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Sunn O))) : The Grimrobe Demos

This is the first release of the now well known drone doom act Sunn O))), featuring Stephen O'Malley, and Greg Anderson, both members of various doom outfits, including Thorr's Hammer, Goatsnake, and Khanate. Sunn O))) is easily the most inaccessible of all the groups either of these guys have been involved in, and if you have heard Khanate, that statement could seem somewhat surprising. There are no screeching vocals, or pounding drums - only guitars and bass. And that's what makes Sunn O))) so difficult to grasp. It is a monotonous monolith of sound. No hooks, no real rhythm, just the endless drone.

Sunn O))) do not hide the fact that they are directly influenced by Earth, and in fact the band pays homage to what they see as the masters of the drone sound, with the last track being named after the founder of Earth, Dylan Carlson. Whereas their second album, 'ии Void', is an utterly crushing, apocalyptic, sound-scape and 'Flight of the Behemoth' is somewhat more varied, even experimental, on this, their debut, one could be forgiven for thinking that they had mistakenly put 'Earth 2' into their CD player. The production, the song lengths (there are three, just as on 'Earth 2'), and the pervading atmosphere all hark back to that pinnacle of drone. And, in my opinion, this is not a bad thing at all. Sunn O))) pick up where Earth left off, and are more than worthy of carrying the drone torch into the new millennium. The three pieces here will make you feel as if the weight of the world is descending upon you, that you weigh many tons, and every movement is so laboured, that it is easier to just sit back, and await the inevitable crushing you are sure to receive. The tracks blend into one another, almost seemingly, and, unlike later releases, have more of a Black Sabbath/psychedelic doom feel to them, albeit in the same stripped to the core fashion as the aforementioned Earth. There are some sound effects, but the music is almost entirely just the guitar and bass. I should also note the unique, and intriguing packaging, a cardboard sleeve, encased in a black slip case, that you have to cut open to release the doom within...

Sunn O))), as with all drone doom, will always be an outfit that you either understand, or don't. There are few words that can really describe the power of the music this outfit creates. Certainly, it is not for all, and I could use adjectives like slow, gluey, monolithic, crushing, and transcendental over and over, and still not be close to describing the sound on this disc. It is a cathartic, extremely personal experience. If you can find this release (it was limited to 500 copies), and you don't mind monotony, pick it up. You may find that simplicity can be the most powerful force on the earth - or even the Sunn O))), for that matter.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Black Wedding
2. Defeating Earth's Gravity
3. Dylan Carlson

Duration : Approx. 56 minutes.

Visit the Sunn O))) bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Mark Bodossian
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