Prog has a long, illustrious relationship with jazz; its improvisational tendencies and adventurous licks are fertile ground for experimentation. But blackjazz?
The term is used to describe the ear-catching sound of Norwegian dynamos Shining, who blend prog and metal with jazz and avant-garde, and their seventh full-lengther follows suit. Led by multi-instrumentalist and former Jaga Jazzist man Jørgen Munkeby, the energetic and explorative Shining don’t just tread the left-field path. For every off-kilter tune, such as the wild, sax-led roller-coaster intro Admittance or the marauding House Of Warship, there are industrial rock chops heavily indebted to Nine Inch Nails or nu-metal-but-better angst-ridden blasts. While this will entice outside listeners, some proggers who get their kicks from the 1970s may feel ostracised. Look beyond the contemporary metal nods, though, and there’s still a treasure trove of treats waiting to be unearthed. The eclectic Thousand Eyes dips into warped drum and sax solos, while closer Need crawls with jagged, spiky riffs and off-timings. It’s not quite always prog as we know it, but it certainly seems blackjazz – and that ain’t no bad thing at all.