øø Void (Reissue)
posted on 11/2011 By:
As this is a reissue of an old recording and Sunn O))) is a veritable household name by this point, I won’t spend any time delving into the aesthetics of this project’s style and what it means or doesn’t mean for metal. ØØ Void is the outfit’s first proper full-length release, but considering the negligible differences in recording quality and its understated progressions from The Grimmrobe Demos, it rarely receives due recognition as such. Still, this album is unquestionably a step up from the demo that preceded it, and I’ve always been surprised at how often this debut is overlooked when discussing Sunn O)))’s recorded legacy. While the band’s experimental direction from Flight of the Behemoth onward is what drew them most of their attention, it was this album that opened the door for the direction the duo would take following its release. And when looked at as a kind of statement of purpose, ØØ Void gets the message across loud and clear.
Those of you who hopped on the bandwagon later in O’Malley and Anderson’s career may be surprised at how straightforward this album is compared to the highly exploratory works concieved under the Sunn O))) name over the years. This is pure drone doom in it's most primal, direct form -- take the formula established on Earth 2, drag the guitar and bass tunings down into the pits of Hell, and up the sinister atmosphere to untold levels. No vocals, no drums, no odd excursions into other genres of music; just one or two trudging chord progressions, peppered with effects and stretched into oblivion. Despite the bare-bones approach to the “songwriting,” all four tracks on ØØ Void still manage to creep into your consciousness and captivate you while playing, which is basically the goal of any recording by these guys. While opener “Richard” is the star of the show, with its foreboding bass intro and looming slide-driven riff, each song on the album has its own unique charm, though spinning from start to finish will take its toll on most listeners.
I could make some intellectualist comments on Sunn O)))’s talent at subtle progressions and sound manipulation and whatnot, but I’ll be honest: This album is just ridiculously heavy and evil, and that’s all I really need. It takes the average metal head’s basic love of crushing chords and low tunings and focuses it with an intensity that borders on parody, and it's simplicity makes it an ideal choice for when I’m not in the mood for the band’s progressive shenanigans. However, there’s next to no crossover appeal in this record – if you’ve always appreciated Sunn O))) for their experimentation, there isn’t much here that’s going to draw you in. It’s background music of the most ominous sort; a sprawling black canvas that encourages the listener to paint their own demented pictures with the brush of their imagination. Of course, to the grizzled metal elite, this will just be an hour of feedback, but who cares what they think anyway?
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