Underground music legend Stephen O’Malley is perhaps best known for his work with Drone Metal gods Sunn O))), but has had a hand shaping heavy music in one form or another as an artist, producer, and label owner for three decades. Sunn O)))’s 2019 release Life Metal drew universal acclaim. Stephen has been kind enough to share eleven albums he loved in 2019 with our readers. Some of these albums are not from this year, or even recent decades, but are all albums he vibed with and worth checking out. Continue reading
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
Thorr’s Hammer was a seminal 1990s doom metal band from the pacific northwest/Norway that included Sunn O))) and Goatsnake members Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson. Now former drummer Jamie Sykes, who has been battling several medical conditions, has gotten a preliminary diagnosis of Renal Cell Carcinoma, or a mass on one of his kidneys. Jamie’s family has set up a Gofundme campaign to help with the mounting medical costs. Please help if you can, and if you can’t donate, a simple click of the share button will aid in raising awareness. Continue reading
Long-revered European music festival Roadburn kicks off four days of heavy, avant-garde and challenging music and art experiences in Tilburg, NL. Dutch black metal entity Kjeld has been added to the bill due to Cocatenatus dropping off due to a family situation. In a post, Roadburn founder and creative force Walter Hoeijmakers updated attendees on the last minute changes to the bill. Continue reading
Roadburn 2018 is shaping up to be another incredible festival. In addition to the main lineup of bands, and special programs, Roadburn has announced its Cul de Sac lineup of special bands in Roadburn’s most intimate venue as well as the site of its Pre-Party. The festival takes place, as always, Tilburg, NL between April 19-22 and tickets are expected to sell out as usual. Continue reading
Very few pairings can channel and embrace the art of compelling and near inaudible noise as an art form as Stephen O’Malley and Atilla Csihar of SunnO))) (and Mayhem in the latter’s case). A partnership formed with SunnO))), they have proven to be champions of incredibly dissident and daunting soundscapes within Drone and experimental Ambient musci, in as close to pigeonholing as is possible. Following on from 2007’s debut of alternative project Gravetemple, Impassable Fear (Svart Records) offers yet another snapshot into their striking vision. Continue reading
Ghost Cult once again brings you “End Of Year” lists, memories, and other shenanigans from our favorite bands, partners, music industry peers, and other folks we respect across the world. Today we are honored to have Mamiffer co-leader Faith Coloccia who shares her eclectic list with us. If you aren’t familiar with Faith’s musical output or any of her other endeavours (she’s a baddass renaissance woman) look her up!
Norwegian rock pioneers Årabrot have announced a full European tour, including a run of UK tour dates in anticipation of their forthcoming album The Gospel (Fysisk Format), releasing February 26th.
Årabrot frontman Kjetil Nernes comments:
“Årabrot on the road 2016 – in search of something to fill the void – is the culmination of everything the band have done so far and definitely introduces the strongest lineup to date. Beware!”
Nernes also commented on writing the album while undergoing treatment for malignant throat cancer last year:
“The theme of the Gospel is a vision of the lonely warrior on a summit looking out over a battle field, the smoke from the bomb craters, an all-encompassing silence. The war was against one self; against the ugliness, against the sickness. You sink to the bottom of the sea. All of a sudden you are back on the surface again, stupefied. And hungry! A wicked hunger for everything human life has to offer: Sex! War! Drugs! You breathe, but not like before. “The man who has been in hell never forget’”
The Gospel was partly recorded at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio in Chicago and partly in the old church in the woods of Dalarna, Sweden. The album features the band and some stellar guest performances from Ted Parsons (Swans, Killing Joke, Jesu, Prong), Andrew Liles (Current 93/Nurse With Wound), Stephen O’Malley (SunnO))/KTL), Erlend Hjevik (Singer, Kvelertak), Emil Nikolaisen (Serena Maneesh 4AD), and Kristoffer Lo (Highasakite/Trondheim Jazz Orchestra).
Kjetil Nernes – vocals, EGCs, synths
Milton von Krogh – guitars
Magnus Nymo – drums
Lasse Marhaug – noise
Johannes Høie – art
Karin Park – vocals, electric piano, synths
Årabrot European tour dates:
Mar 04: Nalen, Stockholm, SE
Mar 05: Smedjan, Go: enburg, SE
Mar 08: Urban spree, Berlin, DE
Mar 09: Arena, Wien, AT
Mar 10: FreakOut, Bologna, IT
Mar 11: Traffic, Roma, IT
Mar 12: Lo-Fi, Milano, IT
Mar 13: L´ Usine, Geneve, CH
Mar 15: Magasin 4, Bruxelles, BE
Mar 16: dB´s, Utrecht, NL
Mar 17: Corsica Studios, London, UK
Mar 18: Lost @ B-Arts, Stoke-On-Trent, UK
Mar 19: Nice n Sleazy, Glasgow, UK
Mar 20: Chunk, Leeds, UK
Mar 22: Instant Chavires, Paris, FR
Mar 23: Accueil Froid Nuke, Amiens, FR
Mar 24: The Pit´s, Kortrijk, BE
Mar 26: Iparragirre, Gernika, ES
Mar 27: Ahotsgora, Gasteiz, ES
Mar 28: Antiguos Almacenes de la Mina, Udias, ES
Mar 29: Liceo Mutante, Pontevedra, ES
Mar 30: Lata de Zinc, Oviedo, ES
Mar 31: Orbeko Etxea – Llodio, Pais Vasco, ES
Apr 01: Ocho y Medio, Alicante, ES
Apr 02: La Residencia, Valencia, ES
Apr 03: Velvet, Malaga, ES
Apr 05: Inciviczone, Barcelona, ES
Apr 06: Grnnd Zero, Lyon, FR
Apr 07: Gaswerk, Winter: ur, CH
Apr 08: Hühnermanhattan Klub, Halle, DE
Jun 4: Temples Festival, Bristol UK
Including the LTD LP box version and the new 7″ on Sheep Chase.
Tickets where applicable www.arabrot.com
Årabrot on Facebook
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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Immediately Ensemble Pearl‘s self-titled debut has a lot to live up to. A project consisting of luminaries such as Stephen O’Malley (Sunn 0)))), Atsuo (Boris), Michio Kurihara (Ghost) and Bill Herzog (Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter) is going to inspire not only an instantaneous following from fans of avant-garde metal, but also very high expectations. Thankfully though the collective skill and musicianship on display here means that Ensemble Pearl doesn’t disappoint, though it may come as a big shock to some. Continue reading