Sunn O))): Metta, Benevolence (Southern Lords/bandcamp)

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Sunn O))): Metta, Benevolence (Southern Lords/bandcamp)

The wall of sound and distortion which bands like Japan's Boris and Seattle's drone metallers Sunn O))) deliver is not for everyone. Although in the case of the latter it was for the late Scott Walker who recorded Soused with them.

It was the meeting of outliers who went even further outwhere.

We liked it but don't play it a lot..

These three pieces were recorded in John Peel's old studio in 2019 after a tour (and at the invitation of BBC broadcaster Mary Anne Hobbs) and sit somewhere between Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music (the album not his live versions) and Sun O)))'s drone soundscapes, with Moog player Tos Nieuwenhuizen joining the long-standing duo of guitarists/synth players Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley.

Also on hand to lend wordless vocals is Swedish singer Anna von Hausswolff.

Drawing on their jams for the earlier Pyroclasts album for two of the three pieces, these are far from the sonic assaults you might expect and in fact the 14-minute Pyroclasts C# is almost benign with its pipe-organ (von Hausswolff) and shimmeringly ambient textures which invite you in for something which, admittedly, does become more oppressively distorted in places after the halfway point.

The final piece is the half hour-plus Troubled Air (from their Life Metal album) and this is perhaps the real challenge for most.

Grounded by an excoriating, abrasive buzz, the piece changes shape constantly with the kind of aural power you'd expect to be fired from booster rockets which propel it into deeper and darker space. It's magnificent in its grandeur and unholy claustrophobia.

As we say Sunn O))) is not for everyone but those prepared to approach this with open ears might be surprisingly won over.

Start with Pyroclasts C#.

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You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here

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These Further Outwhere pages are dedicated to sounds beyond songs, ideas outside the obvious, possibiltiies far from pop. Start the challenge here.


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