Sunn O)))

Today’s weird band was suggested by a reader named Jordan. Sup, Jordan? Glad you’re digging the site.

The band is called Sunn O))) (that’s a capital letter O, not a zero, in case you were wondering) and they’re a drone metal band made up of two dudes from Seattle, Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, plus various guest vocalists and other collaborators. What is drone metal, you ask? Well, imagine heavy metal stripped off all beats and slowed down until it sounds like the world’s slowest demon army coming to either bludgeon you into paste or slowly bore you to death. It’s not for everyone, is what we’re saying. But Sunn O)))’s version has its pluses.

For one thing, there’s the band live act, which involves volume and smoke machines cranked up to 11 and band members lurking about the stage in long black robes like a bunch of malevolent metal druids. And since playing drone metal doesn’t really require much in the way of technical shredding, there’s also a lot of guitars-and-fists-up pose-striking. Sometimes, it looks like they’re barely playing their guitars at all–they just hit one chord and then stand there looking all “Kneel before your Lord and Master” while those enormous Marshall stacks do all the work. There’s something very Spinal Tap about it, even though the music is so abstract it’s almost not even music anymore–it’s just a bunch of bowel-loosening tones.

In general, Sunn O))) is not a band for people with short attention spans. Music that moves this slowly takes awhile to get where it’s going–a lot of Sunn O))) tracks are over 20 minutes long. A lot of fans and critics seemed to think their last album, Monoliths and Dimensions, was downright accessible by Sunn O))) standards–and the shortest track on that set is nine minutes long and called “Big Church (Megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért).” So you won’t be hearing them at the mall anytime soon.

Sunn O))) live shows are by all accounts pretty bizarre affairs, but they don’t render real well in video form–YouTube can’t capture the sheer visceral punch of all that noise, and your average FlipCam is screwed when the smoke machines get cranking. So instead, we’ll leave you with a track called “My Wall,” which features some spoken-word ranting from professional weirdo/occultist Julian Cope. Apparently that’s druidic poetry he’s reciting. Again, very Spinal Tap. Stonehenge!

(P.S. Random bonus factoid about Sun O))): They’ve performed with Madonna. No, we’re not making this up.)


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10 thoughts on “Sunn O)))

  1. zenihilist

    this is the saddest try on a review about a unique and amazing (not so much weird, but different) band ive ever read. either you get it or you dont, but im gonna guess you cant really review them properly because you didnt actually feel them live. Thats correct, i said feel…. you dont really watch them live because youre not supposed to, hence the insane amount of fog machines. its a physical band youre supposed to feel. the visual antics arent as important. if you get a chance to experience them live, its a transcendental experience that will change your life. \m/

  2. postcardged

    It’s not a capital O or a zero – it’s part of a logo – the logo comes from sunn amps
    the band’s name is pronounced simply sunn

  3. Monica M

    Sunn O))) is a very special, unique band and to be honest it’s the heaviest band I know of! I do agree with the poster that this music is not for everyone. The drone/doom metal band is a very diverse genre of music and to me, it almost deserves to be it’s own genre in it’s own right. Sunn O))) may be considered a sub-genre of metal by default but anyone who has ever listened to Sunn O))) or any band of the like would know that these types of bands is just for pure ambience.

    I really do believe that it takes a special person to enjoy this type of music because you really have to be in a different state of mind almost like meditation, hence the name “drone”. I’m an extreme music lover and metal head and I’m only eighteen and I haven’t been to my first concert yet unfortunately. But when I do get the chance to go to a concert, I’m hoping that I will get a chance to see Sunn O))) live and feel the intensity that everyone is talking about.

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