Several months after the already-delayed European (Osmose) release, Shining’s latest record is available on North American soil, with artwork designed by Erik Danielsson (Watain). Klagopsalmer is a surprisingly warm production in spite of its black metal core. That also means that, despite the band’s dark, depressive, even suicidal reputation, the record is not nearly as nihilistic or grim as you might expect. (Of course, the Scandinavian lyrics might be more demoralizing than my English-only brain can grasp.) On one level Klagopsalmer is a logical follow-up to Halmstad, tapping into a similar matrix of thrashy and doomy black metal mixed with strings, piano, acoustic guitar and dark atmospherics. At the same time, it’s less abrasive and tense, shifting more gradually from harsh aural violence into a slower melodic weight tinged with art rock moodiness. Vocally it’s less tortured as well. All of this translates into a more listenable record. Whether listenability is what you want from Shining is another matter. The band recently announced finishing up work on opus VII, making Klagopsalmer dated before it has even had time to sink in – perhaps a sign that Shining VI isn’t destined for longevity.
(Season of Mist)