Review : SHINING – "Live Blackjazz"

ShiningLive Blackjazz
Released: 2011Nov11
Label: Indie Recordings
Rating: 4.5/5

Shining has turned into one of the most visionary music machines in Norway. They excelled with their recent album Blackjazz, since it surprised many of the band’s followers as it left the band’s jazz roots and instead focused on their own brand of blackened jazz metal. This change has now been documented on their concert album Live Blackjazz. As the title suggests, the setlist focuses on their latest studio offering, but it also shows off concert versions of some of the tracks from their two previous records: 2005’s In The Kingdom Of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster and 2007’s Grindstone.

The band was initially intended to be a vehicle for Jørgen Munkeby when he left the nu-jazz Norwegian wündergroup Jaga Jazzist. Shining have enjoyed a diverse string of releases, adapting their sounds to the different companies who have released their records; where Jazzland brought out Coltrane-isms, Rune Grammofon explored Zappa atmospheres, Mingus movements, and King Crimson invocations. Infernal merchants Indie Recordings have been lucky enough to present the band’s latest dress change into sinister ministers of an all-new brand of metal. Today, Shining fuses the industrial darkness of Ministry and Nine Inch Nails with jaw-dropping jazz and noise music.

Inspired and adventurous, the band is tight as can be. The rhythm section of bassist Kreken and drummer Lofthus interlock with complex grooves, while the guitars of Sagen plus the electronics and keyboards of Moen inundate what’s left of your senses. But Munkeby is something else entirely. When he doesn’t roar his voice, he blasts his horns or riffs his guitar. Between songs, he never floods the space with cheery banter, but still converses effortlessly with the crowd. A great frontman for a great band.

The concert took place at the Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo, Norway at the end of the band’s latest European tour. An immersive journey through the band’s recent foray into electronic jazz metal darkness, it begins with two gems from Blackjazz—the furious “Fisheye” and disorienting drive of “The Madness and the Damage Done”. The set then spirals onwards and upwards with incendiary versions of “In The Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster” and “Goretex Weather Report”, along with chaotic noise improvisation. A passionate run through King Crimson’s ”21st Century Schizoid Man” concludes—a fitting nod to their forebears with a not-so-subtle Shining slant.

Luckily, the band has included a DVD of the entire fascinating spectacle. Strobing lights and blitz flashes set up the perfect foundation for a tremendous visual counterpart, and the audience is fully into it. Shining‘s Live Blackjazz showcases expert live fusion of the two genres Norwegians are best at—free jazz & black metal—and is a brilliant look at what music can do in this next decade.

Try watching the concert film at full volume first!

01. The Madness And The Damage Done
02. Fisheye
03. In The Kingdom Of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster
04. The Red Room
05. Omen
06. Goretex Weather Report
07. Winterreise
08. Exit Sun
10. 21st Century Schizoid Man

~Mats Johnasen


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