One One One

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For any Shining listener seeking the mind-warping expansiveness of Blackjazz, the band's 2010 studio breakthrough, One One One will again surprise, but not in the way one might expect. Blackjazz was a one of a kind; an album the Norway ensemble had been building toward since 2005's In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster, when they still considered themselves a jazz band. It was a monolith, full of suite-like exercises that melded free jazz, speed, prog metal, punk, sludge, and post-rock with seeming ease. By contrast, One One One is seemingly a step back from that precipice. After all, any further travels in the previous direction would merely be repetitious for a band that has never indulged in that kind of laziness. This is, for all intent purposes, a "rock" record, though one unlike any other. To take all the musicianship under this band's hood and channel it all into a modern rock setting takes considerable discipline -- if not restraint, since there is little of that -- is no mean feat. Opener "I Won't Forget," with its whomping tom-toms, head-charging bassline, and off-the-rails guitar chug, at times suggests Motörhead's "Ace of Spades" in the verse, while becoming something almost totally other in its angularity in the refrains and bridge. Even frontman Jørgen Munkeby's lyrics recall Lemmy's. That said, the spiraling saxophone amid the wall of guitar and keyboard noise is all Shining. "My Dying Drive" somehow manages to channel Nine Inch Nails, King Crimson, and Mars Volta simultaneously, yet careens off into a maelstrom of extreme, original rock. The focused thrash riffing on "Blackjazz Rebels" seems to refute the earlier albums accomplishments, but the striated moments of cacophony and counterpoint in the chorus remind us just what it actually revealed. "How Your Story Ends" touches on everything from Peter Brötzmann and Last Exit to metalcore and Motörhead in a tune that carries a defining riff and nearly melodic center with the cleanest vocals on the set. One One One may not win back those who sought merely an extension of Blackjazz, but for those who've been following the band since the beginning, this rockist date will prove another welcome addition to a catalog rife with surprise and focus with nuanced chaos added purposefully, even in this more easily definable direction.

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