany, namely Rock Hard and Legacy, two of the print magazines said to be specialized on extreme metal. Of course that’s a pretty superficial observation and conclusion of mine (I don’t know the results in other ‘zines), but since I found this record on one of the very last places in both magazines’ sound check tables, I felt a bit shocked: something must go heavily wrong in nowadays metal world if an adventurous record like “Blackjazz” gets disesteemed that much!
Blackjazz + mainstream metal taste = frustration guaranteed
Of corpse: this band won’t be kissed on its feet by an audience of metal fans waking up to the sound of Manowar and falling into sleep with Gamma Ray. But besides its own traditional sounds metal music has always been open for crazy experiments, extreme ideas and rampant creativity and that are the exact ingredients of “Blackjazz”. This is no music album in the usual way, no jazz or metal record, no sit-down-and-relax-entertainment; it’s an aural explosion nailing you to the next wall or to the ground, it’s an attack on your ears and your brain, on your whole sensual system and on your body. You say I carry this review to excess? Okay, make the test: listen to “Blackjazz” and tell me this music is NOT excessive!
For sure it is aggressive, whatever styles you’ll – FAIL – to reduce it on: electronica, industrial, metal, ambient, ebm, jazz; and it’s pretty extreme, though it is music played with noteworthy cleverness and much pleasure in contrasts. Imagine, in terms of catchiness of complexity as well as in regard to the melodies, Dream Theater jamming together with Bogus Blimp, the latter ones in terms of morbid and irritating sound arrangements, and you might come close to SHINING. Include some brass, fierce vocals and an ultimate willpower to create stark contrasts and to explore the depth of sounds however non-euphonious it might feel at first. There are many red lines underneath “Blackjazz”, some of them leading into a not too dark past when King Crimson defined epic rock music with their “21st Century Schizoid Man”. SHINING’s cover version, sung by Grutle from Enslaved, interprets this classic song with a violence that is obviously needed in music if we shall not wake up in 2050, finding ourselves quartered into nursing homes for aged metal heads who get their daily dose of music from nine to five with the same mainstream-contaminated brain-softening playlist featuring the mentioned true metal heroes everyday.
01 – The Madness And The Damage Done
02 – Fisheye!
03 – Exit Sun
04 – Exit Sun
05 – Healter Skelter
06 – The Madness And The Damage Done
07 – Blackjazz Deathtrance
08 – Omen
09 – 21st Century Schizoid Man (Cover)