Imagine Miles Davis was still alive and he would be listening to The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails and some Darkthrone records for good measure. I am sure he would have come up with something equally unique as Norway’s Shining with their Blackjazz album.
This is something truly different. It is abstract, abrassive and very expressionistic art. This album is really a journey into chaotic freestyle jazz arrangements, cold industrial parts and the purest Black metal nihilism you will ever encounter. Blackjazz sounds like John Zorn, Trent Reznor, King Crimson and Darkthrone thrown together in a blender. The distorted vocals by Jorgen Munkeby and his saxophone wizardry add to the frantic and apocalyptic feeling of songs like The Madness And Damage Done, Fisheye, Helter Skelter and Omen. I could write a book on the virtuosity displayed on this single album.
I did mention King Crimson as an influence, since the Shining lads have also put a splendid rendition of 21st Century Schizoid Man on the album. Robert Fripp would probably freak out if he would hear this, but for some reason it works very well within the musical context of this record. The vocals on this song are provided by Enslaved’s very own Ivar Bjornson. The production of this masterpiece was expertly done by Sean Beavan.
Blackjazz by Shining is one of those records you either totally love or hate. There is simply nothing in between. As for me, this is cutting edge experimental metal at its finest. Mark my words, this album will be viewed as a classic record within a couple of years.
written by Raymond Westland