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REVIEWS
The latest reviews to be added will always be added on top of the page. This does not mean they are written or published in that order. Latest review added: September 26, 2005.


IV - The Eerie Cold [Album]
2005 Avantgarde Music

1. I Och Med Insikt Skall Du Förgå
2. Vemodets Arkitektur
3. Någonting Är Jävligt Fel
4. Eradication Of The Condition
5. The Eerie Cold (Samvetskvalens Ballad)
6. Claws of Perdition

Kvarforth: Guitars, Keys, and Vocals
John Doe: Guitars
Phil A. Cirone: Bass & Keys
Hellhammer: Drums



  • IMHOTEP
    Shining IV - The Eerie Cold [Album]
    2005 Avantgarde Music

    1. What strikes me with the opener “I Och Med Insikt Skall Du Förgå” is the emotional solo that kinda opens the song. Who could ever think that Black Metal could be this well played, speaking of solos. For, no matter what Kvarfort claims, this is Black Metal (musically speaking). This first track is rather rockish, though do not mistake this for being rock. I am just speaking about the main riff in the track. And when Kvarforth’s tormented voice finally sets in after 3.24 minutes, you just know you’re going to have a journey through desperation and darkness. And that sad ending to this track is a path to self-destruction.

    2. The beginning of “Vemodets Arkitektur” is really wicked. The drums are speeding ahead like the Devil’s two metres behind you lurking in the shadows. But the riffing is slow. This results into a wicked atmosphere that I rarely feel when listening to Black Metal. Do I want to bang my head, or do I want to move my head just a little bit forwards and backwards following the guitars? Kvarforth shows his ability to make hypnotic Black Metal without writing monotonous songs. “Vemodets Arkitektur” twists a couple of times during the close to eight minutes it lasts, without losing the nerve.

    3. “Någonting Är Jävlight Fel” is the third track. It means Something Is Fucking Wrong. It can’t be the strong production “The Eerie Cold” holds. Nor can it be Kvarforth’s desperate vocalization. I guess what’s fucking wrong is the fact that Shining will not sell 100.666 albums, when it actually should sell at least this much. OK, the music is Black Metal and the label has added Suicidal to the tag. But the clearness in the mentioned production, the comfortably patterns and the acoustic sessions are relaxing in their darkened approach, and could be able to please many a softer metaller. In a way, as a friend of mine said, “The Eerie Cold” could be regarded as Black Metal’s answer to Opeth.

    4. “Eradication Of The Condition” is the albums straightest metal-track, but don’t let yourself be misguided and think that this is a monotonous track. Somehow I think Kvarforth had to change after “Angst”, and write music that was different and varied. In this track Kvarforth shows his capacity to arrange a track. After 4 minutes the song changes completely, and we’re headed into a kind of Opeth-ian melancholy. He spends 30 seconds for the metal to dissolve and let the melancholic acoustic part take completely over. A fine solo in there as well.

    5. “The Eerie Cold” is a close to six minutes song that doesn’t move much. It continues in the same vein all the way, and not until we reach 4 minutes there is a voice added. If we should judge by the words, there is not much hope. I guess that’s one of the purposes with Shining. There is not much hope. And Shining are not here to give you any hope!

    6. I am amazed by the way Kvarforth and Shining manage to blend the metal with the slower and somewhat acoustic section. 1.33 minutes into “The Claws Of Perdition” the music totally changes. And, it feels completely natural. It’s like the song couldn’t have turned elsewhere. Kvarforth’s tormented screams will haunt us forever. Don’t be fooled by the melancholic beauty of this song. You’re doomed and you can “…sell your soul to death…”.

    Rating: 9 / 10
    Reviewed by: Roy Kristensen



  • VENTRILOCUTION
    Shining IV - The Eerie Cold [Album]
    2005 Avantgarde Music

    Beyond the claustrophobic limitations of artistic creation, there is an unknown and frightening territory that has lured visionaries throughout time, urging them to shed their grimacing masks and begin afresh on a new path towards self-enlightenment. Sadly, most of those who attempt to reach this superior plateau are either too sheepish in their forwarding or too gluttonous for their own good, resulting thus their incursions in inconceivable failures. In any case, it is fairly humorous to verify the disheartening amount of scorn and malice directed at those who, with the purpose of attaining so noble and honourable a goal, metamorphose continuously until they manage to achieve the aforementioned objective. These pusillanimous opponents might have understandable reasons for acting in such a fashion, but it is still highly discouraging for the proponents of progression and evolution to face such adversity in the already hardened path towards actual growth.

    Music, as with other areas in which the concepts of progression and evolution have more than a superficial sense, is quite a tricky soil to operate on, given the preponderance naysayers and malcontents alike have in the mechanics of said growing process; and is particularly prone to see its natural ways diverted for the purpose of cheap repetition. It is, therefore, not wholly unsurprising to realise just how restrained most artists are when facing the prospect of developing their music into unknown territory, which some end up doing in the pathetic manner described before.

    The genre formally known as black metal is particularly prone to such cases, as most bands share a profound and meaningful relation with their critical mass of enthusiasts, which actively impedes them from plunging further and daring to do new things. Things are somewhat different with Shining, however. Despite the fact that they are still inextricably bound to the basic paradigms of the genre and its more or less rigid guidelines, IV: The Eerie Cold sees the band experimenting with non-traditional elements such as occasional prog rock and jazzy overtones, that add an iniquitous sense of variety to an already unwholesome atmosphere. Hence, the Opeth-esque introduction to “ Och Med Insikt Skall Du Förga ” may very well surprise the vast majority of the group’s followers for its gripping sweetness (delivered in a fashion akin to that of their countrymen), but the scathing, insensitive, dissonant and disharmoniously devilish wall-of-sound created by the electric guitars as soon as the song properly picks up is revealing of the not-so-calm nature of Shining. With a refined penchant for gripping melodies etched within an almost delusional mishmash of underlying harmonies and defiant dissonances, the sonority is constantly shaped in order to provide differentiated emotions within their pre-existing negative scope. That is further uttered by the dichotomous use of typically grim and venomous black metal riffs and soothing acoustic passages wherein, at times, a despondent piano sings its woes.

    The greatest feat - as far as my personal taste is concerned, anyway - of the fourth release by these proficient Swedes is the fact that it undeniably conveys a much required dose of evolution and growth, be it in the technical department or in the way their ultimate purposes are now delivered, which means that, no matter how close they may be to what defines and has always defined them as an individual entity, there is evident and abundant proof that their way is not that of squalid and vapid repetition, which would endear and entreat those who can only grasp so much beyond what has already been done. For that and for delivering what is a damnably enjoying album filled to the brim with tasteful intricacies, I commend this band for their honourable efforts and eagerly await further developments.

    Reviewed by: Pedro Serôdio
    Helpful link for idiots: www.dictionary.com



  • TRANSCENDING THE MUNDANE
    Shining IV - The Eerie Cold [Album]
    2005 Avantgarde Music

    Swedish band Shining return with their aptly titled IV: The Eeire Cold (aparently Shining are going for the Danzig effect), which is the follow up III: Angst which was perhaps one of the most unsettling albums I have ever heard. The Eerie Cold (as I will refer to it from now on) is not quite as immediatly unsettling as before, but still contains much of what has always made Shining so excellent. It sounds like Hellhammer is still drumming for them, though I may be wrong -- no band members were listed anywhere on the promo sheet or album. The first song finds the band branching out to a almost Opeth style aproach, but then there are a few moments which remind me of Carpathian Forest. I believe either Tchort or Nattefrost are friends with Shining, so that would make sense. The second song finds the band returning to something more similar to the aproach on their previous albums. And that is continued for the duration of the record.

    The band has been compared to Burzum a lot, a comparison I don't really hear, except for every once in a while. There aren't any other Swedish bands that sound like them that's for sure. In fact I do think that Shining create their own sound, one which you will have a hard time not recognising. The thing that I think is very cool is the use of bass, which kind of thumps in a strange oblique fashion, which is really the only Burzum type of thing I can notice. The guitars and drums have a strange interplay, which is hard to explain, but which helps to make the sound uneasy. To me it seems like either the guitars are played slower than the drums, or at other times the drums are really slow, and the guitars are fast. The ultimate atmosphere drips of unease and darkness.

    Angst was an album I could put on any time and feel like I were sitting in a dark room, waiting to die, The Eeire Cold is more cold feeling, listening to this is like having an ice storm come into your soul. One thing about all Shining albums is that the songs are long, however they don't feel like long songs, they are packed with a lot of interesting things and a sense of mood is captured throughout the songs, so they are definatly not boring. However if you are planning on only listening to something for a few minutes, this would not be it. This is an album that needs to be put on in the dark, maybe light a candle, and let the dark evil feeling caress your ears.

    There is a big difference between Angst and this one, to me it seems this one is more, energetic than before. Shining sounds a bit more "old-school" and also more experimental than on Angst. That would be understandable as Angst was one of the few albums that could probably get anyone to feel like slitting their throats by the end of the album. I doubt anyone could be like that forever. The feeling is just as dark on here though, it still absolutely drips with the dark and grim Black Metal mood.

    I'm impressed at how Shining have continued on their dark vision of human life. This album is a continuation of their previous releases and also a strong record by itself. However, don't let the 6 song track listing fool you, this is nearly 50 minutes. Most songs are over 6 minutes. In the end I'm not quite as impressed with this as Angst, but this is a pretty strong album. The band displays more human moments than the grim monolith of that album, which isn't a bad thing, but does seem to mean that the band is progressing forward. Excellent release, though not an instant classic to my ears.

    Rating: 8.8 / 10
    Reviewed by: Karl Haikara



  • NOCTURNAL HORDE
    Shining IV - The Eerie Cold [Album]
    2005 Avantgarde Music

    IV - The Eerie Cold is the 4th album released by the Swedish BM band Shining. I had never heard of these guys before, and due to a very generic name and a few other facts, I expected this latest opus to be the usual and generic raw BM album. The thing that impressed me a bit was the fact that some of the members/ex-members had played or were also currently playing in some good bands, namely Forgotten Tomb, and of course, the appearance of Hellhammer on one of the older albums (or maybe 2 or 3, i'm not sure.). The line-up for this album, though, features individuals i've never heard of before, so I expected an average BM album. Well, i'll admit it right now: If you're thinking this is average BM played in a very generic way, you're wrong.

    The first song, Och Med Insikt Skall Du Forga, got me intrigued just a bit. It starts with a sad yet haunting accoustic intro, accompanied by a great bass performance, which is shortly followed by an emotional and lead which proves that the guitarist has talent. But the guys in Shining know that accoustic don't last forever - in fact, after two minutes, an up-beat raw black metal riff comes in with some piano, to keep the haunting and dark feelings lying around. This song (the whole album, in fact) doesn't lack riffwork at all and doesn't feel repetitive at all. The riffs are dark and creepy ( add whatever adjective you can that describes well-made BM), and the vocals are hateful as fuck, all this to create very desperate emotions. I can see why a member of Forgotten Tomb already played in this band, because certain parts of this remind me of Forgotten Tomb, but not as doomy of course. Every single time an accoustic or piano break is about to get boring, the guitarist decides to shake things up by adding in another raw BM riff, riff after riff. This album didn't get boring a single time.

    Production wise, Shining isn't in the whole have-shitty-production-to-be-cool camp, and that is of course admired by me. The whole thing sounds clean, but yet it always keeps its dark touch by keeping the music filled with clean piano and accoustic guitar breaks.

    To sum all that up, Shining 4th effort is a raw and up-beat BM album filled with interesting piano breaks, desperate emotions, and all this without being repetitive once. A great album, and those who like BM with some clean production but still manages to instill emotions of despair and the likes in the listener will surely be pleased by this album.

    Rating: 9 / 10
    Reviewed by: KTB



  • CHRONICLES OF CHAOS
    Shining IV - The Eerie Cold [Album]
    2005 Avantgarde Music

    Reportedly Shining's farewell album, _IV: The Eerie Cold_ may not actually be the last we shall hear from Kvarforth and whoever happens to join him, according to the latest rumours. In any case, this follow-up to the rather bleak piece of black metal entitled _III: Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie_ starts off in an entirely unexpected way: the first track arrives softly from some acoustic guitar and drums, and goes into a guitar solo -- and I don't mean a chaotic or very metal-sounding one. The song soon unveils a more polished production job, and the whole thing comes across as a relatively docile affair compared to most of what's found in the suicidal black metal subgenre these days. Furthermore, be warned that there are plenty of quirky sections and unexpected twists in the music in case you are looking for a downright sombre album. Most of the time the record sounds like it can't decide whether it wants to rock and sound progressive or fall into the depths of despair, and the end result ultimately falls down the gaping abyss that separates the two. Sound and musicianship are very good, some passages are great, but the album is often made up of a seemingly incoherent jumble of different parts -- the rather deplorable title track providing one of the most glaring examples. The annoyance factor of _IV: The Eerie Cold_ is therefore proportional to the musical quality it showcases at times, which is ultimately spoiled for the most part by the album's lack of focus - as much as it may be intentional.

    Rating: 6.5 / 10
    Reviewed by: Pedro Azevedo



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