8 ½ – Feberdrömmar I Vaket Tillstånd is not your average Shining album; in fact, it’s a little bit special. The six tracks it contains are rerecordings of older material from their Angst, självdestruktivitetens emissarie and Livets ändhållplats albums, reworked using six different vocalists – Famine, Attila Csihar, Pehr Larsson, Gaahl, Maniac and the band’s own vocalist, Kvarforth. What’s great about this album is that it could be viewed as both a celebration of the band’s early material, and how much they have progressed since then.
One of the great things about this album is the repeating themes weaving throughout all the tracks, and the six tracks gel together in such a way that you wouldn’t have any clue that they originally began life on separate albums. In fact, the whole album just feels like one entity, a continuous long track exploring many different paths and ideas – from the noisiness and distorted guitars of Terres Des Anonymes, to the more melodic Ett Liv Utan Mening and the haunting keyboards of closing track Through Corridors Of Oppression.
In particular, Ett Liv Utan Mening really stands out from the crowd. The opening chords are wonderfully gloomy and lead perfectly into the main body of the track, with the distorted wall of guitars and vocals having a wonderfully dark and mysterious-sounding tone to them. In particular, the drums in this one really stand out in the best possible way, and as a whole the track is easily the best one of the album.
As with all black metal releases, there is the case of the sound quality not exactly being top-notch, but one thing that’s very interesting to note is there’s a good clean and polished sound on top of the distortion – it really does feel like these old tracks have been polished up in addition to them being rerecorded!
This album is a must-have for any black metal fan.