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(Indie Recordings; US: 31 Jan 2012; UK: 14 Nov 2011)

Blackjazz, the 2010 release from Norwegian avant-jazz and extreme-metal maverick Shining, was a hugely dramatic and innovative album. Infused with the finest eccentricities from the world of free-jazz, set against the blackest and bleakest of metal furies, it was a magnificently unorthodox masterwork. The prospect of transferring all that ferocity and meticulously structured noise onto a live stage obviously didn’t faze multi-instrumentalist and frontman Jørgen Munkeby in the slightest, not if Live-Blackjazz, the band’s new CD/DVD release, is anything to go by. Recorded at Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo, Live-Blackjazz retains every ounce of Blackjazz‘s intensity as Munkeby and cohorts produce a furious run-through of some of the choicest cuts from the album along with a scattering of earlier tracks and one almighty, and very apt, cover of King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man”. As expected, the live show is staggeringly visceral, with the band never letting its punctilious technicality or tightness hinder the maelstrom of noise and ferocity. For 60 minutes the band teeters on the edge of fragmentation and disintegration, balancing tantalizingly on the edge of a discordant meltdown. Live-Blackjazz is a breathtaking display of barely controlled chaos, and an awe-inspiring example of nonconformist and genuinely rebellious fusion.


Craig Hayes is based in Aotearoa New Zealand, and he is a contributing editor and columnist at PopMatters. Alongside his reviews and feature articles, Craig's monthly column, Ragnarök, traverses the metal spectrum. He is the co-author of PopMatters' regular metal round-up, Mixtarum Metallum, contributes to radio shows and numerous other sites, and he favours music that clangs, bangs, crashes, or drones. Craig can be found losing followers daily on twitter @sixnoises.

Shining - Live-Blackjazz preview
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