SHINING – Black Jazz

You would assume that a band as good as Norway’s SHINING (not to be confused with the Swedish SHINING) would get more love from the media after four albums of excellence. Album number five, Black Jazz, continues the excellent ways of their eclectic and eccentric progressive/jazz/art rock.

As the album title implies, Black Jazz is indeed tinged with darkness but one that is expressly twisted yet subtlely menacing at times. The creativity and uniqueness in the overall presentation can be quite overwhelming for those not baptized in the waters of SHINING’s music beforehand. Shouted, distorted industrial-style vocals, twisted and twisty riffing, lively rock drumming with sprinkles of blast beats, heaviness, abrasiveness, and insane jazz runs are all part of SHINING‘s sound.

The action never gets complacent as the tempo, masterfully kept by drummer Lofthus, never fails to provide tasty jazzy fills, fast blast beats, or stomping grooves. Often times, SHINING will go on long instrumental runs that are just as progressive rock as they are jazz on speed and psychedelics. Technically, they’re up there with the best of them. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re in a twisted funhouse carnival, the world of Alice in Wonderland, or an alien spacecraft on a killing spree of the galaxy.

At the end of the day, does all this madness work? Definitely. The songs are very compelling, catchy, and just straight out charismatic and cohesive. Conventional heavy music be damned. One last thing, this is one of the best albums of 2010. (The End Records/Indie Recordings)

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