...Piles virtually everything they know into one mini-concerto of hyperactive...
Martin Longley 2007
Shining are a four-piece combo from Norway, their chief writer being guitarist and saxophonist Jorgen Munkeby, a former member of Jaga Jazzist. Newish keyboardist Andreas Schei has also done time with that august ensemble, and the Shining line-up is completed by Morten Strom (bass) and Torstein Lofthus (drums). Grindstone is a follow-up to their Rune Grammofon debut, In The Kingdom Of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster, and happens to open with a track of
the same name.
Norway is the home of corpsecore metal, and Shining are now in its thrall, having undergone the full transformation from ostensible jazz combo into a full incarnation as heavy progressive art rockers. Their stylistic evolution is akin to that of Acoustic Ladyland, losing some jazz input in favour of a blistering rock attack.
Shining's juggernaut headbanging is orchestrated with intellectual precision, and could well be providing the soundtrack to a particularly grisly 1970s Italian horror flick. Doomy vocals intone with Ozzy Osbourne portentousness over beautifully sculpted slabs of gothic guitar complexity. Is this a pastiche, or simply a huge stylistic advancement? Was that a stray flute, trilling up out of the maggoty mire?
When the vintage synthesisers and Satanic organ make their grandiloquent gestures, King Crimson enter the Valley Of The Kings. Finding fresh ways to overload is Shining's chief thrill, as when "The Red Room" mangles into flamenco metal modality. "Psalm" chills with its cauterised choirboy castrato, underlaid with leaden riffage, and "Stalemate Longan Runner" piles virtually everything they know into one mini-concerto of hyperactive filth-sucking.