That Sunn O))) + Scott Walker collaboration is every bit as bizarre as we’d hoped it would be

SunnO-ScottWalker

On paper, the pairing of doom metalheads Sun O))) and avant-garde singer Scott Walker could go either way. The two artists’ mutually exclusive eccentricities could either complement or cancel each other out—or, worse, get caught in the kind of pretension feedback loop that gave rise to Loutallica. When you venture as far off the reservation as Scott Walker does, the pitfalls are many, and it’s a fine line between genius and nonsense.

Fortunately, Soused, the unholy offspring of the Walker/Sun O))) union, is pretty much exactly what we’d hoped it would be: a drone metal opera, with Walker delivering ice-water arias over glacial guitars and frozen synths. The whole thing fairly vibrates with dread, especially when set to the ambiguous, Lynchian images of this short film by director Gisèle Vienne for opening track “Brando.”

Soused is available now via Amazon.com.

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New Sunn O))) album now streaming on Bandcamp

Sunn O)))

Ancient forces of evil be praised! Drone metal overlords Sunn O))) released a new two-track album this week on Southern Lord Records, and we just learned that the whole thing is streaming now on Bandcamp. I’m cranking it up with my morning glass of whiskey and beet juice (good for the skin) and it’s scratching my guitar feedback itch but good.

Here’s the second track, “Invisible/Sleeper,” which starts off with what I can only assume are the gibbering voices of the damned before the doom chords kick in and the whole thing hops a slow train to Droneytown. The Sunn O))) guys recommend: “MAXIMUM VOLUME YIELDS MAXIMUM RESULTS.” They would not steer you wrong.

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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