One One One

01. I Won’t Forget
02. The One Inside
03. My Dying Drive
04. Off The Hook
05. Blackjazz Rebels
06. How Your Story Ends
07. The Hurting Game
08. Walk Away
09. Paint The Sky Black

[Prosthetic Records]

As you can probably tell, we really enjoy our avant-garde. We dedicated a whole week to it, and many of the writers here, this one included, have countless favorites. One of the bands that many of us really enjoy, however, is Norwegian blackjazz avant-garde specialists Shining. Their last album, 2010’s Blackjazz, completely blew us away, and their live DVD that followed was every bit as good. However, it’s been nearly three years since the band have put out a new studio record, and the question remained: how could they possibly top such a phenomenal record?

One One One is every bit heavy as it is catchy. From track one, which became the first single, to the closer ‘Paint The Sky Black’, this record has everything you could ever want. At first, the appearance of songs around three to four minutes long may scare some of you. Gone are the tripped-out musical journeys, such as ‘Blackjazz Deathtrance’, and in its place there are catchy songs. If black metal went pop, this record would be definitive. However, the lack of long experimental songs is completely fine; each song on this record is just long enough to become imprinted in your memory. The sheer catchiness that is exemplified on this record is really a testament to how well these guys can run the gamut as far as style goes. It may seem as if these songs were fabricated as some sort of ruse to break into the mainstream, when it is actually quite the opposite, further solidifying them as one of the best, and most interesting, metal bands out there.

Another thing to note is the overall sound from this record. Jørgen’s voice cuts through the mix like a knife, but is well-placed in relation to everything else. You can definitely tell that this album is every bit as collective as before, perhaps even more. Whereas before it seemed that they just wanted to see how far they could take this shift in sound, on this record they kind of pulled back on the experimentation and went ahead with the hooks, which there are plenty of throughout this record. This record is hook city. Each song has one, and they’re all fantastic. A personal favorite is the main riff of “Off The Hook’, which is really fun and bouncy, and sounds like something that Shining would never write, but they did. The best part about this record? Each songs has a definitive chorus, and it’s going to make their live shows that much better. Hopefully they tour stateside soon so that we can all go and bask in their Norwegian, blackjazz glory.

It’s not to say that this album is devoid of all forms of experimentation, however. There’s a crazy sax solo in “I Won’t Forget’, sax on the opening part of ‘How Your Story Ends’, there’s some off-time riffs here and there. This record is one giant experiment: to see whether or not the fans like their short and sweet route as much as the experimental, prog-laden route. Even the garish bright orange artwork is an experiment (it gets a bit much at times). They said they did it to reflect their experience with recording in California, which is all well and fun, but a smaller dose would have sufficed. However, the simplicity of the artwork is also captivating; it leaves a lot to the imagination for virgin ears that have yet to behold the magic of Shining, and gives them no reason to say no.

One One One is going to end up on many different year-end lists, and for good reason. It’s one of the best metal albums to come out this year, and it’s also the most memorable. All of the hooks on this record are enough to last you another few years until they decide to release another great record. This record is not only a step forward, but also a step in the right direction. There’s no telling what else this band is capable of in the future, and here’s to hoping nothing but great things happen to them!

Shining – One One One gets…


– SS


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