Secrecy surrounds the release of Sunn O)))‘s latest opus Life Metal (Southern Lord Records), aimed for a limited release on Record Store Day. Who can blame them? With albums by megastars falling victim to hacks and illegal leaks, it’s frustrating but somewhat understandable to be reviewing a product after it’s initial release. Whatever the strategy an epic journey is guaranteed and, with four tracks spanning seventy minutes, the album doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Continue reading
It’s a staggering yet frequent reoccurrence: the hardest music to explain, often due to an apparent lack of infectious hook or because of the fact that little is actually happening, sees its orchestrators revered with an almost pathological devotion. Such is the case, of course, with US Drone gods Sunn O))). An overwhelming crush of Ambient noise, their worshippers hang onto every note, every sparing chime, as if it were a word from the heavens: their live shows remarkable for an inhuman level of sonic pain; each new recorded output more of an event, an experience, than a mere album or EP.
Latest full-length Kannon (Southern Lord) evolves in three movements, the first a sequence of pedal-strewn, cosmic, soaring chords. Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley take turns in expanding the eerie yet soothing soundscapes whilst positively terrifying guttural sounds emanate from the mouth of Mayhem’s Attila Csihar. Save for the brief introduction of didgeridoo and the atmospheric air coursing through this fifteen-minute opener, not much else of note occurs: yet it is inexplicably euphoric, haunting, muscle tightening; a spiritual epiphany which the guys conduct with almost superhuman understanding and control.
The opening chords of ‘Kannon 2’, just as economical, are nevertheless more ‘fuzzed’ and allowed to howl over an almost undetectable bass resonance. Chilling chants are intoned across a throbbing, fulminating body in an almost mournful yet Zen-like expression of emotion: an overtone of synthesised harmonics adding a barely recognisable sense of intrigue to an already hypnotic, captivating sound.
If ‘…2’ is the lament, ‘Kannon 3’ is the grave ascension. A similar structure sees that minimalist riff spike and clash with horrific anger, whilst the chanting bass voices become more sinister yet, paradoxically, reverberating to the verge of messianic celebration: a triumphal, fearful tribute to a returning, victorious tyrant. The intermittent Blackened roars, terrifying yet beatific, are both the counterpoint and the embodiment of the ability to stir and surprise while retaining control of an almost unbearably slow pace.
Masters of their sphere, legends of the galaxies, Kannon sees Sunn O))) display every shimmering ounce of their resplendent power.
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Epic doom band SUNN O))) is streaming their entire new album Kannon, out this Friday via Southern Lord. You can hear the album at this link:
The band has also made available and entire set to stream live as well at Boiler Room TV here:
Kannon had a limited white vinyl Record Store Day release last Friday, but will see official worldwide release on gatefold LP, CD and digital formats this Friday. Order the album directly via the SUNN O))) store here, at Southern Lord here, at Bandcamp here.
The band is planning many live rituals in 2016, but has announced a brief tour of Australia already. Tickets are on sale now.
SUNN O))) Australian Tour Dates:
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