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Shining Black - Shining Black

Shining Black
Shining Black
by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 31 July 2020, 4:51 AM

SHINING BLACK is Melodic Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band project from Olaf Thorsen and Mark Boals. For people that don’t know, Mark Boals was one the 156 singers for Yngwie Malmsteen and sang on ‘’Trilogy’’, ‘’Alchemy’’ and ‘’War to End All Wars’’. He is also the lead singer of DIO DISCIPLES, a cover band with past members of Ronnie James Dio’s band, celebrating his life in music. As for Olaf Thorsen, he is one of the founding members of LABYRINTH, a Progressive Power Metal powerhouse that was a quintessential influence on many bands throughout the last two decades in the genre. Somehow time seem to have forgotten about this highly underrated band unfortunately.

It’s safe to say that both artists crossed paths in LABYRINTH when Mark Boals was their lead singer between 2014 and 2016. So this album is a longtime coming and truly a collaborative effort (alongside some session musicians obviously) 4 years in the making. I know that both artists have had a very busy 2020 with their various bands so it’s always a treat for any listener out there to have such an album pop-up out of nowhere. Frontiers Music have a tendency to create supergroups or even duos (like ALLEN-OLZON, LIONE-CONTI or even KISKE-SOMERVILLE) and have had some success creating something out of nothing. It’s collaborations sometimes you don’t think of and the results do vary but are usually quite good.

Mark Boals’ soaring vocals are on point, not bad for someone that has been belting out for more than 4 decades. He delivers in a way that shows his talent while respecting the ensemble and what Olaf Thorsen brings to the table. He has a very dramatic feel to this vocals and adds so much dynamism to the songs. Even though I really wasn’t fond of both ballads on this album and they were quite one-dimensional, they aren’t too cheesy thankfully. He really shines with his explosive vocal melodies especially on ‘’The House of the Fallen Souls’’ and ‘’Shining Black’’. Those were two standout songs for me and they really flourish.

Overall this album is a very solid offering by the high standards of both artists. It harkens back to the sound of their past bands while adding some modern touches and it largely success at its ambitious goals. It’s not quite the front-to-back compelling listen I was hoping for but it has several standout tracks and it works as a whole as well.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The House of the Fallen Souls
2. The Boogeyman
3. My Life
4. A Sad Song
5. Shining Black
6. Just Another Day
7. Where are your Gods
8. The Carousel
9. They Day We Said Goodbye
10. We Fall
Olaf Thorsen – Guitars
Mark Boals – Vocals
Record Label: Frontiers Music


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