|While not Sunn O)))'s newest work, 'Black One' is certainly their darkest. Reason being, on many of the songs black metal vocals are added to throw dirt into the pit of despair that the droning tubes put the listener in. The first song on the album, a song called 'Sin Nanna', rumbles with some very low-frequency droning. It reminds me of the drone sound that Tibetan monks make as a form of solemn worship. This going in and out, combined with a truly frightening pitter-patter sound, puts the listener in a state of uncertainty. Then, near the end of the song, the pitter-patter turns excruciatingly loud then to a sudden halt to let the low, earth-shaking drone be heard clearly.|
Moving on to the song 'It took the Night to Believe'; this song has two different dark soundscapes playing in unison to form a very grueling piece. Followed by this, the song 'Cursed Realms (of the Winterdemons)' manages to give the Immortal's beat the Sunn O))) beating. One thing that really stands out about these songs is the poetic verse, written just like an H.P. Lovecraft novel. 'Orthodox Caveman', 'Candlegoat', and 'Cry for the Weeper' compliment the album's infancy to turn it from a journey into the throes of agony, to a horrific plague that seems indescribable with words. Reading the lyrics puts some perspective on the mental image given by the music, but cannot come close to describing the feelings that the soundscapes give the listener. Oren Ambarchi, the acclaimed guitar genius, lends a hand to Steven O'Malley and Greg Anderson to help create sounds that you would never think possible to create with guitars. Famous for his extremely innovative guitar techniques, Ambarchi gives this album something extra. In my opinion, the extra something that Ambarchi adds may be detrimental to the listener's sanity.
'Black One' is crowned by the song 'Bathory Erzsebet'. This song, for a period of time that seems endless, pushes a very thick, yet hardly audible background bass sound into your ears while the occasional ring of what sounds like a very large bell wanders on in the foreground. After this time, the crushing sound of the tubes rings out once again. More than in other songs on the album, the sound hits like a freight train. Over broken breathing you hear Malefic's voice. The man behind Xasthur, who happens to be extremely claustrophobic, was put into a casket in a hearse when recording the vocals for this song. This effect, although almost comedic, gives us some of the most frightening wails ever recorded. Black metal musicians play a very large role in this album. Not only Malefic, but also Wrest from Leviathan lends his hand, err... voice, in the vocals department.
Overall, this is one of the most terrifying albums I have ever heard. Sunn O))) once again gives new insight into the concept of music; in a disturbing way. The artwork is also a thing not to be ignored. Reprehensible black anomalies cover the front of the album, and the cover of the CD. The insert is filled with blank black pages with the same small design in each corner. An eerie silhouette of a renaissance-looking man is present on the back of the leaflet, in front of two dark pillars on a gray background. The artwork as a whole adds a lot to the malignant droning enclosed in the packaging. My last word on this album is: if you feel you are not as sane as many others, do not listen to this album. It could very well push you over the edge.
1. Sin Nanna
2. It Took the Night to Believe
3. Cursed Realms (of the Winterdemons)
4. Orthodox Caveman
6. Cry for the Weeper
7. Bathory Erzsebet
Duration : Approx. 67 minutes.
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