Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions

Sunn O))) are an anomaly, their protagonists Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson throughout their years have sculpted an almost indefinable sound, a sound that is just so unparalleled that it will remain shrouded in mystery. But it’s this mystery and perhaps will to make the listener ponder that has kept the droning soundscapes of Sunn O))) alive and well.
To those unfamiliar with Sunn O))), they began as an Earth tribute band but then morphed into a wholly independent drone entity, collaborating with many extreme metal names that are fun to drop, most notably and numerously current Mayhem vocalist Attila Csihar.

When at one of the band’s gig and you’re actually advised to bring ear plugs you know you are in for an experience. And “experience” is exactly how you would describe the art of Sunn O))), it’s something quite perplexing and make you even ask “what the fuck????”.

Across only four tracks, but 53 minutes, Monoliths & Dimensions further pushes the limits of metallic extremities that Sunn O))) have been shoving for eleven years.

“Aghartha” immediately beckons a wall of distortion, it’s excruciatingly slow but perhaps that makes Sunn O)))’s music somewhat sadistic. Csihar’s vocals enter in the form of a haunting mutter accompanied by the squeal and thud of droning excellence. A low and heavy piano, too, makes the whole endeavour an uneasy listen.

“Big Church” is an apt title for a song accompanied by a Viennese choir. It contradicts the common notion of binding a choir with a heavy band. It’s not an ethereal or delicate mix but a much more unsettling and disconcerting blend of styles that will take your breath away.
Final two tracks “Hunting & Gathering (Cydonia)” and “Alice” utilise more non standard instruments (in metal) like trumpets, clarinets, trombones and harps.

Sunn O))) have written another awe-inspiring chapter in their book of doom and drone, one that will challenge and keep challenging for many, many listens. Monoliths & Dimensions is further progress in Sunn O)))’s ever evolving nature. What they are evolving to, though we’ll pro
bably never know.


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