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Sunn O))) : Flight of the Behemoth

Five tracks of totally uncompromising minimalistic drone doom metal from this outfit that often describes itself as an Earth tribute band. The first two tracks ('Mocking Solemnity' and 'Death Becomes You') are about as stripped down as one can imagine, with just two extremely thick, drawn out distorted guitar notes slowly pulsating in both channels, while the occasional subsonic pulse of bass gets delivered by the bass guitar. Sonically interesting, but from a songwriting point of view it doesn't quite stay in memory as much as I would have liked.

This CD was produced by the legendary master of Japanoise, namely Masami Akita (better known as Merzbow) and you can see his influences showing up in the next 2 pieces, as he does remixes of two Sunn O))) tunes. 'sunnO)))BOW 1 (Merzbow remix)' tones down the bass-heavy guitars somewhat in favour of introducing a noisy toy piano playing some child-like melodies, which really only serves as a prelude for more of an all-out noise assault from Merzbow. The next track 'sunnO)))BOW 2 (Merzbow remix)' goes more or less along the same lines, as Merzbow takes over the landscape with a fairly toned down (by his standards) assault, consisting of nice, crispy fried electronic noise that for the most part overtakes the original guitar tracks underneath. Not bad, but to be honest I've heard Merzbow in more convincing form ('Venerealogy' or even the mind-numbing live 'Akasha Gulva' CD...although he's released literally hundreds of CDs, so I'm sure everyone has their own favourites).

I'm a big fan of both doom and experimental music, so hearing these two combined should have made me extremely pleased, yet somehow I can't say I was fully convinced...the first two tracks are just somewhat too minimal, while the Merzbow remixes...well, they sound a lot more like Merzbow than Sunn O))) and I've heard him do similar material countless times before. However, all of this is forgotten when the last track 'FWTBT: (I dream of Lars Ulrich being thrown the bus window instead of my master Mystikall Kliff Burton)' (great title) rolls in... if the whole album was like it, I would have fallen to my knees in awe. It preserves the main strength of the Sunn O))) style, namely the extremely bass heavy drone-like guitar sound, but at the same time understands that just that alone is not good enough to create a memorable song. So, in what is an amazing move, ultra-slow trip-hop beats that reek of my favourites Scorn are blended in, adding that perfect hypnotic rhythmic element that suddenly elevates everything to a much higher level. Couple that with a simple, yet convincing marching guitar riff and even muffled/growled vocals in the vein of Thergothon and what we have here is doom/drone classic. I hope on their next album Sunn O))) will explore that direction even more, since obviously it is the path they need to take in order avoid repeating themselves.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Mocking Solemnity
2. Death Becomes You
3. sunn0)))BOW 1 (Merezbow Remix)
4. sunn0)))BOW 2 (Merezbow Remix)
5. FWTBT: (I dream of Lars Ulrich being thrown the bus window instead of my master Mystikall Kliff Burton)

Duration : Approx. 51 minutes.

Visit the Sunn O))) bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Jacek Furmankiewicz
Hate Your Guts Records
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