Sunday, 21 April 2013

Shining - One One One Review

Shining - One One One [Jazz / Groove Metal]

I was first introduced to Shining in their groundbreaking album 'Blackjazz', which fused industrial metal and experimental jazz in the most shocking manner; guitarist/vocalist/saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby is responsible for the saxophone solos on Ihsahn's past two albums and his musical direction is more vicious than ever. I was curious as to what their next album would sound like after listening to their back catalog and seeing how far they have evolved from a straight jazz band since the days of 'Where The Ragged People Go'. It seems rightly so that the band has gone further to the metal sound they have developed, with a lot more tricks and surprises thrown in.

While 'Blackjazz' was fragmented in a sense because the jazz moments were seemingly 'forced' into the metal songs, 'One One One' seems to be a perfect example of what can be properly described as jazz metal. The lengthy jazz compositions have been replaced by outstandingly catchy songs that are short and precise, but deceivingly so because repeated listens show that the songs are dense (the drumming is simply amazing on the album). The album's lead single 'The One Inside' has an infectious groove so accessible it is impossible to believe that this is extreme metal, yet Shining choose sexy, futuristic sounding music over cliche blastbeats and shredding.

The album continues with a lot of groove and momentum, with only a few weak songs here ('My Dying Drive' and 'Off The Hook'). Every other song is interesting in its own right and kept up with a lot of manic energy, a lot of which can be attributed to Jørgen Munkeby and also drummer Torstein Lofthus, who completely shares the limelight in the sound. His beats are never standard rhythms and he is more or less the least metal instrumentalist on the album, whilst the rest of the band is more or less 80% industrial metal now. His free-form drumming is a highlight on every song.

The only problem with the album is ironically its only strength; the decision to go full throttle into short, energetic songs mean that the magic of long, ominous instrumentals in their past albums are not present here, and that leaves the album rather incomplete as opposed to focus. This moreover, is a problem if you have heard their previous material. If you haven't, though, then be prepared for a sexy metal treat.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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