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V . Halmstad

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Album Review

If Shining's hometown of Halmstad is anywhere near as bleak as the album named after it, you'd imagine that its residents would be leaving in droves — only to be replaced with grim, pale-faced youths dressed in black on a pilgrimage to the nearest cemetery, of course. Like all of their previous releases, the mysterious Swedish ensemble's fifth effort excels at contrasting dark and darker; repeatedly alternating aching acoustic guitars, heartbreaking melodic solos (see "Längtar Bort Från Mitt Hjärta," for a perfect example) and, occasionally, depressing keyboards against bursts of black and death metal fury (check out the bulldozing mid-section of "Besvikelsens Dystra Monotoni" on this matter), with positively suicidal results. Even the infectious, driving riffs launching "Låt Oss Ta Allt Från Varandra" ultimately descend towards the depths of despair, as a lonely, mournful piano accompanies a young girl's weeping, before concluding with tolling bells and power chords evocative of Danzig's "Twist of Cain." And the strangely named "Åttiosextusenfyrahundra" is in fact Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (maybe to show Mom that those classical piano lessons didn't go entirely to waste), which curiously fits right in with its gloomy surroundings. And, at the end of the day, V:/Halmstad makes for a generally captivating — if emotionally draining — album, whose somber mood is only broken when bandleader Kvarforth's forceful growl (usually reminiscent of Entombed's L.G. Petrov's) cracks comically into something more akin to the Muppets' Great Gonzo!


Formed: 1996 in Halmstad, Sweden

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

By all accounts, as much a therapy session as a rock band, Halmstad, Sweden's Shining was formed in 1996 by a then-12-year-old vocalist, Kvarforth, who has hired and fired numerous musicians in the years since, while delivering five full-length albums: I -- Within Deep Dark Chambers (2000), II -- Livets Ändhållplats (2001), III -- Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie (2002), IV -- The Eerie Cold (2004), and V -- Halmstad (2007). All of these (plus a handful of EPs and split releases) have obsessed...
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V . Halmstad, Shining
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