Samael, Shining and Yoth Iria – B90

Last Saturday night marked the kickoff of the Mystic 2024 season with Samael as the headliner. But it would be a mistake to dismiss the 2 support bands as Shining hit the spot with a jaw-dropping Jazz Metal performance, and Yoth Iria cranked up the energy levels, turning the venue into a pulsating powerhouse.

Experiencing something entirely new for me at a metal gig, I was treated to a saxophone solo. While I wouldn’t label myself a jazz aficionado given the vastness of the genre, what Shining delivered was pure musical alchemy. It wasn’t merely tossing a sax into the metal mix; it was a seamless fusion of jazz and metal, a musical symbiosis. The band exuded an unmistakable jazz spirit.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Jazz and Metal; Shining, hailing from Oslo, are the avant-garde architects of Blackjazz. Formed in ’99 as a humble jazz quartet, they swiftly wove elements of progressive rock, free jazz, and black metal into their music. Critics praise their music as both “cerebral” and “visceral,” and rightly so. Shining have earned a dedicated cult following and a reputation as one of the most innovative and unpredictable bands in contemporary music.

It was not just a musical spectacle, Shining’s frontman, Jørgen Munkeby, was a charismatic dynamo exuding positivity. The audience was swept away by his infectious energy, making the performance an immersive experience.

I’ve found myself captivated and completely immersed in the unique music crafted by Shining, a band that feels like a jazz quartet on a testosterone-fueled journey. I had the same emotions than I have felt during some jazz gigs I attended. The same surprises and joy.

Then came Samael, stepping onto the stage amidst a cascade of applause, clearly feeling the Polish love. This wasn’t their first Polish rendezvous, as they even dropped a live album recorded in Krakow in the past. Their gig was a two-part rollercoaster through the annals of Samael’s discography.

The first half was a time capsule, a wild ride through the iconic “Passage” album. Nearly thirty years later, the raw power of the music stood the test of time. Samael dove into the setlist with an unwavering intensity, as if the years in between were a mere illusion. The second half was a journey, a testament to the band’s evolution. The fusion of old favorites showcased Samael’s musical prowess, reaffirming their enduring impact on the metal scene.

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