“V:Halmstad” still sees regular rotation in my player and seeing as how that album stands as a landmark release of contemporary Black art, I owe it to the depression society known as SHINING to go back and re-evaluate their previous outings. Their first three albums may have been slightly underdeveloped ANCIENT-worship, but with the release of “IV: The Eerie Cold” these guys have been of a wildly different (not to mention derailed) train of thought altogether. Out went the clichéd riffs and “spooky” keyboard flourishes and in came something far more interesting. SHINING’s fourth full-length may bear the closest resemblance to the masterful “V: Halmstad”, but it was never more than a mere stepping stone...
OK, so what exactly do these Swedes present us with on the worrisomely titled “Eerie Cold”? Something that’s, uhm, eerie and cold, of course! This album is driven by songs that are mostly mid-paced with shitloads of instrumental (acoustic/piano) breaks thrown in, with the occasional sped-up parts relying a lot on groove. Now, I don’t particularly care for acoustic and groove touches in my Black Metal but these guys do it very well, and I’d be lying if I said that one cannot headbang ferociously to some of the s[speedier parts on this album. The songs do tend to meld into each other after a few spins, which is probably what the band intended because it gives the impression that this is one long, tortured paean to all things sad and despondent. A ceremony of the wretched. Just like on “V: Halmstad” the band thrown in the odd movie clip here and there to help build atmosphere and just like on “V” none of these moments sound forced or cheesy at all. Niklas Kvarforth’s “vocals” are still a joy to behold, his agonized grunts and screams perfectly fitting the depressive vibe of the album. He’s no Rainer Landfermann, but he fits this type of suicidal Black Metal perfectly. Top it all off with an above-average production job and you have one solid album.
But for all its positive aspects this album cannot hope to hold a candle to its successor, mainly due to some of the songs on here sounding just a tad too much alike, while others tend to drag on a bit. The riffs are good but the album could’ve done with more accentuated instances of juxtaposition here and there because at times this album feel like one long KATATONIA song. It’s fun to listen to but at the same time it doesn’t exactly scream to be played when one is weighing one’s options.
Stand-out cuts: "Och Med Insikt Skall De Forga", "Eradication Of The Condition"
(Online June 26, 2008)