Shining - Halmstad
Osmose Productions
Depressive Black Metal
6 songs (42'33")
Release year: 2007
Shining, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

Swedish Shining fifth record Halmstad, named after their hometown, is a textbook example of what can be considered black metal in spirit, yet lacking all of the external attributes. Can the record be considered BM, if there is nary a blastbeat on it, and a large part of vocals are far from extreme? The answer is apparently “yes”, if the nature of desperate and lonely can be translated by way of the blast or involved acoustic.

With this album Kvarforth and Shining are furthering their unorthodox view of extreme music twisting the listener’s soul inside out. Halmstad portrays accessible depression by one-step easy crossover from tremolo and double bass crescendo to Venetian guitar acoustic right from the start, from the opener Yttligare Ett Steg Närmare Total Jävla Utfrysning. Crystalline clear in quality of its production, the album stuns with its attention to detail and, seemingly, non-metal elements, the Mediterranean Carmen motif on Besvikelsens Dystra Monotoni or piano and depth adding cello on Låt Oss Ta Allt Från Varandra. Every bass reverb and every cymbal crash is perfectly captured. What stuns even more is hopelessness and desperation being exuded here, as every acoustic soul-search ends up being eventually cancelled by the world’s grime, by a nasty black’n’roll riff (Längtar Bort Från Mitt Hjärta), rapid fire machine gun guitar (Besvikelsens Dystra Monotoni), or unavoidable blast submerging everything under madness, erasing everything in its wake at the end of the closer Neka Morgondagen.

Halmstad is immersed in split personality. How else would you explain the orchestral pit tuning at the beginning of Besvikelsens Dystra Monotoni, the version of the timeless Moonlight Sonata classic on Åttiosextusenfyrahundra (I hope Beethoven was given credit) to co-exist with the eventual ripping blast at the end of Yttligare Ett Steg Närmare Total Jävla Utfrysning? This is how depression simmers, lurking behind the façade, waiting to breach the defenses. Using this backdrop, Kvarforth paints a wide-ranging palette of emotions with his voice. From quiet whispers to angry shouts to demented chokes, somewhat similar to Silencer, but without Nattramn’s excesses, to clean crooning to weird almost French chanson style set to a dirging fuzzed out guitar (Neka Morgondagen) – Kvarforth does not leave a single throat modulation untried on Halmstad. Reaching deep, there is even a female backing voice, crying on Låt Oss Ta Allt Från Varandra, which must be the inner conscience speaking out.

Absorbed with my own personal shit I have been listening to a lot of BM lately, Halmstad hitting me in a perfect mood moment. Although I do not have self-mutilation scars on my body, Shining makes you think. Not in the possession of a lyrics sheet or solid command of Swedish, I can’t quite comment on the message. On the musical surface, not overtly suicidal, Halmstad explores the connection between pent-up anger and lunacy. See cover art for further proof. The recent Kvarforth temporary disappearance drama only adds to the mystique.

Killing Songs :
Yttligare Ett Steg Närmare Total Jävla Utfrysning, Låt Oss Ta Allt Från Varandra, Neka Morgondagen
Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Shining that we have reviewed:
Shining - IX – Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Shining - Redefining Darkness reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Shining - VII: Född Förlorare reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Shining - VI - Klagopsalmer reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Shining - IV: The Eerie Cold reviewed by Daniel and quoted 65 / 100
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