V: Halmstad

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.