posted on 10/2005 By:
First things first with this review: see those three numbers just above this text? DISREGARD THOSE NUMBERS. Completely. This band, or collective, or whatever it is, can’t really be judged on the same criteria as the majority of the material reviewed here; Sunn0)))’s music is far too esoteric and amorphous to be accurately considered metal, and that fact will likely drive away many a metalhead.
Fact is, I’m not sure this shit can be rightly considered music, and at this point there ought not to be many people still reading at all. Those who still are probably have a standing familiarity with the breed of sludge/drone/ambient/avante-garde noise assault that Sunn0))) produces, and would likely be satisfied no matter what this bizarrely iconic Khanate side project produced. However, for the very few uninitiated still present, I’ll do what I can do elucidate this…I hesitate to call it a style. Philosophy seems more appropriate.
As far as I can tell, this shit is heaviness removed from the context of ‘heavy metal’ and taken to its logical extreme. The sonic weight captured on this disc is incalculable, and its delivery is about as palatable and user-friendly as an untranslated Hegel manuscript. The ‘songs’ are free of rhythm and often also devoid of identifiable instruments, and tend to run towards the lengthy side of things. The aesthetic effect has less in common with traditional music than it does with primitive stone obelisks and monuments; Sunn0)))’s output is virtually immobile and static, conveying a single idea with mind-blowing gravity.
The fact that this is likely Sunn0)))’s darkest album to date makes things that much more interesting, or that much more unlistenable, depending on your perspective. Black One opens with the uncharacteristically brief ambience of “Sin Nanna” before launching…erm…shifting into “It Took the Night to Believe.” The track features, believe it or not, somewhat recognizable guitar and bass and something approaching but not quite achieving rhythm. Whatever measure of comfort and confidence the listener can take from such a familiar setting won’t last long, though. “Cursed Realms (Of The Winterdemons)” begins the album in proper, annihilating all vestiges of musical tradition and leaving a blasted, desolate landscape over which massive bodies of static tumble in slow motion. The only remotely human aspects of the track are heavily distorted, howling vocals, but they’re far too bleak and distant to offer any sort of respite. The punishing drones and textures that make up the body of Black One are far too stark for extended listening without the aid of mind-altering drugs; all but the hardiest listeners will want to attack this monolith piece by piece. Even those can prove daunting, as the fifteen-minute running time of icy closer “Bathory Erzebet” will attest.
This is the sort of musical idiot-savantry that I can never decide if I love or despise. If nothing else, this band’s work should be credited as an extremely interesting experiment with the boundaries of music, straddling the line between the absolute extreme edge of doom metal inhabited by Earth and Buried At Sea and the sterile, unapproachable chaos of Masami Akita’s Merzbow project. It is utterly bleak, incredibly challenging, and maddeningly deliberate. Oh yeah, and it’s heavy as fuck. Listen at your own risk.
Register to post comments.
øø Void (Reissue)
12/6/2011 Sunn O)))
Monoliths & Dimensions
5/26/2009 Sunn O)))