Redefining Darkness

Cleric – Serpent Psalms Review

Cleric – Serpent Psalms Review

“In Cleric‘s own words, their second full-length is “Swedish-style death metal that mixes in the elements of doom that [they] used to play. Think Entombed mixed with Asphyx and pepper with a pinch of Candlemass.” If this is the recipe, boy oh boy, is it tasty.” Taste the Cleric.

Zohamah – Spread My Ashes Review

Zohamah – Spread My Ashes Review

“Of all the myriad concoctions of subgenre blends present in metal, few have the potential to be as heinous and vile as black and doom metal. The ominous gloom of the latter mixed with the foul malevolence of the former can make for some horrifyingly ugly textures, something I discovered when reviewing Vile Creature last year. Though I tend to stay away from black metal if I can, this particular cocktail has shaken and stirred something in me, and thus I had no qualm fetching Zohamah from the promo bin, a one-man Israeli band whose debut combines black, doom, and death metal into an unholy platter of terror. Or that’s the idea, anyway.” Burnt offerings.

Shining – X – Varg utan flock Review

Shining – X – Varg utan flock Review

Shining is remarkably long-lived if one considers mainman Niklas Kvarforth’s admonitions that everyone should commit suicide. Twenty years into Shining’s career, Varg utan flock (Wolf without [a] Pack) marks the band’s 10th full length, and first since 2014. I have been holding out hope that Shining will regain the form of their earliest masterpieces, but since 2011 that field has been fallow. It’s tough to live up to records like Halmstad—one of the best albums of the 2000s—and Född förlorare. Those albums were excellent, memorable, and loaded with great writing and riffs. But starting in 2012, Shining/Kvarforth made a lot of noise about change. This was particularly present on 2012’s Redefining Darkness and even, to an extent, on IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends. The reasons for this are unclear—it could simply be that Kvarforth was bored—but the “redefinition” meant English lyrics in 2012, and a significant lack of intensity in 2015. So, you’ll forgive me if I approached X: Varg utan flock with some hesitancy.” In the darkness, a ray of deeper darkness.

Shining – IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends

Shining – IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends

“As child of the ’80s, and metal fan of the mid-to-late ’90s, Sweden was a signpost that meant “great metal.” Sweden was a magical haven of everything my neighborhood wasn’t: filled to the brim with amazing bands. Ironically, by the time I moved to Sweden, the things that were left over were the things I liked the least….” That doesn’t sound like a promising start to a review.

Shining – Redefining Darkness Review

Shining – Redefining Darkness Review

Shining has been a consistent favorite of mine since I discovered the band. Since V:/Halmstad: Niklas angående Niklas I have reviewed every one of their records and have witnessed a change in the band that I think is hard to ignore. Starting with V, the band has continued an Opethian evolution away from the raw, gut-wrenching emotional black metal into something less raw, more catchy and proggy (Marillion prog not Dream Theater prog). Having now dropped the numbers and donned instead an English title, (what would have been VIII) Redefining Darkness continues the band’s evolution away from its gut-wrenching roots. Were we looking for a redefinition? After the mighty VII: Född förlorare I sure wasn’t