IX – Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends
Season of Mist
April 20th, 2015
First of all, I must say that for me this was the most anticipated release of this year. Really high expectations have combined with the utter hunger for new Shining material which I was trying to avoid contact with until my physical copy arrived. Also, I must say that this was not an album that got to me at the first listen. I took my time to absorb it before I put my final verdict.
Just when you think Shining can’t get any more surprising and even shocking, they release another opus to prove your preconceptions wrong at many levels. After, somehow unnecessary first track in a form of the intro (?), you get a vast dose of the idea of what this album is going to be about. VOCALS! Perfectly exposed and mastered in all aspects give the whole thing this characteristic Shining ambience. Vilja & Dröm also gives me a feeling that this will be a chosen live track for the upcoming shows. Framtidsutsikter surprised me a lot, really a lot… Niklas Kvarforth’s beautiful experiment with clean vocals is the best proof showing how much of a versatile musician he is. I also love the increasing atmosphere in the song. I think that the acoustic portions of this record stand out so much that they subdue the more traditional Shining. Människotankens Vägglösa Rum, apart from a brilliant blasted passage, features a peculiar riff, which for me, seems to be invented as a joke. Again, the acoustic part with semi-clean vocals rescues this song forming a quite slender composition. And so, we finally get to the true jewel of the ninth album – Inga Broar Kvar Att Bränna. This unbelievable track features Niklas showing off his perfect anguishing vocals put together with, again, acoustic aura which reminds me at times of The Eerie Cold – the band’s fourth album. In spite of its connections with the past, the song is highly experimental and fresh. You can also tell, that the drums sound very natural, leaving no room for accidental nuances. Well done Mr. Tuomikanto! The last composition, Besök från i(ho)nom, is a good summary of the album and its balance between acoustic and electric parts.
The special edition of the release features, apart from Black Industrial Eleven, a Rammstein cover – Ohne Dich. Well, Shining is one of those bands that whichever song they touch, they cover it perfectly, sometimes making it even better. This time, however, they have reached the opposite effect because, in my opinion this is the worst cover they have done so far. Covering Rammstein is brave, but this Shining’s attempt of playing their famous ballad ended up with a terrible outcome.
The whole album has grown on me quicker that the 2012 Redefining Darkness, but does it make it better? I don’t know. It certainly makes it a perfect case demonstrating Shining’s musical excellence. They took their time with the ninth album, and you can tell the effort is apparent. Altering the approach to music did not kill the original Shining spirit although reaching the Halmstad level is, for me, a vain dream.