Part 4 of a 13 song recap of my 2013 in no particular order
Shining, Norways premiere (and possibly only) ‘Blackjazz’ outfit (so named because the alternative, jazz-metal, is about as appealing as emo-reggae. Or techno reggae. O, y’know, reggae) went Pop this year. We’re talking verse-chorus-verse-chorus stuff here. Catchy choruses no less. To even the less discerning metal fan these resembled Songs in a traditional sense. Obviously this is blasphemy of the worst kind and they were shunned by a lot of folk who wanted them to forever be as obtuse and close to unlistenable as possible. And rightly so – listen to that middle 8 on The One Inside. It’s only a matter of time before that sax n’ blastbeat combo is covered by some wannabe pop starlet on X Factor. Sickening.
Thems the breaks in leftfield music I guess – you stay extreme or you get the hell out. But, as much as I loved 2010’s baffling noise assault Blackjazz, I have to say I’m enjoying their new streamlined sound. They seem to be channeling metal godhead Devin Townsend at times, always a worthwhile endeavor if you ask me. The One Inside starts manic before locking down into a head pounding groove that only really lets up to give way to that aforementioned squealing sax break. I can’t imagine how anyone who liked these guys before can’t find that thrilling. For me, as avant-black metal tinged with shoegaze increasingly became the sound du jour for any thinking metal lover (a sound which, a few records aside, I just cannot get along with) 2013 wasn’t exactly a vintage year for The Heavy. But there were a few excellent exceptions to that rule, of which Shining’s latest was amongst the best.