April 4, 2022
Mark Boals: Photo Thais Boals

We now come to the second album by the Shining Black project that was put together for the amazing American vocalist Mark Boals and the magical Italian guitarist Ölaf Thörsen.

Their self titled debut came out in 2020 and was an instant success being everything that you could ever want from a heavy melodic rock band with the vocals of Boals being so powerful and, as expected, soaring to great heights with Thorsen laying down crunching riffs and as many fluid solos as you could ever wish for. The debut was so solid and well put together being simply so mature that it could have easily been album number 10 rather than the first and this immediate rapport between them indicated that future releases would be every bit as solid and spectacular. Of course, they recruited very well with Thorsen’s fellow Labyrinth band members Oleg Smirnoff on keyboards, Nik Mazzucconi on bass and Matt Peruzzi on bass which meant that there was a relationship already within the band with Boals simply slipping into a well oiled machine!

Olaf Thorsen

The good news is that these three are back again so it is the same team which has allowed the band to pick up where they left off with Postcards From The End Of The World being a seamless transition from the debut. It is well known that Boals nearly became the new Labyrinth singer back in 2014 but was held back by a busy workload which is no surprise when you consider how many bands and projects he has appeared on not least being Ring Of Fire, Royal Hunt and Yngwie Malmsteen. At least Shining Black has allowed the two mercurial musicians to get together and the combination of the classic American singer and the sublime guitarist of Labyrinth and Vision Divine fame has been a match made in heaven.

The ten tracks on the album are all mini epics with sublime musicianship, deft song writing and immense vocals to show just how moving and remarkable heavy melodic rock can be when it is this good. Smirnoff lays down some truly beautiful keyboards over which Thorsen plays the guitar god to great effect with his stunning solos and staggering fifing but all is kept within the framework of the song and not a note is wasted nor is there any hint of excess in anything that he does.

This latest album shows that this is no longer a project but a fully formed and totally relevant band destined to make a big name in the hard rock world and with Boals at the helm how could they do anything else? If you have already got the first album then it is a certainty that you will be getting the new album too as they are a vital and must have band but if you are simply curious to see what Mark Boals is up to these days then prepared to be blown away by this quite simply awesome hard rock release.

Postcards From The End Of The World

  1. Postcards From The End Of The World
  2. Higher Than The World
  3. We Are Death Angels
  4. Summer Solstice Under Delphi’s Sky
  5. Like Leaves In November
  6. A Hundred Thousand Shades Of Black
  7. Faded Pictures Of Me
  8. Mirror Of Time
  9. Fear And Loathing
  10. Time Heals, They Say