International Blackjazz Society

Blackjazz hands!

dB Rating: 8/10

Release Date: October 16th, 2015
Label:  Prosthetic

Critics should avoid superlatives at all costs. Hell, I have to keep reminding myself. There’s nothing that’ll get readers’ eyes rolling like a grandiose statement that X band is “one of the most…” But a couple times a year, the temptation proves to be too irresistible and you simply have to make a statement like, “Shining are one of the most innovative bands of the last decade.” Because Shining are one of the most innovative metal bands of the last decade. Few bands can match what Jørgen Munkeby and crew have done over the course of their previous six albums, and especially their last two.

2010’s Blackjazz was a marvel, combining free jazz and extreme metal in a way that was both wildly manic and exceptionally controlled. 2013’s One One One, meanwhile, distilled that sound into a crazily accessible package loaded with short, incessantly catchy tracks. International Blackjazz Society is a melding of the two, making for an unexpectedly uneven, but no less rewarding experience. Lean tracks like “The Last Stand” and “Burn It All” follow the path of One One One nicely, while “Last Day” strays a little too far into Nine Inch Nails territory; but the real revelation is “House of Warship,” a crazed free jazz jam that sees Munkeby wailing on saxophone atop a monstrous backing arrangement. As usual, the more jazz creeps into the sound, the better Shining get, and although it doesn’t break much new ground, IBS still provides plenty of excitement.

—Adrien Begrand
Review originally printed in the January 2016 issue.