Shining - IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends (Season of Mist)

Definitely better the second time around...
Release Date: 
19 Apr 2015 - 11:30pm

If I'd been asked to review this after the first time I listened to IX, I probably would have given it a negative review - such is the fickle nature of the reviewer who is at the mercy of all manner of whims and personal caprices - however, coming back to this album again, I am in, as the young peeps say, a 'totes diff state of mind'...

Second time around, I really got into this. Opener Den Patvingade Tvasamheten (yes, it's all Swedish to me...) begins with all manner of scraping noises before morphing into a massively progressive number. It's got majesty and it's got pomp, there are keyboards and widdly guitars and it immediately demonstrates the virtuosity of the band. It also sets you up nicely for the stomping of Vilja & Drom with vocalist Niklas Kvarforth pouring himself into his throat-tearing delivery. He's giving it his all and that should be acknowledged. Framtidsutsikter slows down the pace with twangy, penetrating notes and reminds me of Dave Graney for some strange reason. I don't know what Niklas is singing about but his delivery is dark and sultry. It's a beautifully relentless album with the drumming and percussion on Manniskotankens Vagglosa Rum showing off Rainer Tuomikanto's drums to perfection. About mid-way in, it gets all mellow and the crooning vocal slips back in. It's a bloody interesting album...

Tracks like Inga Broar Kvar Att Branna are restrained (guitarists Peter Huss and Euge Valovirta are an exceptional pair of musicians) and even though it's all mellow guitar, Mr Kvarforth is rasping his dark vocals all over the shop. As I said it's an interesting (and varied) album with little flourishes of jazz and other styles popping up all over the place. The juxtaposition of mellow instrumentation and the intense vocal work are quite delightful - and that's what this album does; it jumps about mixing up styles, speeds and harmonies (check out the speeding drums on Besok Fran I(ho)nom coupled with dizzying guitars; truly dis-orientating). A bit more bass from Christian Larsson would have been nice but it's a great album and I'm glad I had the opportunity to re-visit it and actually appreciate it. There's a lesson there for all of us...

And by the way, the Rammstein Ohne Dich cover is pretty bloody superb too...