MARTY FRIEDMAN – Inferno

Marty Friedman - InfernoAs a fan of metal, you love Marty Friedman by default.  But since his move to Japan 10 years ago, can we all say that we’ve kept up with what he’s been up to?  Thankfully for everyone Marty has come to us with his best solo record to date.  Inferno is full on metal or said in another way, full on Marty Friedman.

The title track starts things off and he wastes no time in blowing up your mind with a roller coaster of guitar wizardry.  The song quickly re-reminds you that Marty can smoke any guitarist on the planet.  Inferno is about diversity of flavors as many of the songs are co-written with some of today’s most well-known artists.

Wicked Panacea” features RODRIGO Y GABRIELA doing what they do best mixed in with Marty‘s frenetic playing.  It makes for a very unique and excellent hybrid.  “Meathook” with SHINING (NO)’s Jorgen Munkeby on vocals and saxophone is a balls out, off the wall number not unlike SHINING‘s work.  Hearing Marty and Jorgen trade leads is a thing of beauty.  “Hyperdoom” is a mere 1:55 and takes a little less than a minute to build up before Marty just goes off (pun intended).  While the vast majority of Inferno is pretty damn heavy, REVOCATION‘s Dave Davidson and Marty take it more extreme places with “Sociopaths.”

The beauty of the album lies in not only its diversity but also running order.  Just the listener may need a change up from all the full-out metal, the slower, mellower “Undertow” comes in.  Huge, melting melodies say so much with way less notes than are found on the previous songs.

The biggest deal surrounding Inferno has to be “Horrors,” which was co-written with still guitar god, Jason Becker.  This epic has it all – the peaks and valleys, acoustic guitars, and mind bending leads.  Simply awesome.

Inferno is an immediate and overwhelmingly clear reminder that we have indeed been pining to hear from Marty Friedman.  (Prosthetic Records)

SHINING – One One One

Shining - One One OneThe final chapter of SHINING (Norway)’s Blackjazz trilogy is unnerving, volatile, and unsettling.  And this is likely what the band set out to do.  SHINING take a decidedly more rock-based approach on One One One compared to the record’s two predecessors.

The level of musicality on One One One is a great testament to SHINING‘s masterful understanding of music theory, songwriting, and artistry. One One One is in perpetual motion powered by an engine teeming with energy. Don’t wait for quiet or segue tracks. Expect lots of dissonance and chaos.

The characteristic that stands out the most and runs through each song is an overwhelming sense of tension. Even when things seem relatively straight forward, SHINING will break it apart and bring a bit of controlled chaos to it (i.e. “You Won’t Forget“). While they build and release tension throughout the songs, that tension is never completely released. Second track, “The One Inside,” really takes this pressure to another level and the album never comes down from it.

Vocalist/saxophonist Jorgen Munkeby‘s vocal performance reaches a new level here – think Al Jourgensen-territory. The magic is really in his delivery rather that just vocal quality. Check out “Off the Hook” for an example. But let’s not give the frontman all the credit. The rest of the band have great chops.

One One One is solid for what it is (and not for what it isn’t), carries the essence of the band, and is a good ending for the Black Jazz trilogy. (Indie Recordings/Prosthetic Records)

Song of the Day: The Brilliance of Marty Friedman and Jørgen Munkeby

The new Marty Friedman album, Inferno, comes out on May 27, 2014 and there is a great track which features SHINING (NO)’s Jørgen Munkeby on saxophone and vocals.  It’s funny though, anyone who tries to match shredding with Marty usual loses.  Check out the track, “Meat Hook“:

Jørgen and Marty explain how the collaboration came about:

Song of the Day: MANES’ “Solve Et Coagula” Featuring SHINING’s Niklas Kvarforth

In 2009, Norway’s MANES put out a six-song compilation called Solve Et Coagula, which featured a new song plus old demo material from the band’s black metal days.  MANES got none other than the uber talented Niklas Kvaroforth from SHINING (SWE) to sing guest vocals for the title track.  [Update: The song also features XASTHUR‘s Malefic.  Thanks to MANES for the correction.  Proof that websites don’t have all the answers.] Listen to this masterpiece of doom laden darkness:

SHINING (NO) Debuts New Video in “Live on Location” Series

Norwegian blackjazz masterminds SHINING have unveiled a second video in their “Live on Location” series, where the band performs and records one-take live footage in weird, unorthodox and often uncontrollable surroundings. The new clip captures the song “The One Inside,” a track from their critically acclaimed, Spellemann-nominated 2013 release One One One. Check it out below.

SHINING‘s “Live On Location” videos are filmed with a bare minimum of gear (one camera, a few mics, etc.), with the goal of capturing unique moments where musicians conquer their surroundings to showcase their musicianship over the use of technology. Having previously filmed in leftover rubble of the demolition site of their old studio in Oslo, Norway, this time the band headed to the blazing hot Mojave Desert of California.

SHINING frontman Jørgen Munkeby explained: “We’ve always thought that some of our best shows have come from venues and festivals where things were totally out of control. It’s when the local crew tells you that you don’t need a DI on guitar, when the venue doesn’t have enough XLR cables, when the monitor guy refuses to turn any more knobs and when your amp breaks down in the first song – it’s in times like these that you often play your best gigs! The bout against your surroundings brings out the fighter in you, hell-bent on proving that the equipment does not get to decide. We wanted to put ourselves in these situations and film it, believing that this would add an extra edge to the performance that might be missing in many of today’s music videos. It’s a big kick when you manage to pull off something like this. We rolled into the location we had only seen on pictures, set up our equipment, got most of the equipment to work and started playing. The local motorhome club was surprised but supportive, and we even got free burgers at the local Slash-X bar!”

Underground Gems: SHINING’s Lots of Girls Gonna Get Hurt EP

Shining - Lots of Girls Gonna Get HurtIn the deluge of metal that come out each month, it’s easy to overlook or just miss good releases.  One band that should always be on your radar is Sweden’s SHINING.  Aside from mainman Niklas Kvarforth‘s extreme on stage performances, the band’s unique style of suicidal black metal is damn good.  In many ways, they are like a dark version of OPETH.

So last year they released an EP entitled, Lots of Girls Gonna Get Hurt, via Spinefarm Records.  This all covers releases showed a different side to the band, one that embraces sad, melancholic music that wasn’t in the “extreme metal” category.  With this release, Niklas Kvarforth shows the world his talent with clean vocals.

The band opens with a cover of KATATONIA‘s “For My Demons” from the classic, Tonight’s Decision.  It’s not that much from the original but sounds damn good.

Then the band go into more dark rock territory starting with “Utan dina andetag” by Sweden’s KENT.  You don’t have to know Swedish to feel the power and soul of this one.  Next up is a cover of another Swedish language song, “Kung av jidder,” by IMPERIET.  SHINING add some extra meatiness to this great new wave song.  Lots of Girls Gonna Get Hurt ends on a high note with “Carnival of Rust” by POETS OF THE FALL.  The original is great but SHINING slow it down just a hair to add more power, and give it a more desperate, darker feel.

In conclusion, there are two things you must do: 1) appreciate the fact that SHINING is one of the best metal bands on earth; 2) purchase this EP.

Norway’s SHINING Release Video for “I Won’t Forget”, New Album Drops April 23rd

SHINING (Norway) have released a video for “I Won’t Forget“, the first single off their forthcoming album, One One One. Their avant-jazz roots continue to shed in favor of a more industrial-tinged rock sound, though with progressive tendencies and saxophone-enhanced instrumentation still intact. The futuristic, sci-fi themed music video fittingly reflects this evolution. Check it out:

One One One drops digitally via Prosthetic Records on April 23rd in North America with physical releases on CD and gatefold LP to follow. Pre-order One One One here: http://www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/band/shining