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Music / Shining

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They really hate the world...

"Shining Hates You Exclusively."
— Back cover from Within Deep Dark Chambers

Shining is a well known Black Metal project that formed around 1996 in Halmstad, Sweden. The band is known for its vocalist and remaining original member Niklas Kvarforth, who's infamous for his lyrical themes of suicide, self harm, depression, and his overall misanthropic beliefs.

Having coined the name, they are often considered one of the best known bands of the DSBM (or "depressive/suicidal black metal") subgenre of black metal despite Niklas being heavily against the term due to later bands using it as a means of therapy instead of harming their listeners.

Not to be confused with the novel by Stephen King, as well as the movies, as Kvarforth has stated are not influenced by the band name. Same with the video game series. Or with the Norwegian Progressive Metal band also called Shining (which started out as jazz before passing through Progressive Rock), as they often are.


  • Niklas Kvarforth - Vocals, guitars, keyboards
  • Peter Huss - Guitar
  • Alex Friberg - Bass
  • Charles Hedger - Guitar
  • Nicholas Barker - Drums
  • Tuomas Tahvanainen - Keyboards

Core Discography:

  • I. Within Deep Dark Chambers (2000)
  • II. Livets ändhållplats (Life's Last Stop) (2001)
  • III. Angst - Självdestruktivitetens emissarie (Anxiety - The Emissary of Self-Destruction) (2002)
  • IV. The Eerie Cold (2005)
  • V. Halmstad (2007) note 
  • VI. Klagopsalmer (Hymns of Lament) (2009)
  • VII. Född förlorare (Born Loser) (2011)
  • Redefining Darkness (2012)
  • IX. Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends (2015)
  • X. Varg utan flock (Wolf Without a Pack) (2018)
  • Shining (2023)

Lots of Tropers Gonna Get Hurt...

  • Anti-Love Song: "Tillsammans är vi allt", which comes off as this, but actually is a love song, in the means of self destruction.
  • Arc Number: Six, every album has six tracks in total. Whether this is referencing the Number of the Beast is up in the air.
    • Five as well: Every fifth track after the third album (with the exception of IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends) is an electronic-based track, lighter than the rest of the album, or even just an instrumental.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Majority of the time either the album title and songs are Swedish based.
  • Black Metal: Depressive/Suicidal Black Metal.
    • Though they themselves dislike this term, and arguably there hasn't been anything black metal about their sound for several albums now apart from the occasional tremolo picking. One could say they're Progressive Metal with weird vocals now.
  • Boléro Effect: "Mot Aokigahara" more or less takes this form. It starts off as a fairly gentle song that would be more typical of someone like Joy Division or Pink Floyd (the guitar solo is very Gilmour-esque) before building to the expected metal climax. On the other hand, it doesn't keep the same melodic elements all the way through, and it does transition somewhat suddenly to metal, so it's not a completely straight example (but when it does go into the metal passage, it is just a metal version of the previous section, and the previous passage was so creepy that it won't really provide really much of a surprise when the transition happens).
  • Breather Episode: Any fifth track off of an album can be this, whether being an acoustic song or just an instrumental in general.
    • Averted with Within Deep Dark Chambers and Livets ändhållplats (though the second track on the latter of these albums fulfils a similar function), as well as IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends, on which it is switched to the first track.
  • Brown Note: The band's music is allegedly intended as this. It's supposed to induce listeners to commit suicide. Whether it actually succeeds at this (or indeed, whether the band is even telling the truth about this being the intention) is another matter. (For that matter, whether people even find their music depressing can vary - some people find a lot of their work starting at around The Eerie Cold or Halmstad to be energising.)
  • Call-Back: The song title "Besvikelsens dystra monotoni" reappears in the lyrics to "Mot Aokigahara".
  • Chronological Album Title: Somewhat. Every album after Livets ändhållplats started having a Roman numeral. Averted however with Redefining Darkness, to which Niklas stated they would be dismissing the numbering system. Then when the ninth album was announced the numbering system came back.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Starting with III. Angst - Självdestruktivitetens emissarie (and again, with the exception of IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends), the fifth track.
    • Same can be said with the Roman numeral system.
    • Every last one of their albums has six songs (unless there are bonus tracks, which aren't counted as part of the album proper).
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Niklas Kvarforth is usually seen as this, due to his stage antics and overall concept of life.
  • Cover Album: 8 ½ - Feberdrömmar i vaket tillstånd, which is just a cover album of Shining songs which includes Gaahl and Maniac and Attila.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The band's entire shtick.
  • Driven to Suicide: Inflicting this on the listener is the (supposed) goal of the band's music.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Kvarforth's vocals on Within Deep Dark Chambers and Livets ändhållplats were higher and more early black metal inspired screams. Around the third onwards, his vocals began to establish the style that it has today.
    • The band's first demo Submit to Selfdestruction can be considered this as well. For one thing, Niklas doesn't do vocals on this one; instead, he did guitars and bass, while another member named "Robert" had singing duties. It wasn't until the release of Within Deep Dark Chambers that Niklas had singing duties.
    • Also, the tradition of the fifth song being an instrumental or otherwise lighter in content hadn't yet been established on the band's first two albums (granted, this tradition was also broken on the ninth album). On the second album, the gentle instrumental is the second track.
  • Epic Rocking: They seem do this this several times. Their song length is usually around a six-ten minute mark. Examples can be "And Only Silence Remains..." (10:51), "Ännu ett steg närmare total utfrysning" (10:22), the title track of Livets ändhållplats (9:21), "Mörda dig själv..." (9:08), "Besvikelsens dystra monotoni" (10:04), "Mot Aokigahara" (9:33), etc. Their longest track is "Total utfrysning", which runs for 16:47.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Niklas Kvarforth will shamelessly hand out razor blades to his fans and claims that he intends to use his music to drive its listeners to suicide, but he won't watch South Park because he thinks it's "too obscene."
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Niklas. While he doesn't have a huge deep voice, when he starts singing, it's creepy.
    • Guttural Growler: He also fits this when he starts doing a deep growl.
    • "Mot Aokigahara" has several spoken-word passages where Niklas' voice is also almost incomprehensibly low-pitched.
  • Expy: Some fans see Niklas like GG Allin; the only difference is that Niklas isn't as controversial as GG and he doesn't have the obsessions that GG had.
    • Discussed in an interview later on when he is asked if he relates to Allin. Kvarforth simply responds with "GG Allin is a genius; I'm not."
    • Honestly, there's a bit of similarity between Niklas' (supposed) philosophy and Euronymous'.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Of a sort. "Mot Aokigahara" refers to Aokigahara, a mountain (青木ヶ原) which has a historical reputation for being home to yūrei (幽霊, literally "faint spirits", i.e., ghosts) and has become a notorious suicide destination in recent years.note  It's sometimes also known as the Sea of Trees (樹海, Jukai).
  • Harsh Vocals: In spades, though they're often fairly atypical of black metal. Frequently, Kvarforth somehow manages to combine this trope with singing.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Niklas invokes this. YMMV and such, Niklas has stated in an interview that he loves life, but hates everything around him because he is a misanthrope, hence why he writes the music Shining bases itself on.
  • I Am the Band: Niklas is the only remaining original member of the band, and is the sole controlling force of it.
  • Jerkass: Niklas Kvarforth, who seeks to hurt his listeners with his music. There's also the fact he's happy to know his music has influenced some fans to kill themselves.
    • The interpretation of Niklas usually is a YMMV; see Alternative Character Interpretation.
  • Kill All Humans: The music's purpose. Not that it really does that.
  • Large Ham: Niklas for some. Putting aside the heavy controversial image he built himself, the guy is a riot both when listening to him and on stage. His vocals are easily some of the hammiest in all of black metal, which is saying a lot.
  • Mad Artist: Niklas actively cultivates this image.
  • Madness Mantra: From "Manipulation Mass":
  • New Sound Album: Starting with the release of III. Angst - Självdestruktivitetens emissarie, Shining became less early-black metal influenced and started developing the style they have today.
  • Progressive Metal: Progressive Black Metal, for some. Probably best demonstrated on Född förlorare, which features a cover of Swedish Progressive Rock group Landberk and otherwise demonstrates greater progressive tendencies than many of their other releases.
    • Taken up to eleven with the release of IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends.
  • Revolving Door Band: As stated, the only original member remaining of the band is Niklas Kvarforth.
  • Sampling: Quite a lot of it, including Christina Ricci from Prozac Nation and Christian Bale from American Psycho. A possibly incomplete list:
    • "Någonting är jävligt fel" samples Ginger Snaps (2000).
    • "The Eerie Cold (Samvetskvalens Ballad)" samples She's So Lovely (1997).
    • "Claws of Perdition" samples American Psycho (2000).
    • "Yttligare ett steg närmare total jävla utfrysning" samples a voice reading an excerpt of the poem "Antigonish" by William Hughes Mearns (incidentally, this excerpt is also the source of the name of the film The Man Who Wasn't There).
    • "Låt oss ta allt från varandra" and possibly other songs on Halmstad sample Prozac Nation (2001).
    • "Total utfrysning" samples the documentary film Ett anständigt liv (1979) by Stefan Jarl.
    • "Vilseledda barnasjälars hemvist" samples an unknown female voice (later said by Peter Huss to be a friend's daughter in a Q&A) singing an excerpt of "You Are My Sunshine", a 1930s standard written by Jimmie Davis and Carl Mitchell.
  • Rock Me, Amadeus!: "Åttiosextusenfyrahundra" is a retitled version of Ludwig van Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata with Kvarforth gently humming in the background.
  • Shout-Out: It's not entirely clear if this is intentional, but the album 8 ½ - Feberdrömmar i vaket tillstånd may have been made at least partially as a shout-out to the film . Niklas seems to be a pretty big fan of cinema. (In a bizarre coincidence, the Norwegian Shining has also made a reference to 8 ½: the song title "Asa Nisi Masa" comes from the film.)
  • Song Style Shift: Their longer songs often have several of them. "Total utfrysning" in particular has at least four discrete movements (given that it's almost seventeen minutes long, of course, it'd almost have to).
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Usually, the fifth song on an album. On Livets ändhallplåts, it's the second song instead, and on IX. Everyone, Everywhere, Everything, Ends, it's the first.
  • Take That! / Take That, Audience!: The music to a listener. Also the quote above was on the back of the booklet for Within Deep Dark Chambers.
    • Debated with the track "FFF" from VII. Född förlorare, which is a tribute song to Niklas' mother who passed away at the beginning of 2010, which is more of Niklas is saying his mother should have never created him.
  • Troll: At one point: Around 2006, Niklas had "disappeared", making fans think he really did kill himself. The band stated Niklas had indeed disappeared and they were continue the band with a new vocalist named "Ghoul", under the wishes of Niklas. However it was revealed during a concert in February of 2007 that Ghoul was indeed Kvarforth. The events of the concert after that was revealed were....controversial.
  • Vocal Evolution: As stated, Niklas' vocals before were based on normal black metal standards, but evolved to a more understandable and standard style. See Early Installment Weirdness and Evil Sounds Deep.