Swedish black metal force Shining has been described with many adjectives in the band's 19-year history. Some call Shining "suicidal" black metal, while others label the band as "depressive" black metal or "misanthropic" black metal. Infamous vocalist Niklas Kvarforth has never subscribed to any such label, which is why this track-by-track breakdown on Shining's ninth studio album, IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends, is best described in Kvarforth's own words.

Covered in knife wound scars and cigarette burns, Niklas Kvarforth's dedication to self-destruction is unmatched. Shining's music reflects the dark place where Kvarforth's mind resides, while the goal of Shining's mastermind is to drag you into that unknown territory. Despite this, much of Shining's music is eerily beautiful, as is the poetry Kvarforth weaves into his music -- both in English and Swedish.

Part Nine of Shining's sonic lineage won't be available until April 20, but we've got the exclusive track-by-track breakdown of IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends, written by Niklas Kvarforth himself:

“Den Påtvingade Tvåsamheten” / “Being Forced Into Twosomeness,” or the transformation of Mrs. Selina, as seen through the eyes of a madman, is the first ever real “Intro” we have ever recorded. The idea of re-arranging this particular melody, however, has actually been tried out on several occasions before. The first time being during the Livets Ändhållplats sessions back in 2001. Yet, I never felt truly content with how any of these attempts had turned out and I therefore put the project on hold until it came back to haunt me when working on this new album. In retrospect, I think the wait was a necessity, and also a kind of personal statement that all past obstacles have now been conquered and destroyed.

“Vilja & Dröm” / “Will & Dream”
is clearly stained by the compulsive need for retribution and revenge, which was, without a doubt, the main driving-force when writing this album. And, just as with the opening track on the Klagopsalmer album, this frustration and absolute need for instant bloodshed resulted in a musically uncompromising and hostile approach which forewarns the listener of the pitch-black darkness that will follow.  Although that very darkness will take on shapes of both a known and an unknown nature, be warned.

Following similar paths as several other “ballads” of ours, “Framtidsutsikter” / “Future Prospects” melds all of them together into an epic journey in a downward spiral. Coincidence and the pure joy of creating something horrible was what made this song into what it is. Relying on a pulsating vibe of hopelessness and despair, the song is almost unbearable for me personally to listen to, which will make things extremely interesting when performed live, and will also probably be considered as one of the darker turns in our two decades long career. All Hail Misery!

“Människotankens Vägglösa Rum” / “Human Thoughts, A Room Without Walls,” or, to be more precise, the opening riff, is what had me erupt in a maniacal outburst of creativity when Euge sent it to me on a Monday morning not too long ago, thereby breaking a lengthy writer's block I thought would never end, and resulting in the album you [will] hold in your hands. Lyrically, and somewhat musically, it is a perfect mirror-image of the schizophrenic nature that is Shining. 

Usually the fifth song on a Shining album is by tradition a strictly instrumental one, but because of the opening track also being wordless, “Inga Broar Kvar Att Bränna” / “No More Bridges Left To Burn” ended up becoming more of a “real” song instead. The desperation explored within its lyrical content is, as many probably know, the basic formula which has been used in times of no influence and no inspiration. A strategy which throughout the years has resulted in many of the problems within, and around, the band.

The album closes with “Besök Från I(ho)nom” / “A Visit From WitHi(m)n,” which is an idea I’ve been working on for several years. Therefore there are several nods to more or less every era of the band, however, in my opinion, executed in a completely new way. Surprisingly the easiest song to record, but maybe the hardest to digest. It speaks of an invisible, yet very present, horror, the holiest of saints, the one I bleed for and the one you are commanded to worship. The end of all.

Shining's IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends will be available April 20. To pre-order the album and various IX bundles, click here.