Rating:
9.4
Shining (NOR) - Blackjazz
18 January 2010


01. The Madness And The Damage Done
02. Fisheye
03. Exit Sun
04. Exit Sun
05. HEALTER SKELTER
06. The Madness And The Damage Done
07. Blackjazz Deathtrance
08. Omen
09. 21st Century Schizoid Man [King Crimson cover]


"The ever downward spiral, the inevitable tide
The outlines of a beast, slowly taking form
Pixel by pixel, giving birth to deadly shape"


Replace 'pixel' by 'note', and that is quite an accurate description of what you're about to face with this Blackjazz

Oh My Fucking God

Yeah that'll probably be your reaction when you'll hear it. And for a good reason: this is one of the most mind-blowing albums released in 2010. A unique, weird, and really violent monster of a record. So be prepared for quite a ride, and not an easy one at that!

The Ultra-Violence

Deviant electronica, aggressive industrial sound processing, a real and almost physical wall of sound pounding on your ears and brain. Distorted guitars… but not as much as the vocals, which are sometimes twisted beyond recognition. And insane drumming, more than awesome in its craziness and technicality. Oops. I just forgot there are weird 'Space Invaders' sounds ("The Madness And The Damage Done", "Fisheye"), and also some noisy, unbearable moments ("Exit Sun", "Omen").

But how can one really describe this, anyway? Let's try to add some more elements beyond this collage of adjectives and barest descriptive hints.

So… We've got some quieter moments, here and there. Quieter, but usually not completely comfortable, especially considering they only prepare for more aggression. There are also these always moving song structures, with threads woven in and out across the songs (that's easily noticeable with the vocals, for example), and all this ultra-violence flowing in a - seemingly - barely controlled chaos… just like on a jazz record. A dark, completely unhinged one, that goes without saying.

And then… This crazy sax. Yeah, the one that also appeared on Ihsahn's After, it's quite unforgettable on "Helter Skelter" which is soooo King Crimson - with an harsher edge of course.

21st Century Schizoid Man

Speaking of King Crimson, one can help but notice this cover (featuring Enslaved's Grutle). It is totally different from the original… yet unmistakably the same. It's twisted almost beyond recognition, aggressive and noisy as never before. Exactly the reasons why it's terribly relevant and still totally progressive (as in, forward movement in music, you know). Maybe the song's title never fitted so well before... The climax of a mind-bending album.

Blackjazz Deathtrance

This song has such a suitable name. It is exactly that: a trance of death totally encompassing the whole Blackjazz album. And as such, 11 minutes of pure twisted bliss - but without the saxophone.

A dark diamond hidden in a noisy hell.

And that is the perfect description of this album.

The Madness And The Damage Done

This music sure is brain-damaging. By the time you'll have understood what really happens on this record, your ears will bleed, and your brain will have melted away. This audio pain will make you crazy, yet in your masochism you'll crave for more. You're indeed mad, the damage is done.

Come join the club!


Band profile: Shining (NOR)
Album: Blackjazz


 



Written on 14.02.2011 by
Darkside Momo
Used to be your regular Hellfest reporter, now almost retired . I (strangely enough) listen to a lot of metal. And enjoy good beers, comics, novels and role-playing games.
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MechanisT - 14.02.2011 at 12:33  
"I've been afflicted with the Blackjazz Deathtrance"...

In all fairness, this is one of the most exciting and original albums that I've listened to in recent times! I've been mad for years but this album really put purpose to my insanity, whatever that means...

Very good review! A thumbs up if you will!
BaZaH - 14.02.2011 at 13:46  
They're coming to Wacken! Great album by the way, weird and awesome!
Darkside Momo - 14.02.2011 at 14:02  
Written by MechanisT on 14.02.2011 at 12:33

"I've been afflicted with the Blackjazz Deathtrance"...

In all fairness, this is one of the most exciting and original albums that I've listened to in recent times! I've been mad for years but this album really put purpose to my insanity, whatever that means...

Very good review! A thumbs up if you will!

Thank you!
corrupt - 14.02.2011 at 14:26  
I've been trying to articulate this sound. It's like Al Jourgensen and Marilyn Manson teaming up with Varg Vikernes for a jam-session but Dragonforce were already playing in that room.

I was worried about this review but you definitely nailed it. Not that describing the album would give anyone any clue as to what he's in for. But knowing it, there's much truth to your words. Really impressive.
Darkside Momo - 14.02.2011 at 14:55  
Written by corrupt on 14.02.2011 at 14:26

I was worried about this review but you definitely nailed it. Not that describing the album would give anyone any clue as to what he's in for. But knowing it, there's much truth to your words. Really impressive.

Thank you!
I must admit, at first it was pretty hard to write... But once I gave up the idea of a precise description, it flowed much more easily.
Vitriolic Hate - 14.02.2011 at 15:13  
Written by corrupt on 14.02.2011 at 14:26

I've been trying to articulate this sound. It's like Al Jourgensen and Marilyn Manson teaming up with Varg Vikernes for a jam-session but Dragonforce were already playing in that room.

Weird mix there.
Troy Killjoy - 14.02.2011 at 16:15  
I have no clue how so many people regard this as the most interesting, mind-blowing, eccentric collaboration of blah blah blah.

Is nobody else simply bored by this?

There are parts of descriptions in the review I agree with, but mostly this is just something I'd have on in the background while I read a book just for the sake of hearing something other than traffic outside my apartment.

5/10 from me, 6 if I'm really digging that whole "background music" aspect, which is not often.
corrupt - 14.02.2011 at 16:40  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 14.02.2011 at 16:15

I have no clue how so many people regard this as the most interesting, mind-blowing, eccentric collaboration of blah blah blah.

Is nobody else simply bored by this?

There are parts of descriptions in the review I agree with, but mostly this is just something I'd have on in the background while I read a book just for the sake of hearing something other than traffic outside my apartment.

5/10 from me, 6 if I'm really digging that whole "background music" aspect, which is not often.

I could listen to pretty much anything in the background. It's what you hear when you listen closely that's interesting to me. The chaotic complexity that still sounds really easy as a whole. That doesn't make it the best album of 2010, but still something really interesting that I'm happy to have found.
!J.O.O.E.! - 14.02.2011 at 17:28  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 14.02.2011 at 16:15

I have no clue how so many people regard this as the most interesting, mind-blowing, eccentric collaboration of blah blah blah.

Is nobody else simply bored by this?

There are parts of descriptions in the review I agree with, but mostly this is just something I'd have on in the background while I read a book just for the sake of hearing something other than traffic outside my apartment.

5/10 from me, 6 if I'm really digging that whole "background music" aspect, which is not often.

It's a really nice little album but it's the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind of the metal world: weirdness for people that don't like (or can handle) weirdness, i.e. it's not that wacky or out there compared to most things that would do people's head in.
Baz Anderson - 14.02.2011 at 18:45  
I think the album has been greatly overrated due to it's original sound. It is an interesting album, it is good - but I think the fad will eventually wear off.
Fat & Sassy! - 14.02.2011 at 19:08  
Written by Baz Anderson on 14.02.2011 at 18:45

I think the album has been greatly overrated due to it's original sound. It is an interesting album, it is good - but I think the fad will eventually wear off.


Fad? I think it's just folks who like to hear wildly original music who are giving it such praise. I mean, to most, progressive music is supposed to push music forward and break boundaries. This is exactly what this album does. It's an artistic statement. Now, I cannot predict the future, but I think this album will have a significant impact on future experimental music. It holds a certain relevance that a band like Mr. Bungle or Primus does; the album may not influence the direction of your favorite typical heavy metal music, but it's just as important in the grand scheme of things because they are pushing the envelope. I mean, someone has to.
DethDonald - 14.02.2011 at 20:53  
I'm ashamed to have listened to this album so late. Very great album at times it reminds me of Genghis Tron but a whole different beast entirely.
Darkside Momo - 14.02.2011 at 21:06  
Written by Fat & Sassy! on 14.02.2011 at 19:08

Written by Baz Anderson on 14.02.2011 at 18:45

I think the album has been greatly overrated due to it's original sound. It is an interesting album, it is good - but I think the fad will eventually wear off.


Fad? I think it's just folks who like to hear wildly original music who are giving it such praise. I mean, to most, progressive music is supposed to push music forward and break boundaries. This is exactly what this album does. It's an artistic statement. Now, I cannot predict the future, but I think this album will have a significant impact on future experimental music. It holds a certain relevance that a band like Mr. Bungle or Primus does; the album may not influence the direction of your favorite typical heavy metal music, but it's just as important in the grand scheme of things because they are pushing the envelope. I mean, someone has to.

Couldn't have said it better myself
Daydream Nation - 14.02.2011 at 21:36  
Could not disagree further with Troy. This is by no means an album you have to take as "background music." It's experimentation--it pushes the boundaries of what you think metal is capable of, as Fat and Sassy! has adequately described. I can't think of any other band with the same kind of amalgamation of genres. It's a cohesive whole, it's the very definition of avant-garde, it IS pure madness. Noise rock fans (still digging Sonic Youth, for example) will LOVE this gem. This is by no means conventional; this is an album that DEMANDS your attention simply with all the electronic subtleties, the cryptic lyricism, the trance, the half-death half-black kind of vocals, the stringed instruments, even the fading shriek of "Blood" in Blackjazz Deathtrance...in fact, I would be inclined to say that this album is as much of a foreground music as you can get. It's a sheer assault. Incredible album, fantastic review (loved the sections, it was very effective). While I think this is the best album of 2010 that I have yet heard, everyone should hear it simply for the experience. It alters how you perceive music and you will listen to metal music differently and for that matter, it is meritorious even if you don't like it. THAT is the sign of an excellent album.
Darkside Momo - 14.02.2011 at 21:57  
Written by Guest on 14.02.2011 at 21:36

fantastic review (loved the sections, it was very effective).

Thank yyou
And I definitely agree with all wrote too.
neonxaos - 15.02.2011 at 01:16  
When my friends tell me that all metal sounds the same, I put this on. Then they run away in fear, and I don't have to listen to any more of their BS musical prejudice
Troy Killjoy - 15.02.2011 at 01:59  
Written by corrupt on 14.02.2011 at 16:40

I could listen to pretty much anything in the background.

As could I - the problem with this album is it wasn't supposed to be "background noise", it was supposed to be captivating or transfixing somehow (according to the hordes of metalheads lauding its avant-garde nature, anyway). I get the whole "it's new and exciting" thing, and maybe it isn't a fad per se, but there's definitely a lot of love being thrown in its direction simply because it's something new, and in my opinion, not because it's something good.

Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 14.02.2011 at 17:28

It's a really nice little album but it's the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind of the metal world: weirdness for people that don't like (or can handle) weirdness, i.e. it's not that wacky or out there compared to most things that would do people's head in.

Agreed and understood I suppose. I wouldn't call it mind-bending at all, but it seems to be fucking a lot of people's heads in and I still haven't gotten my fix from it.

PS - that movie is much better than this album.

Written by Guest on 14.02.2011 at 21:36

This is by no means an album you have to take as "background music."
...this is an album that DEMANDS your attention simply with [lots of stuff]...
...It alters how you perceive music and you will listen to metal music differently and for that matter, it is meritorious even if you don't like it...

I didn't choose to "take it" as background music, it just turned out that way. It was so boring and "easy" it just sounded better as something I didn't need to put all my focus on. It didn't DEMAND my attention; in fact, it did the exact opposite. I went in with a clear conscience, ignoring the hype and high ratings, and listened from start to finish. The first two or three songs kind of brought new ideas, but then something about that "new style" just became drab. I lost interest completely, twiddled my thumbs, lurked in forums, etc.

And it absolutely had no effect on how I perceive music. That's just a ludicrous statement to be honest, and one that contributes to the hype surrounding what is really a hit or miss album. I understand it's "art" and innovative and genre-transcending and all the positive adjectives that have been thrown its way since its release...but let's be honest, it's far from the greatest album of all time (or even this year) and it won't automatically alter everyone's perception of how they listen to metal music.
Bigpaul - 15.02.2011 at 04:00  
Interesting listen but I didn't find it very memorable. Sounds like an acid fuelled jam session with Al Jorgenson, Josh Homme, Devin Townsend and the girl from Sigh.
Daydream Nation - 15.02.2011 at 14:41  
Boring and "easy," Troy? Makes Blackjazz sound like bad sex, haha. And was it REALLY as bad as bad sex?
!J.O.O.E.! - 15.02.2011 at 15:49  
Written by Guest on 15.02.2011 at 14:41

Boring and "easy," Troy? Makes Blackjazz sound like bad sex, haha. And was it REALLY as bad as bad sex?

That's patently untrue: even bad sex is good sex. It's like pizza, even when it's not very good it's still good.
!J.O.O.E.! - 15.02.2011 at 15:50  
Written by Bigpaul on 15.02.2011 at 04:00

Sounds like an acid fuelled jam session with Al Jorgenson, Josh Homme, Devin Townsend and the girl from Sigh.

That would be a fun night in for all the family.
Slayer666 - 15.02.2011 at 22:47  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 14.02.2011 at 16:15

I have no clue how so many people regard this as the most interesting, mind-blowing, eccentric collaboration of blah blah blah.

Is nobody else simply bored by this?

There are parts of descriptions in the review I agree with, but mostly this is just something I'd have on in the background while I read a book just for the sake of hearing something other than traffic outside my apartment.

5/10 from me, 6 if I'm really digging that whole "background music" aspect, which is not often.

Yeah, I don't get this one either.
I mean, it is very, very interesting and fresh, the musicianship is great and all that, but I just can't actually enjoy it. It lacks that something...
Troy Killjoy - 16.02.2011 at 00:31  
Written by Guest on 15.02.2011 at 14:41

Boring and "easy," Troy? Makes Blackjazz sound like bad sex, haha. And was it REALLY as bad as bad sex?

I second what Joe said in regards to bad sex, but what I meant by "easy" was it was simple to digest despite its lauded complexity.
IronAngel - 16.02.2011 at 00:49  
I'm not sure how I feel about this album. It's interesting and fun when you pay attention, but it's not very pleasant or alluring; I've never felt like "Yeah, I'd like to hear that stuff now." I've put it on when I decided to, but I have yet to come back to it spontaneously.

As far as technical or progressive music goes, this is pretty good though. I might even say very good. I like my experimental stuff a little different, but this works too.

As for the review, nicely done with the structure. The bold lines (and their lack of symmetry) offended my aesthetic sensibilities, but I did like the idea!
Darkside Momo - 16.02.2011 at 00:52  
Written by IronAngel on 16.02.2011 at 00:49

As for the review, nicely done with the structure. The bold lines (and their lack of symmetry) offended my aesthetic sensibilities, but I did like the idea!

Thanks a lot!
Daydream Nation - 16.02.2011 at 03:48  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 16.02.2011 at 00:31

Written by Guest on 15.02.2011 at 14:41

Boring and "easy," Troy? Makes Blackjazz sound like bad sex, haha. And was it REALLY as bad as bad sex?

I second what Joe said in regards to bad sex, but what I meant by "easy" was it was simple to digest despite its lauded complexity.


By "bad sex," I mean unsatisfying sex. Just ask the 10% of American men and 20% of American women who don't find sex satisfying with their partners...
But yes, that's an interesting take on the album that I fully respect. Having listened to Blackjazz over 55 times, I can honestly say that I think Blackjazz is both complex and digestible at the same time. But you know my opinion, haha. Avant-garde/jazz fusion metal is the metal I am most partial to, especially if there are any death elements in it. Cynic, older Atheist, even Ihsahn...I dig.
Oh, and one more thing. Maybe you'll see my point-- listen to Blackjazz a couple more times and listen to your favourite Devin Townsend/SYL album. On decent headphones. It's amazing what details you'll pick up after listening to the craziness of Blackjazz.

And if you guys really want to laugh, compare it to "In the Kingdom of Kitsch..." album. Then you'll see just how far Shining has progressed, and even see parts of Blackjazz in a jazzy form.
Introspekrieg - 16.02.2011 at 06:53  
There was jazz on this?
Troy Killjoy - 16.02.2011 at 08:35  
Written by Guest on 16.02.2011 at 03:48

Oh, and one more thing. Maybe you'll see my point-- listen to Blackjazz a couple more times and listen to your favourite Devin Townsend/SYL album.

Not possible, as I don't like any of Townsend's works.

And I have two pretty decent sets of headphones. I've got Skullcandy's with an added bass subwoofer, and a set of Sony stereo high-performance noise-canceling headphones with movie, normal, and music settings.
Marcel Hubregtse - 16.02.2011 at 08:45  
Written by Introspekrieg on 16.02.2011 at 06:53

There was jazz on this?


yes.
Darkside Momo - 16.02.2011 at 14:59  
Written by Introspekrieg on 16.02.2011 at 06:53

There was jazz on this?

Yes there is, for sure!
But I understand your puzzlement, as I was finally able to listen to Grindstone, and surely the jazz on that one is at the same time more important, and more 'classical' (ah, the piano solo on "Winterreise")
Lovecraft - 16.02.2011 at 18:10  
I really haven't listened to the album enough times to judge it. I listened to it once, and I found it interesting, but somehow forgettable. I should definitely give it some more spins to see for myself.

As for the review, I liked it. I liked how you divided it. It was definitely a good read and it makes me want to listen to the album again.
Darkside Momo - 16.02.2011 at 22:54  
Eh eh, thanks!
Introspekrieg - 16.02.2011 at 23:11  
Written by Darkside Momo on 16.02.2011 at 14:59

Written by Introspekrieg on 16.02.2011 at 06:53

There was jazz on this?

Yes there is, for sure!
But I understand your puzzlement, as I was finally able to listen to Grindstone, and surely the jazz on that one is at the same time more important, and more 'classical' (ah, the piano solo on "Winterreise")


My puzzlement mostly stems from the way they have taken the jazz influence and dismantled it into an abrasive style that is almost unrecognizable, yet ultimately impressive. I guess all the fundamentals are still there, but I hear mostly industrial-tinged avantgarde with some sludgy grooves. The sax and synth really mix this thing up until it's a zany hail of destruction. I haven't made my mind up completely on this one, it is an engaging listen for me, but I'm not fully satisfied. Adding the extreme edge and weirdness for the sake of being weird mean nothing without substance. The songs are still growing on me, catching an infectious rhythm here, a twisted scream reverberating in my memory there. I absolutely love the drum work- driving the intensity up a few notches.
Very nice review, your words really sparked my interest and I continue to be fascinated.
Darkside Momo - 16.02.2011 at 23:23  
Written by Introspekrieg on 16.02.2011 at 23:11

Written by Darkside Momo on 16.02.2011 at 14:59

Written by Introspekrieg on 16.02.2011 at 06:53

There was jazz on this?

Yes there is, for sure!
But I understand your puzzlement, as I was finally able to listen to Grindstone, and surely the jazz on that one is at the same time more important, and more 'classical' (ah, the piano solo on "Winterreise")


My puzzlement mostly stems from the way they have taken the jazz influence and dismantled it into an abrasive style that is almost unrecognizable, yet ultimately impressive. I guess all the fundamentals are still there, but I hear mostly industrial-tinged avantgarde with some sludgy grooves. The sax and synth really mix this thing up until it's a zany hail of destruction. I haven't made my mind up completely on this one, it is an engaging listen for me, but I'm not fully satisfied. Adding the extreme edge and weirdness for the sake of being weird mean nothing without substance. The songs are still growing on me, catching an infectious rhythm here, a twisted scream reverberating in my memory there. I absolutely love the drum work- driving the intensity up a few notches.
Very nice review, your words really sparked my interest and I continue to be fascinated.

Thanks! And yes I guess you're absolutely spot_on when you say "zany hail of destruction"
But as far as substance is concerned, I consider myself fully satisfied. I discovered them with this album, and now I'm just starting to catch up, but I can't say it is less 'substantial' than Grindstone. It's just a different experiment, I think...
Oh and yes, 'awesome' barely describes the drumming. I was really blown away - and this guy is as awesome on the previous ones. Intensity, technicality, groove, he does it all, and then some.
Daydream Nation - 17.02.2011 at 00:30  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 16.02.2011 at 08:35

Written by Guest on 16.02.2011 at 03:48

Oh, and one more thing. Maybe you'll see my point-- listen to Blackjazz a couple more times and listen to your favourite Devin Townsend/SYL album.

Not possible, as I don't like any of Townsend's works.


Hahahahaha.
Merchant of Doom - 17.02.2011 at 12:39  
I love the King Crimson's cover... the rest is NIN on acid...
INÆRIS - 20.02.2011 at 01:02  
WICKED! This is such a cool record. I have so many questions to ask this band about their production and studio work in this album. There's some great stuff going on.
Fat & Sassy! - 21.02.2011 at 22:46  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 15.02.2011 at 15:49

That's patently untrue: even bad sex is good sex. It's like pizza, even when it's not very good it's still good.


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the most beautiful metaphor of the meaning of life ever conceived by man.
Slayer666 - 22.02.2011 at 16:01  
Written by Fat & Sassy! on 21.02.2011 at 22:46

Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 15.02.2011 at 15:49

That's patently untrue: even bad sex is good sex. It's like pizza, even when it's not very good it's still good.


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the most beautiful metaphor of the meaning of life ever conceived by man.

After reading this sentence of yours, I think it's safe to assume that someone here "got some" recently.
3rdWorldFuckFace - 23.02.2011 at 06:22  
This album reminds of the time i heard the first NIN song "Mr Self Destruct" off their album "the downward spiral".................boy, is it good for me? Fuck it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is the most skullcrunching thing from 2010
!J.O.O.E.! - 23.02.2011 at 16:19  
Actually they remind me of Atari Teenage Riot / Alec Empire at times.
wormdrink414 - 01.03.2011 at 01:53  
My roommate, who listens to 50 Cent, said that this is the worst shit he's ever heard. Therefore, by the rules of reason, it's a good album.
Mr. Doctor - 16.07.2011 at 22:20  
Written by wormdrink414 on 01.03.2011 at 01:53

My roommate, who listens to 50 Cent, said that this is the worst shit he's ever heard. Therefore, by the rules of reason, it's a good album.


Woa, does he have any good qualities? Because liking 50 Cent means that dude most pay at least more money for the rent or make some excellent meals.
wormdrink414 - 16.07.2011 at 23:31  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 16.07.2011 at 22:20

Woa, does he have any good qualities? Because liking 50 Cent means that dude most pay at least more money for the rent or make some excellent meals.

I singled out one roommate there. There were 3. All of whom listened to 1. Taylor Swift, 2. Lil Wayne, 3. 50 Cent, etc. etc. Surprised I made it out of there.

All good people, though. Good people who have absolutely no discernible taste when it comes to music.

Oh, and I'll keep the pay more for rent idea in mind for next school year.

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