Suicidal black metal, with a genre title such as that one can be forgiven for assuming the worst. But despite what you might think Shining are a band of musical prowess and skill and are not just here to make you feel like shite and reach for a razorblade.
Hailing from Halmstad, Sweden close to the black metal heartland Norway it may or may not come as a surprise that Shining are not BM in the traditional sense. Forget your Mayhems and Darkthrones in this case, Shining are a completely different animal.
First off, contrary to popular belief the name doesn’t come from the film, The Shining. The name refers to “the path to enlightenment” according to the band.
Quickly I’d like to say, I think little of the ethos of Shining, I just like their music.
Frontman Niklas “Kvarforth” Olsson’s lyrics throughout their back catalogue openly promote self harm. On stage Kvarfoth is notorious for cutting himself with razorblades to some extreme extents. Also he was known for physically abusing fans during shows.
However it wasn’t until 2004 that Shining began playing live. The band reformed after a break up with a new line-up with which it was possible to play live. In 2005 and 2007 they released the albums IV/ The Eerie Cold and V/ Halmstad, by far their best albums yet. Here, the best components of Shining were present where one could listen to the music and appreciate just that, the music and hopefully from that you could re-evaluate the previous works.
That said, in my opinion, the self mutilation onstage from Kvarforth for too long overshadowed the quality of the music they made. His antics came to a head in February 2007. During a show in their hometown, Kvarforth (as usual) cut himself, drank urine from a bottle and allegedly kicked a fan in the chest. Razorblades were also handed out to the crowd. The gig received much attention from mainstream media in Sweden and fed up of the reputation Shining had now garnered bassist Phil Corine quit. Kvarforth has stated: “It was a regular Shining gig” when asked about that night
Despite his attitude to that night his visceral self harm during shows has toned down significantly since then. Last January I saw them play in Fibbers. Overall it was a good show. Yeah, there was cutting but nowhere near as much as I’d expected and I was bearing in mind that he had toned down. As you can see it’s quite little:After spitting whiskey in my face, Kvarforth and the rest of the band commenced a show where the focus stayed on the songs that the band played.
Of course a Shining show still retains its eccentricity; Kvarforth still cut himself, waltzed briefly with a girl at the front and shoved his hands down his pants several times. Regardless of the reputation his stage presence is impressive and demands the crowd’s attention.
Coming this year is their new album, their sixth effort, VI/ Klagopsalmer, translated as “hymns of lament”.