The Bottom Line
- More multifaceted, rounded material.
- Kvarforth's vocal performance.
- Strong and clear production.
- Lacks the dark heft of 'V: Halmstad.'
- Released February 9, 2010 by Season of Mist.
- Kvarforth is in the project Skitliv with former Mayhem vocalist Maniac.
- Klagopsalmer translates roughly to “hymns of lament.”
Guide Review - Shining - 'VI: Klagopsalmer'
Songwriter and vocalist Niklas Kvarforth returns with Shining’s sixth effort VI: Klagopsalmer, which seems a bit enigmatic compared to previous Shining albums. Sure, it’s darker and more pensive than most metal on the market, but after Halmstad it’s a breather. Those looking for the blackness of earlier Shining might be disappointed. There is a sense of expansiveness here that’s almost entirely absent on earlier albums. Some of the material flirts with conventional rock songwriting, and all of it is eminently listenable.
Leave it to a mysterious figure like Kvarforth to defy expectations. Kvarforth has a public persona that’s similar to The Joker. He openly advocates self-harm and suicide, participated in a concert where razor blades were distributed to fans and has cut himself during performances. He also pals around with former Mayhem vocalist Maniac, who also has a similar penchant for self-destructive behavior. Needles to say, Shining isn’t feel-good metal.
Nonetheless, Kvarforth seems determined on his latest album to slightly offset the merciless blackness of Halmstad. There are the moments of despair, like the pounding opening track "Vilseledda barnasjälars hemvist." But they are offset by acoustic interludes and guitar solos of "Fullständigt jävla död inut.” This song hints that there’s more than unrelenting blackness – even if the rough translation of the song title is “Completely F---ing Dead Inside.”
VI: Klagopsalmer doesn’t carry the same dark weight or reflect the same psychological torment as the earlier albums. Instead, it seems like the work of a musician realizing that even songwriters trafficking in the darkest emotions need moments of levity.