Enigmatic doom legends SUNN O))) have announced two new albums. Life Metal, the first due out this April via Southern Lord Recordings. Recorded simultaneously with a second “more meditative” LP dubbed Pyroclasts, both albums created by Steve Albini in parallel, and which will be revealed in autumn 2019. All music performed by Stephen, Greg, T.O.S., Tim Midyett, and Hildur Guðnadóttir. Their first new music in four years will be fully supported by their first US tour since 2017 and the premier US tour of their 2019-2020 season, including stops at The Masonic Lodge in Detroit, Howard Theatre in Washington, DC, Agora Theatre in Cleveland, Rockefeller Chapel in Chicago, The Caves in Pelham, and Brooklyn Steel in Brooklyn. More tour dates coming soon. Watch the album trailer now!
In a new interview with Stereogum Sunn O))) founders Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley discussed the album. Full interview at this link https://www.stereogum.com/2030796/sunn-o-2019-interview/franchises/interview/
STEREOGUM: Is this the first time you’ve recorded tape since the first record?
ANDERSON: It’s the first time where we’ve done all-tape production ever. The very first record [1999’s The Grimmrobe Demos] was done on DAT. And then the second record, which was [2000’s] ØØ Void, was recorded down the street at Grandmaster. It was recorded to tape, but then mixed to DAT.
O’MALLEY: [2009’s] Monoliths And Dimensions we tracked a lot to tape, but not all of it. But this was track to tape, edit on tape. There was no computer. It was Steve Albini’s style, you know? Mixed to tape. And then when we got to the mastering, we had an option to cut the lacquer …
ANDERSON: The lacquer was cut from the tape
O’MALLEY: Right, so that was a first. We didn’t go and say, “oh, we have to keep it analog all the time.” It was just an option that we had. It turned out that there was some other kind of life to it that was appropriate for the music. We actually did a comparison, right?
ANDERSON: We did a test from the digital files, mastering from that, and then mastering from the tape. And it turned out we chose the all-tape route.
STEREOGUM: And you can hear the difference?
ANDERSON: Yeah. I mean, it was super subtle to me. But, like Steve mentioned, it had some extra life to it. “Warmth” is an overused term in describing this thing, but that’s kind of what I felt like. It just had something that felt like it was kind of warm and all encompassing.
STEREOGUM: Are you going to do a cassette version? Make it tape all the way through?
O’MALLEY: We should. I was gonna suggest that, actually, at some point. Thank you.
STEREOGUM: Tell me about the title Life Metal.
ANDERSON: Well it’s a relative of death metal. I’ll just throw that out there. The story’s actually kind of humorous. We were at a party with Nicke Andersson from Hellacopters and Entombed. And he was talking about when Entombed had signed to Columbia Records in the mid-’90s. He started getting calls from his old friends in Norway in the black metal scene saying that he was a sellout and that he was no longer “death metal,” he was “life metal.” And [he was] actually getting death threats, I guess. So we thought that was the most insane thing we’d ever heard, and it kind of became an inside joke with the band. Like, when something, like, not gloom-and-doom was happening, it was “life metal.” A vocalist we work with, Attila [Csihar of Mayhem], was getting really into fitness on tour.
O’MALLEY: Exercising in the morning and stuff instead of being dead in the back of the bus.
ANDERSON: So, he would say, “Hey bros, I’m gonna go do some life metal.” It just became this inside joke among the band. I think the title was also a really accurate description or reflection of the music and also the mindset and the mood of the players on the record. Me and Stephen and Tos [Nieuwenhuizen], the keyboard player, [were] just at a point in our life where things were a different sort of tone and mood. And I think that’s reflected in the playing, which is really the important part. I think that the title reflects the atmosphere of the music.
And really, the artwork for the record and the choices made there with the colors and stuff, it’s very different from our other records which are very … there are a lot of dark [tones] and a lot of blacks and whites and things like that.
O’MALLEY: It’s also related to Venom. They started the whole thing. The descriptive types of metal.
ANDERSON: Black Metal, right.
Life Metal track listing:
1. Between Sleipnir’s Breaths
2. Troubled Air
SUNN O))) is touring in Europe this March, in the US in April and again in September, and again in Europe and the UK in October. See all confirmed dates below and watch for more tour updates to be issued soon.
SUNN O))) Let There Be Drone (Multiple Gains Stages):
2/28/2019 Mousonturm – Frakfurt, DE [info]
3/01/2019 Orpheum – Graz, AT @ Elevate Festival [info]
3/02/2019 Divadlo Archa – Prague, CZ [info]
3/03/2019 Kampnagel – E. Hamburg, DE [info]
3/04/2019 Paradiso – Amsterdam, NL [info]
3/06/2019 L’Epicerie Moderne – Lyon, FR [info]
3/07/2019 L’Autre Canal – Nancy, FR [info]
3/08/2019 La Vapeur – Dijon, FR [info]
3/09/2019 QuasaRites Day/Le 106 – Rouen, FR [info]
3/11/2019 Le Temps Machine – Tours, FR [info]
3/12/2019 Stereolux – Nantes, FR [info]
3/13/2019 La Sirene – La Rochelle, FR [info]
3/14/2019 Le Rocher de Palmer – Bordeaux, FR [info]
4/17/2019 Agora Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
4/18/2019 Masonic – Detroit, MI
4/19/2019 Rockefeller Chapel – Chicago, IL
4/20/2019 The Caverns – Pelham, TN
4/24/2019 Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA
4/25/2019 Brooklyn Steel – Brooklyn, NY
4/26/2019 College Street – New Haven, CT
4/28/2019 The Howard – Washington, DC
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