Sunn O))) ”ËÃËÃË Void ”Ë (Southern Lord)
Available for pre-order now”Â¦
For those of you yet to be aware of Sunn O))) ”â a short history lessen;
SUNN O))) was created in 1998 by Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson. Their collaboration and direction continues to exist through expanded constellations and various forms with maximum loyalty to the power of electric amplified sound. SUNN O))) produce explorations in drone, psychedelic and experimental minimalism / maximalism as well as fusions with such underground metal cultures as Black, Death and Doom Metal – the former defined by its encompassing guitar sounds, uniquely musical stylings and dark, dramatic and contemplative content, life & death defined by excessive adhesion to the heaviest guitar sounds possible, and the latter often characterized by low and slowly played tones with meditative conceptual and ceremonial content.
”ËÃËÃË Void’ (known as Double-O Void) was the second album recorded by Sunn O))) circa 2000. At that time the guitarist and core members: Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson were joined by guest bassist collaborator Stuart Dahlquist (Burning Witch, Goatsnake). ”ËÃËÃË Void ”Ë also features some incredible contributions from both Petra Haden (Violinist/Vocalist) and Pete Stahl (vocals). ”ËÃËÃË Void’ was originally released in 2000 by Hydra Head in the USA and Rise Above in the UK and Europe. The album has been out of print for approximately 8 years now. In 2008, ‘ÃËÃË Void’ was reissued in Japan only through Daymare Recordings. As such this Southern Lord package complete with exquisite artwork from Stephen Kasner is eagerly anticipated…
That’s all well and good, but what does it actually sound like? It’s hard to review this release, Sunn O))) do not create music that would be recognizable in any of the more traditionally accepted variables ”â They sculpt sounds, sounds that envelope the listener, they challenge the very concept of what listening to recorded ”Ëmusic’ can be like. They draw inspiration from noise, ambient sound, drone and both death and black metal, and create a grinding collosus wall of almost impenetrable sound, its their ability to take sound to the very limit, to the point when you are about to turn away – and then to alter the pitch, to introduce some mutated vocal wail, a violin perhaps; light peeping through the darkness.
”ËRichard’ opens the album, and in simplistic terms is merely the sound of a guitar and a bass played very very slowly, every note is extended to the limit – each instrument is heavily distorted and layered upon the other. The track builds at a torturously monolithic pace over a full 15 minutes devoid of drums or traditional rhythm, however if played loud enough it does induce a catatonic like state were you will actually feel the music, there are flickers of light which suggest perhaps a route out of the chasm Sunn O))) have plunged you into.
”ËNN O))’ is another 15 minute plus composition, people talk about certain music being heavy ”â this so far beyond heavy; as the track progresses it seems to take on a life of its own, some primitive beast rising up dragging itself from the gates of Hades, a shadowy guitar riff suggests voices crying out in pain, only to be crushed back into the primordial slime by the unrelenting bass.
”ËRabbits Revenge’ is apparently a Melvin’s outtake, not that it resembles music ”â Sunn O))) have taken the tracks original riff, slowed it down to little more than a pulse, fed it through multiple distortion effects and then amplified it to extreme levels. Once more the sounds bind tightly to you; it’s like the aural equivalent to suffocation ”â a pulverizing bass that plunges to the darkest recesses, the track traveling at glacial speed literally destroying everything in its path.
”ËRa At Dusk’ closes the album, building from a continuous drone, into a mournful textural swirl before the guitar riff breaks through ”â another 14 minute piece, that continues on the journey into new sonic soundscapes, if you listen very carefully its possible to detect at a higher tone a very faint notational pattern, or was that just my speakers surrendering to the inevitable.
Without doubt one of the most challenging and powerful records I have ever heard, one that will have most turning off in a matter of seconds; however I recommend you persist with it ”â consider the environment you listen in; no distractions, maybe darkness and play it very very loud, the result will not be limited to just playback, it can and should become an entirely immersive experience, yield to the multiple waves of distortion and allow yourself to explore where the vibrations take you, it’s intensity has the power to evoke feelings of confinement, desperation, terror even ”â and yet it also offers enlightenment, magic and majesty.
Enjoy the pain”Â¦
2. NN O))
3. Rabbits’ Revenge
4. Ra At Dusk