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Shining – “Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel” (video)

Shining – “Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel” (official video – very NSFW)

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Shining – “Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel” (censored video)

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Sweden’s Shining are a strange beast. They’ve gotten the “depressive black metal” tag, which was accurate early on. But their last few records have had balls and shredding. I get the impression of a band that cares a lot, but doesn’t want to look like it does. (Can “depressive black metal” work at a festival in front of tens of thousands of people? As this video at Party.San shows, absolutely, if wrapped in insouciance bordering on cock rock.)

In particular, singer Niklas Kvarforth, once notorious for being self-destructive, seems to have settled down with some degree of professionality. Shining’s recent move to Spinefarm Records came with a strange press release that quoted Kvarforth as saying, “We sat down together and talked everything through, and everyone came to the conclusion that the best way for Shining to grow and develop would be to sign the band to a label with the size and experience of Spinefarm”. For a band that’s supposedly “suicidal”, it sure wants to live.

Hence Shining’s first-ever single and music video, “Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel”. I don’t understand Swedish, so I don’t know what it’s about. But judging from the video, I have a decent idea: very bad things. The uncensored version contains explicit depictions of drug use and self-mutilation, and is quite unsafe for work. I don’t know if the intent is to shock, or to make some artistic point. Both, probably? I find interesting the band’s use of pyro in what looks like a rehearsal room. The strange juxtaposition of big and small matches the contradiction of stylish footage of depravity.

I actually find the censored version more interesting. Without the distraction of self-inflicted harm, the focus shifts to the music. And what wonderful music it is, full of melancholy and strength. Halfway through, an acoustic guitar drops in out of nowhere, and the song becomes a dark ballad worthy of Wovenhand or Crippled Black Phoenix. Then distortion thunders back in, a grand melody wafts above, and the guitars launch into magnificent harmonies that fade out too quickly. I want this song to last 10 more minutes; I want to find out where it goes. I suppose I need to hear Shining’s new album, VII: Född Förlorare.

— Cosmo Lee

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Hello, distribution?

Amazon (CD)

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