Monday, 15 April 2013

Shinin' Shade - Sat-Urn (album review)

Cover artwork by Matteo Tumulash
Shinin' Shade is one of those crazy bands that are hard to pin down.  They incorporate elements of doom and stoner rock into a sixties prog psych foundation, or is that the other way around?  It seems the more of this kind of music you listen to the harder it is to identify anything you hear afterwards.  It's all just heavy music, which is fine by me ... as long as it sounds good.

Opening number "Our Time & Space" sets a strong precedent that is observed time and again to immense effect.  Pendulous, teasingly slow riffs wrap around megalithic drumming to open up onto vistas of pure psychedelic grooviness.  The next thing one will notice is the singing.  Jane Esther-Collins vocals are deep but feminine, loud and effortless, sometimes reminiscent of Uta Plotkin of Witch Mountain but with a lighter touch.  There are moments, particularly during the last bit of lead-off single "Keyhole / Inner Saturn", that are nothing short of breathtaking.  The way she holds a powerful note as the band moves behind her like the hidden triggers for booby traps in an ancient, cobwebbed tomb or mausoleum ... well, it's something really special.

Don't think for a minute though that this album won't put your head on the butcher's block.  One may tend to read the phrases "lighter touch" and "psychedelic grooviness" and conjure images of structure-less guitar noodling full of endlessly ringing notes locked in glimmering circles.  Not bad, at the proper moment that kind of thing can be absolutely perfect, but not always powerful.  Shinin' Shade are a heavy, heavy band, menacing and indeed powerful. Their compositions are full and never meandering, though the songs are often on the longish side, there's very little breathing room within them, they are focused, dizzying and dazzlingly heavy, dynamic and shine like a ritual knife blade in the candle light.  In fact, it's not until we get to the end of the penultimate track, "Denied Lovers", that the band takes its first meandering breather with an instrumental psychedelic sound painting that bridges feelwise into album closer "Epic Talking".

Each of the seven tracks on 'Sat-Urn' are weighty and substantial, leaving the listener with the impression that a satisfying astral journey has taken place.  A journey to Steve Ditkoan non-physical planes, unseen before the naked eye but known intuitively to be in front of the listener's face all along.

Photo by Alessia Leporati.
Shinin' Shade's second full length is heavier, tighter and tougher than I had anticipated going in.  I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.  I wasn't sure of what to expect when I first approached this album, but I came into it with an open mind.  The sound this band can evoke is akin to the awakening of an enormous slumbering idiot god floating dreamlessly in deepest space.  Rumbling, quaking and orbited by suns that appear as shattered looking glass fragments by scale.

Highlights include: "Our Time and Space" and "Over-Sea Nightmares"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 48:06

Jane Esther-Collins - Vocals
Allen Kramer - Guitar, Mellotron
Mek Jefrey - Guitar, Vocals
Roger Davis - Bass
Mike De Chirico - Drums

From: Parma, Italy

Genre: Doom, Psychedelic

Reminds me of: Alunah, Seremonia, Witch Mountain

Release Date: March 25, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: The Ancient One directs your soul to the Nightmare dimension only for it to get vacuumed into and stuck inside the Negative Zone.

Better Review:
Welcome to the Void in Greek
Ech(((o))) and Dust

Shinin' Shade facebook

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