There are only so many metal riffs you can assemble out of the 12 notes in the western scale. Perhaps that’s why I’ve found myself extending my musical arms outside of what might be traditionally called “metal” lately; bands like Carnal Rapture and Lye by Mistake blew my mind last year because they take something that’s distinctly not metal and pile upon it something that distinctly is.
Norway’s Shining do much the same thing, although the “black” lexeme in the title of their latest album Blackjazz — released this week on Indie Recordings, and by The End in the U.S. — is kind of misleading. It’s more like Industrojazz. With the assistance of producer Sean Beavan (NIN, Marilyn Manson, Slayer), the songs on Blackjazz pulsate, undulate, bleep and bloop underneath progressions and note combos that sound jazzy to these admittedly untrained ears. The snarls and growls of vocalist Munkeby keep things firmly grounded in modern metal though, in stark contrast (in the best possible way) to the lead saxaphone lines played by the same man.
Intrigued? Check out the two tracks from Blackjazz that Shining have up on their MySpace page. I’ve yet to sink my teeth into the full album, but after focusing on the frenetic, mind-spinning instrumental passage in the middle of “The Madness and the Damage Done” and the scorching saxophone solo at the end of “Fisheye” I’m going immediately to dig this one out from the pile of MS promo packages. Shining are fucking different, and I like it.