Shining – One One One (2013)
For clarification’s sake, this is not the Swedish black metal band (who are not bad in their own respect), but instead the Norwegian avant jazz metal band. I was first alerted to Shining in 2010, when they released one of the best albums I have heard, Blackjazz. Not only did the title describe their music perfectly, but it was almost a perfect mixture of extreme avant metal and jazz. It was a brutal assault to the ears and absolutely fantastic.
Working backwards from Blackjazz shows the progression that they have made from third album, In The Kingdom Of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster (2005) on which they first added rock elements to their jazz sound, through Grindstone (2007), when the rock elements got heavier and more brutal leading perfectly to Blackjazz.
One One One is the hotly anticipated follow-up to Blackjazz and I would argue that the progression has continued.
A big problem for Shining is that Blackjazz was so good, that any followup album is likely to draw a comparison for the worse, and that is a shame, but I can’t help it. One One One is not as good as Blackjazz. It isn’t as experimental, it isn’t as jazz-influenced, the metal isn’t as innovative. It sounds a lot more nu-metal/industrial metal influenced. The One Inside has elements of Ministry, as well as the cliched nu-metal breakdowns, while My Dying Drive reminds me of Nine Inch Nails.
To date, Blackjazz still surprises me, even after so many listens, but One One One seems to give you everything it has in one listen.
It’s not a bad album in its own respect; there is a lesser focus on the music and more the words, jazz is not as prevalent on the album, though the excellent How Your Story Ends does a good job of pushing the balance.
So, now I have to seemingly back track on what I have said; it is an enjoyable album, but I challenge you to come at it fresh without the preconceptions of Blackjazz; I didn’t and I regret it (even though I knew it would be impossible to do, even if I did have forewarning).
Favourite tracks: Off The Hook, How Your Story Ends, The Hurting Game
Spotify link: Shining – One One One