“One One One” is the third release in Norwegian band Shining’s “Blackjazz” trilogy, following on stylistically from “Blackjazz” and “Live Blackjazz”. Successfully fusing black metal and jazz on these two “Blackjazz” releases indicated that Shining had created a sound they could confidently call their own. Metal, punk and jazz fusions have been flourishing in the works of experimentalists such as John Zorn for a number of years, but what Shining have created is a mutant hybrid that dispenses with the gravity often associated with the jazz genre and reintroduced the element of excitement and animation. The first single from this album, ‘I Won’t Forget’, is a raucous, riff-laden romp through straight-ahead stadium anthem territory whilst intermittently taking a break with outbursts of free jazz and mathematically abrupt progressive chord progressions. Despite this incongruous mix of styles, the listener is left with riffs and hooks that stay rattling around the psyche.
Having set the listener on course with ‘I Won’t Forget’, the momentum continues for ‘The One Inside’ and ‘My Dying Drive’. These tunes exude vigour and joie de vivre whilst still retaining their intellect and complexity. The hostility and intensity is forefront on tracks such as ‘Blackjazz Rebels’ and ‘The Hurting Game’ whilst ‘How Your Story Ends’ loses none of the strength and pushes forward on those distinguishing angular chord progressions. Opportunities for extended passages of distressed saxophone from Jorgen Munkeby are limited, and may prove a disappointment for lovers of experimental jazz, but those opportunities are more than made up for by nine tracks of contagious and authoritative composition.
“One One One” was written by Munkeby over twelve months in Los Angeles and Oslo, and again utilises the studio skills of Tom Baker and Sean Beavan who were so successful in fashioning the “Blackjazz” sound on their two preceding releases. Combining genres can occasionally result in a confused and disorientated sound, or one that uses one genre as a novelty diversion from the first, but not so for Shining, who appear to have the acumen to travel with both concurrently. “One One One” has actual songs with beginnings, choruses, verses and endings with very few meanderings into the avant garde. The voice is noticeably high in the mix, giving the songs a further sense of acceptability. There is certainly chaos and disorder, but it is controlled with a clinical precision. That exactitude is reflected somewhat in the cover art, which hints at a typeface from the future usually associated with a drum and bass aesthetic. Again, this stylistic concoction is not distracting or irrational, but is indicative of a band that is in control of their sound and image, and is unafraid to exploit both.