Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Album Review: SUNN O))) - Kannon

*** out of *****
The first release from SUNN 0))) proper since 2009's drone masterpiece Monolith's & Dimensions finds the minimalist/over-driven metal priests worshiping back at their slow moving/crushing noise alter. Unlike M&D's grandiose instrumentation (full orchestra), the core duo of Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson take over the reigns here with just a bit of outside help and surprisingly only crush ear drums for a half hour.

Before we go any further a disclaimer is needed if you are new to SUNN0))); this isn't your typical metal band, the term 'drone' is much more apt. No fret-board wizardry here, just plodding walls of sound. The opening section moves at a glacial pace reverberating around. "Part Two" increases the tempo (slightly) and adds chilling chimes and reverberations to enliven things just enough to twist the ear and send shivers.

It is in those touches or subtle chord changes that really bring home the loud dense sound and that is what makes SUNNO))) so intriguing, for us at least, minor shifts in huge walls of unstoppable sound that washes through your full body.

Lyrically Attilla Cshiar takes over and monotone chants, guttural throat clearings and nightmare screams all fall into the background, adding an extra layer of sound but never elevating the proceedings. The closing piece to this triple puzzle is the most serene and haunting as things reverberate into darkness and voids.

The doom and gloom noise purveyors have crafted another work of art that is engaging, but while three songs going 33 minutes might seem long in theory, when it is finished Kannon feels under-cooked. Playing as more a long EP than a proper follow up to M&D, a bit more meat was expected on the sonic destroying bone. Perhaps the band is happy to work in more brevity but any-which-way the darkness displayed here can still be beautiful, and compassionate.
In truth we were disappointed in Soused and never got around to reviewing it, the Scott Walker SUNNO))) partnership never worked to these ears. Kannon is closer to Monoliths & Dimensions which we loved but feels lighter then it should.

On a personal note, the title Kannon hits home, one of the first songs we ever wrote in Angels & Vagabonds was called that. We've played it live a bunch but never recorded it, we still may.

Anyways, support the band, buy the album, stream it on their bandcamp page or below:

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