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Shining – Animal album review

Norway’s ‘blackjazz’ pioneers Shining throw the baby out with the bathwater on Animal

Shining - Animal album cover

Shining - Animal cover

1. Take Me
2. Animal
3. My Church
4. Fight Song
5. When The Lights Go Out
6. Smash It Up!
7. When I'm Gone
8. Everything Dies
9. End
10. Hole In The Sky 

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It’s been almost 20 years since Norway’s Shining stepped onto the scene with their self-proclaimed ‘blackjazz’, and they’re still able to surprise their audience. The big shock on their eighth album is a removal of their trademark saxophone from anywhere on Animal

Sadly, they haven’t compensated for that with anything nearly as interesting, as most of the record is comprised of some very bog-standard synths and songs that sit somewhere between middling modern pop music and bombastic power metal. 

At its best, songs like the title track are decent if unremarkable enough foot-tappers, but when it goes south it really stinks. When The Lights Go Out starts by sounding like simpering, overly earnest 90s crew Savage Garden before heading into the sort of territory that the last couple of In Flames albums have mined. 

Animal’s legacy is likely to be thought of as something of a misstep in the future.

For Fans Of: In Flames, Avatar, Sonic Syndicate

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.