Sunn0)))- Monoliths and Dimensions (2009)

Posted: August 25, 2011 by Is This Revolutionary? in Album, Reviews
Tags: ,

If you’ve ever been on a messageboard before you’ve probably come across someone saying something like, “someone showed me this band and it just sounds like broken amps and feedback what kind of terrible backwards human could possibly enjoy something like this wah blah blah blah”. Well here I am, some terrible backwards human who actually likes Sunn O))) (and the elaboratlely irritating spelling of their name). That must be what coming out of the closet feels like. Phew. Well now that that’s done with:

 

Sunn O))) is a legendary drone metal band from Seattle comprised mostly of Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, two heavyweights of heavy music in their own right. The album in question is Monoliths and Dimensions, an album I have been meanings to review since it was released. Before it came out, I, like many other Sunn O))) fans, was pretty anxious to hear this seriously hyped record. There was talk of an orchestra, a choir, the trombone player from Earth, and a half a million other accompanists, and I was pretty worried I would end up buying a Sunn O))) with an orchestra record. Which would actually throw this band too far into a gimmick for me to continue talking about (cough, The Body).

 

Instead of what could have been a gigantic waste of resources and studio time, Sunn O))) managed to write what I personally consider to be the height of drone metal. The horns and strings and choir are so intricately woven with feedback and note drones that you almost can’t tell where they begin and end. The arc of the songs and Attila Csihar’s (of Mayhem fame, snicker snicker) over-the-top vocal arrangements are put in such a context that really pulls you into them. If I had to pick one thing this album does unbearably well, it’s pulling the listener in. From the first drone to the last your attention is deeply fixed in the sound. Even the passages of very minimal guitar work, I find myself listening so deeply to the depth of the guitar it feels like staring down a well for a really long time, except with your ears. When you finally arrive at the final track, you find a lot of light there. Something oddly dynamic and different for a band like Sunn O))). Some jazzy-sounding parts, some beautiful trombone arrangements, some harp. I felt as if I had been sailing on a ship for a long, long time through a storm too big to see the ends of, and with the very final passage I come ashore to greet my world as I had left it. That might be a stretch, I don’t know. But it sure felt like that.

 

Rating: What I’m trying to say, is Sunn O))), a band of very easy scrutiny, in this listeners eyes, have proved themselves to be much more adept and fantastic composers than anyone had really expected them to be. Their ability to work an album like this both dynamically, and emotionally just proves that there is much more method to the madness of squealing feedback and silly spoken word parts than meets the ear. If you get a chance to, pick up the vinyl. It’s gorgeous, it sounds great, people will think you’re cooler, and they deserve your money more than you do. Trust me. 4.5/5

-S

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