Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sunn O)))

Sunn 0)))
Monoliths and Dimensions
Purchase album here

When it comes to Sunn 0))), we usually know what we are getting even before the first notes of the albums transpire. These kings of black-cloaked drone play heavy music and do so in two fashions, very slow and extremely loud. On nearly every recording, Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley unleash a sub-sonic attack on the eardrums with notes so low that we, as mere mortals, never knew they existed, that is until the fillings in our back molars rattle loose and our heads throb from the reverberation. Though not every one's cup of tea, Sunn 0))) has developed a very strong following that spans across the spectrum from lovers of heavy rock and metal, to noise, to experimental jazz nerds.
With their new album and seventh release, Monoliths and Dimensions, Anderson and O'Malley expand the Sunn 0))) sound and add more dimensions to the overall picture with the addition of strings, brass, and vocal arrangements. Not that they are changing much about their sound or getting soft on us however, because this is most definitely a Sunn 0))) album in all its glory, complete with a massive sound and dark overtones. Opening the album up in great form, "Agartha" features the classic Anderson and O'Malley calling card: down-tuned chords that seem to last for an eternity and are best consumed at an extremely high volume setting. This foreboding tale of the legendary city that lies at the Earth's core, features Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar with a primal monologue that seems to be evoking some sort of prophecy from the old world that will open a direct vortex to this Land of the Living Gods. Csihar, who has worked with such black metal greats as Tormentor and Mayhem, brings forth a guttural and damn right creepy vocal performance throughout the entire album that makes Vincent Price seem like a Sunday school teacher and is highly appropriate for the dark imagery being painted by both Anderson and O'Malley. "Big Church" could easily be a long lost gem straight out of the Omen or 2001: A Space Odessy soundtrack repertoire, and features Earth's Dylan Carlson on guitar, a Viennese women's choir, and composer Eyvid Kang with brass and string arrangements, all of which add their own crucial layer to the mix. Despite several guests on this album, Kang seems to have the biggest contribution, with his string and brass work that sets Monoliths and Dimensions apart from the rest of the Sunn 0))) catalog.
This album is both brutal and beautiful; heavy as hell and scary as shit. It is the perfect accompaniment for a stormy night, a dark drive in the country, and a night alone with only candles burning. A word to the wise, however: when listening to Monoliths and Dimensions, don't let your mind play tricks on you, for it is only an album and the sounds you are hearing emit only from your speakers. Or do they? -Andrew Bryant

No comments: