“International Blackjazz Society” is the title of the new album from Norway’s Shining. It plays off their self labeled genre “Blackjazz” which was also the title of their landmark album that marked a shift in the band’s style. Shining started life as a jazz group. Things started to change slowly over time but on “Blackjazz,” the band melded jazz with extreme metal to become something completely different.
The band took it further with their last album “One One One.” That album took the blueprint of “Blackjazz” and incorporated a more direct extreme/prog metal style. Think Devin Townsend meets Ihsahn. “International Blackjazz Society” is the first album that does not mark a major shift in the band’s sound in a while. It would be very fair to say that if you enjoyed “One One One,” you will enjoy this album as well. It feels like a continuation of that album but at the same time, it feels more rooted in what the band was when they started.
Jørgen Munkeby is still upset and pissed off on this album. At least that’s how he sounds and that’s how I like him! I love his voice, very tense and urgent. I also love that his sax playing still plays a major role in the band’s sound. On this album, it seems more crucial to the sound than on “One One One.” That’s really what makes this album a bit more varied than “One One One.” However, I do prefer the songs on “One One One” SLIGHTLY more than on “International Blackjazz Society.” That is probably just familiarity though.
My favorite tracks are “Burn It All,” which is about as pissed off as Munkeby gets, and the trilogy of “House Of Warship,” “House Of Control,” and “Church Of Endurance.” Those songs basically flow together and really run the gamut of what Shining are about musically. Hopefully, the “International Blackjazz Society” gains many more members with this album. The band are refreshing, fearless and experimental on this album and really all of their releases. Those are the characteristics every band should strive for!
2. The Last Stand
3. Burn It All
4. Last Day
5. Thousand Eyes
6. House Of Warship
7. House Of Control
8. Church Of Endurance
Label: Spinefarm Records