Many bands have married Jazz and Metal. Metallica for one is a master of having jazz vocals over metal music or in the cases of the Loads - full jazz type albums. But Norway's Shining have kicked it up a notch!! OK, they took the concept to 11. This is wickedness at the ultimate. Saxophones. Killer heavy metal jazz fusion saxophone solos!! OMG!! I remember stuff like this from the 70s - that jazz fusion totally out there music. But only could a Norwegian band make your face melt whilst doing it. Shining is Jorgen Munkeby on sax, guitar, vocals, and what ever else strikes his musical fancy. He is joined by Torstein Lofthus on drums and Tor Egil Kreken on bass. Bernt Moen shreds on the keyboards whilst Hakon Sagen shreds on the guitar.
Live Blackjazz is a CD / DVD set that opens with Fisheye. It reminds you of 80s sci-fi soundtracks. David Lynch would love this band! It's bombastic and psychedelic. Did I mention the sax solo? And in the same song it degenerates into this head banging circle pit extreme thrash song. There is a guitar line that streaks thru this song that is just mind blowing. I can't even describe the vocals. It's like Gil Scott Heron and Shagrath had a love child. Quite amusing as Shagrath is from Oslo as well. Is it something in the Oslo water?
Three and a half minutes into The Madness And the Damage Done I was like Whiskey Tango Helo! Whirling dervish is what my brain could comprehend, although that image does it no justice. I had no time to compose myself as the album careened into In The Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster. No lie. That's the title. Again - the main force of this song is experimental jazz fusion. Trippy 60s and 70s stylings that are woven into an operatic, larger than life tome. The song also sports some sludgy doom metal passages. The arrangements found on this album are just amazing!
Can you head bang to a saxophone? Why yes you can. Don't believe me? Listen to The Red Room. It's amazing! Just mind-blowing amazing. The song is an instrumental and is just layered with sickness. Heavy Metal Saxophone. Jorgen Munkeby is just amazing. I know I keep saying it, but this album and the concept and the execution is trippy!
Goretex Weather Report is a Blade Runner-esque tromp through space and time. It's something you'd find on a Doctor Who from the mid-70s soundtrack. The sound is courtesy of synth master and keyboard maestro Bernt Moen.
Winterreise is a typical prog-rock masterpiece. It's a throw back to 70s era musical flights of fancy. Near the end, the song degenerates into a cacophony of disjunct sound. It's a melee for the ears. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason other than just free form musical expression. It segues into Exit Sun quite seamlessly. It was actually 2:30 into Exit Sun that I realized it was a new song. Exit Sun gives us more of Jorgen Munkeby's vocals as he screams his way through this track. Exit Sun is part avant garde jazz, progressive rock, thrash, and heavy metal. They just threw everything into it and it stuck.
Healter Skelter opens with a wicked 60s beat poetry on crack saxophone. The rest is just too unusual and extreme to put into words. It's a solid song for a bit; some real laid out grooves. Hakon Sagen does some wicked guitar playing.
Live Blackjazz closes with a unique cover of 21st Century Schizoid Man. It's a bit Black Sabbath type dirge. A little Sam Kinison delivery. A lot of mind blowing saxophone. The song ends in a whirling vortex of sound, saxophone and keyboards violently intertwining while primal drumming takes place.
Live Blackjazz is mind expanding. There is no way to neatly fit it into one genre. Either you get this album or you don't. There is no happy medium. For those that are very open minded and experimental with their music, Live Blackjazz is a must have for your collection.