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'International Black Jazz Society'
(Spinefarm Records)
Out now

jools green

Jools Green


When Norwegian avant-garde outfit ‘Shining’, fronted by the multi talented band founder, vocalist, guitarist, saxophonist and songwriter Jørgen Munkeby, released their genre-defying album, their fifth studio album but the first to cross my path, ‘Blackjazz’ in 2010, I was utterly blown away.

From an extreme music perspective it ticked all the boxes and a few others besides, and the 2013 follow up ‘One, One, One‘ was also a great listen but slightly less extreme.

Their latest, ‘International Black Jazz Society’ is still a great album and I must get that point across first and foremost, superbly composed and executed but it continues to move towards the mainstream, sound wise and with less sax work, which is in some respects a shame.

Some of this could be a reflection on the ever changing line-up - thirteen different musicians have been involved since the bands inception.

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Across this nine track and thirty eight minute offering there is a strong resemblance to NIN with added saxophone; not a bad fact in itself - another great band in their own right - but one NIN is enough and I miss that insane, sax-led, extreme feel of ‘Blackjazz’.

Thankfully it’s not all mainstream doom and gloom as there are still a good few tracks that satiate my extreme desires.

Album opener ‘Admittance’ is a superb one minute offering of haunting sax and drum work of extreme proportions. ‘Burn It All’, opens with a slower, darker and industrial edge but has moments where it does break out into a dark, extreme, industrial-tinged groove.

The undeniably catchy, synthesiser rich ‘Last Day’ has powerhouse drum work and haunting latter part sax work. ‘Thousand Eyes’ which, after a manic opener, is on the whole slower and sleazier>


It has some delightfully, classically excessive drum work midway from Tobias Ørnes Andersen, who plays a blinder across the whole album, a great recent addition to the line-up and ‘House Of Warship’, which is an unashamed “sax fest” of glorious proportions.

There are some sides of ‘Shining’ that continue to be extreme and boundary pushing. Battling nature they recently brought in helicopters to fly over 2,000 kilos of heavy musical equipment up to a remote and precarious Norwegian cliff-top (‘Trolltunga’) - with a 700-metre drop stretching down below - to play a concert.

Check out the video for ‘Last Day’ below:

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