Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shining - Submit to Selfdestruction (1998)

Released in May 1998, Submit to Selfdestruction is the first official offering from Sweden's Shining. This E.P. contain two songs of Depressive Suicidal Black Metal, according to many. It would be difficult to really label this as Black Metal, considering the total absence of any sort of evil or Satanic vibe. This would be better described as Dark Metal or even blackened Doom, before putting it into the same category as such albums as Under the Sign of the Black Mark, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas or Under a Funeral Moon.

Musically, this bears some similarities to the works of actual Black Metal bands. One can easily detect influences from Burzum and Strid, though the most notable inspiration for this had to be Bethlehem. The vocals, in particular, seem to try mimicking the type of tortured screams found on Dictius Te Necare, or even Varg's early releases. This is also, probably, the weakest element of the entire release. Niklas's performance is laughable, failing to convey any real feeling, and coming off as very childish and pathetic. The material features a lot of tremolo riffing with slow-paced drumming underneath. This really has nothing to do with any other Swedish band, taking a good deal of influence from the Norwegians, instead. There are parts that include clean guitar and spoken word passages, which is an obvious nod to the band's German heroes. The two songs of this release are not very good, but they have their moments. "Endless Solitude" boasts a mournful guitar melody, late in the song, that is actually kind of memorable. The title track is less engaging, until things slow down during the latter half. Even then, it fails to truly pull the listener down into a realm of utter misery and sorrow.

Regarding the production, it is really poor and serves as a detriment to the music. The already-weak vocals are buried in the mix, though that may have been to hide just how awful they were. In addition, the percussion is much to high and distracts from the guitar melodies. For something that was attempting to be a part of the Black Metal movement, there is no excuse for the guitar to be taking a secondary role while the bass and drums are featured so prominently. More or less, everything is able to be heard, but the lack of emphasis on the guitar limits the potential that this effort possessed.

Submit to Selfdestruction is an average E.P. that is fairly consistent in its inability to create a really sombre atmosphere. One can clearly see what Shining was going for, but they were way off the mark with this one. The material presented here displays no sense of originality or sincerity; rather, this is merely the product of children that were trying to imitate other bands that they liked with no real understanding of how to create something meaningful. Avoid this band, altogether.