Archive for the Sunn Category

Sunn O))) – Grimmrobe Demos (Southern Lord) 2000

Posted in Doom, Music, Sunn on January 16, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

This is the first record that Sunn O))) put out and if you are looking for a record that captures the purity of the style of subsonic bass frequencies and riff after riff of doom metal then this is the perfect place to start. But to committed Sunn O))) fans this  doesn’t hold the same interest as other Sunn O))) records and if I was to advise you  to start anywhere I highly recommend White 2 and White 1. Black One is also great but by that stage their sound had starting incorporating more black metal elements. Flight of the Behemoth is still my favourite though. The stuff with Merzbow is still some of my favourite music out there. This isn’t the Sunn O))) record to rush out to buy if you are new to the band because it was always really meant to be a demo. It still rocks but there are other Sunn O))) records that are a bit more satisfying.

Khanate – Clean Hands Go Foul (Hydra Head) 2009

Posted in Doom, Music, Sunn on August 15, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


Just how many bands has Stephen O’Malley been in? Khanate first crossed my radar a couple of years ago when I picked up their self titled debut to supplement my knowledge of doom. At the time it was a little too much metal and a little less doom than what I was looking for. Over the years that record has grown on me and when I saw this get released I was pretty keen to hear it. The thing about this record is I had trouble figuring out whether it was some collection of out takes, demo tracks or what because depending on what you read the band broke up somewhere between 2004 and 2006. I’m not sure when these were recorded or why it took so long to release them. Again depending on what you read this is either the third or fourth proper Khanate record.

The thing about Khanate is that if you are looking for the full on monster riff doom expereince of Sunn O))) then you are going to be disappointed. The metal that Khanate produced is a highly dissonant version of black metal but trending toward the artier end. The screamed guttural howls of the lead singer are actually understandable which is nice and the music some across as an intelligent version of Tortoise had they burnt down a Swedish church and fucked a goat on occaison. It’s certainly not easy listening but for those looking for a less campy, more cerebral black metal experience, this may be it.

Sunn O))) – Monoliths and Dimensions (Southern Lord) 2009

Posted in Doom, Sunn with tags , , on June 5, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


I’ve been hanging out for this for some time because nothing says happiness like a slab of doom laden black metal. This is their first proper album in yonks, since I think Black One if I’m not mistaken (I don’t think  you can count Oracle because that was tracks developed for an art piece rather than an album proper). I was actually going into my local record store to buy Isis’s Oceanic and fuck me if this wasn’t sitting in the rack below. It made my week and after a couple of spins its time to post on it.

You know its Sunn O))) so it’s bound to be good but I wasn’t expecting this. There are four tracks in all. The first and third are your typical Sunn O))) power riffs and the first one had Atilla talking about some underground city or such nonsense in his best creepy voice. They haven’t been this much fun since My Wall on White 1. Fun but sinister of you know what I mean. Maybe it is a bit vaudeville for many tastes but I’m  a sucker for this type of thing so bring it on I say. The second track is called Big Church and it features a choir, a fucking CHOIR I tell you. More Gorecki Misere than Mormon Tabernacle if you are worried that the sound of a choir is completely lame. Totally different to anything they’ve done before I reckon but the final expectation destroying clusterfuck happens on the final track. It starts off as a typical doom track and then fuck me! a fucking trumpet wails and suddenly your listening to jazz. I thought my ipod had fucked up but seriously the most divine jazz track I’ve heard in some time (which isn’t that profound because the only jazz I listen to is The Necks) leaks our of my headphones. To say that Sunn O))) don’t do the same thing twice might be the fucking understatement of the year. If you’re looking for the windswept-tundra-in-hell vibe of Black One you are certainly not going to find it here. Sunn O))) let the light in and it’s a cracking good listen.

KTL – IV (Editions Mego) 2009

Posted in Drone, KTL, Music, Sunn on April 26, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


KTL are the duo of Steven O’Malley from SunnO))) and Peter Rehberg (Pita). They originally formed to create music for a theatre piece called Kindertotenlieder  which I think means Place of Dead Children or something like that. I own all three KTL records available  on CD and I think they may have surpased themselves with this one. One of the slight criticisms I have of their previous records is that their quest for minimalism could sometimes be a bit too minimalist for my taste. IV amps up the creep factor that was present on the previous records. O’Malley’s doom riffs are more out front and centre and Rehberg’s tense electro-fuckery make the atmosphere of IV chillingly bleak. The frightening and dark Paratrooper is my favourite track. As the longest track here at over 20 minutes, Rehberg allows his laptop to create a disturbing Dystopia not quite matched on KTL’s other records.  IV is proving to be an expensive purchase at the moment given the strength of the Euro but shell out for this if you can, it may be one of the best things produced this year and a fitting soundtrack for the current GFC. 

KTL – KTL (Editions MEGO) 2006

Posted in Doom, Drone, Music, noise, Sunn with tags , on December 7, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

Kindertotenleider (Songs on the Death of Children) was a song cycle for orchestra and voice based on the  poems of Ruckert. Ruckert wrote his poems in the early 19th century after two of his children died within 16 days of each other. KTL (an abbreviation) is the band put together by Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))) and Peter Rehberg aka Pita the experimental electronic musician. As cheery as that premise is, KTL might have created the benchmark in ambient black metal. Spooky, relentless, foreboding and mesmerising all at once, O’Malley’s guitar is the sound that anchors the work whilst Rehberg’s electronic manipulations are sometime front and centre and at other times barely perceptible. The overwhelming impression is one of misery and if you remember that end scene at the end of the Blair Witch Project  where that guy is facing the wall in that basement and not responding to his friend’s calls, if that scene had needed a score then  KTL would have been perfect. 

While we all wait for another release from SunnO))), The three KTL records (and a fourth to be released in the new year) are excellent ways of establishing some Christmas ambiance for your family this season. 

Burning Witch – Crippled Lucifer (Southern Lord) 2008

Posted in Burning Witch, Doom, Music, noise, Sunn with tags on October 25, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

When Thor’s Hammer imploded in the mid-1990’s, the surviving members created Burning Witch one of the more influential black metal/doom bands of the 1990’s. Although Burning Witch only existed for a couple of years, the core of the band Stephen O’Malley and Greg Andersen, went on to form  the reigning bench mark of doom, Sunn O))). During their brief existence Burning Witch recorded two EPs with Steve Albini. Crippled Lucifer is a twin disc compilation of those EPs.

To be honest I was never a metal fan. I always found the genre over the top and a bit ridiculous. When ever I listen to a black metal record I always think that I get the joke until I realise that the band themselves are probably not trying to be funny. This is the  same reaction I get with Burning Witch. I mean this record is so heavy, the  riffs so crushing, the vocals so tortured that I can’t help but be amused. The thing is, if i find the whole thing so silly then why do I enjoy Crippled Lucifer so much? Part of the  reason is that sometimes I just want to hear over the top guitar work and demon vocals. Playing this record is a guilty pleasure and is particularly useful after a particularly grinding day at work. For those of you who are fans of Sun O))) yet haven’t managed to listen to this, I recommend that you remedy that situation immediately. Burning Witch certainly didn’t  embrace the  ambient minimlism that now  infiltrates Sunn O)))’s work but the bedrock of their sound has been used as a template for all of the doom bands that have followed. Recommended. 

Still Born Live

Earth – Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull (Southern Lord) 2008

Posted in Doom, Earth, Sunn on March 16, 2008 by noisenoisenoise


This is the follow-up to one of my favourite albums of all time Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method. That record was simply fanatstic. Bleak, pastoral doom which was both evocative and oddly beautiful. On Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull, Earth haven’t reinvented the wheel but it is still a progression. The pastoral country-gothic ambience that was flirted with on Hex is front and centre on Bees. It’s less bleak than Hex and there’s also a bit more of a prog rock feel to the whole thing and on one track Earth may have become as rock n’ roll as they dare.

It’s a pretty good record. I prefer Hex personally but there is a lot here to love. If Hex is 9/10 then this is and 8.

Here’s a snippet

Oren Ambarchi – Grapes From The Estate (Touch) 2005

Posted in Doom, Drone, Music, Oren Ambarchi, Sunn on January 26, 2008 by noisenoisenoise


Last year I had some fun with Justice Yeldham’s record Cicatrix. I thought for the most part it was pretty boring although to be fair a couple of the live tracks at the end were not bad. To cut a long story short, Mr Yeldham himself, Lucas Abela, went-fucking-off in the comments section. It was great. I think he was calling me a fuckwit in a diplomatic way. I published his comments because I think if I’m going to slag something off, the guy who made it should get a right of reply. The thing that irked me about his comments though was a sense of elitism that I took from his criticism. He seemed outraged that I had never seen one of his shows because at some stage he lived in my home town and he performed here regularly. Call me sensitive but what I think he was really saying was because I had come to the genre of noise/experimental music only recently I had no right to opine on what I though was good and what I thought was crap. Perhaps it was the fact that I rarely go to live shows that irked him. Again a rather stupid criticism considering I’m posting on the disc and not the live experience. I saw The National two weeks ago and hey I’ll be honest, I’m not rushing out to buy their records but that show was pretty fucking impressive. They finished most of their noisier song with a big blanket of transcendent white noise. I was in heaven. They need to somehow get that transcendence on to their records but hey, they’re doing OK without my opinion.

What I suppose I’m trying to get at is I’m relatively new to this whole noise/experimental stuff. In fact this was the reason I started this blog. I wanted to, in some small way, be able to make sense of music which excited me but somehow felt isolated from. I’ve posted before on how difficult I find it to describe some of this music. It is fucking hard. What I’m coming to terms with now though is the sheer size of the genre I’ve chosen to explore. I’m dipping my toes into the world of Merzbow more and more, and I kind of cringe when I look at my Merzbear post particularly the bit about being kind of frightened to delve into his back catalogue.

This brings me to Oren Ambarchi. Until I read an interview in The Wire recently I had no idea he existed. This in itself was kind of embarrassing considering his name is proudly displayed on some of my Sunn O))) records (note to self; must read liner notes better). He’s been churning out records for years under his own name, as part of Sun (not to be confused with Sunn O))) and in various collaborations. One of the other criticisms that Abela made was that I didn’t seem to post on many Australian artists. I actually think that criticism is fair and at the end of the day he was nice enough to point me in the right direction.

There seems to be a fair bit of media about Ambarchi recently. His latest album, In the Pendulums Embrace, seems to be getting a fair bit of support from indie record stores around the place. I fully intend to pick up a copy of that record but I decided to start with one of his earlier works. Various sources seems to suggest that Grapes From The Estate is pretty good so here it is.

The thing that struck me first about this record is how un-SunnO))) it is. Few subsonic growls and no death metallish scowls or oppressive doom-laden blanket guitar riffs on this record. Mr Ambarchi instead gives us a meditation in minimalism. This is pretty, fragile minimalism which is as peaceful as the photo on the cover. The whole thing opens with Corkscrew, a ten minute excursion in stark, tonal repetition. Girl with The Silver Eyes continue the theme but noisier elements and just a smidgen of subsonic guitar squelch is added just to knock the whole thing off balance from time to time. The real pearl though is Remedios the Beauty. Elements of melody and rhythm are brought in. The twenty minute closer Stars Aligned, Webs Spun brings us back to earlier theme of tonal pulses, repetition and the odd subsonic, vaguely doom-like muted blast.

Grapes From the Estate is a dream of mininalism and modern composition. When I read the word minimalism I’m prone to think of drone. This record kind of is but really isn’t if that makes sense. The sound on Grapes is more carefully constructed that your average drone record. It has the same vibe as a drone record but moves teh concept a couple of steps to the right but in saying that if you like your drone I recommend checking this guy out. Its stark yet somehow warm and as an aside, if you ever want to introduce a reluctant spouse to experimental music, this may be the record to play them.

Sunn O))) – Oracle 2 x CD (Southern Lord) 2007

Posted in Doom, Doomember, Music, noise, Sunn on December 1, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


Fuck me dead. This is the most evil thing I’ve heard. Seriously. I am so going to Mass tomorrow. I need to repent. Merely playing this I’m sure is summoning the Dark Lord. In a previous post I said that I didn’t know whether to take this doom stuff seriously or not. After listening to this, I fucking do now.

I mean holy shit. This is just suffocating. It’s fucking doom with a capital D. It makes Black One sound like the Wiggles.

I chanced across this on Wednesday. I hadn’t realised this had even been released and I struggled to find much info on it. I bought the CD version which is over two discs. The first disc is apparently the same two tracks that were released on the vinyl version of Oracle. The second disc is one long 46 minute track called Helio)))sophist. The liner notes state that this track is an audial collage of live performances from July 2005.

To give you an idea of what this record is all about I’ve ripped the following off the Southern Lord website.

ORAKULUM was originally composed for a live performance collaboration with the New York sculptor Banks Violette at the Maureen Paley Gallery in London, June of 06. Violette created sculptural representation of SUNN O)))s entire backline in cast resin and salt, including amplifier stacks, instruments, effects & accompaniments. In addition, black laquered stage platforms and sound panels were created as a basis for the groups actual backline setup, and a selection of drawings were presented within the context. The result of this performance and collaboration, which was conducted in a sealed gallery space, was intended to generate a feeling of absence, loss and a phantom of what once was.The A side of this lp: BELUROL PUSZTIT was also recorded at this session. Initially this song was created for the “Jukebox Buddha” compilation as it features the use of the tone generating Buddha Boxes within the track. In the style of Sunn 0))) these boxes were run through the sunn backline and recorded at maximum volume which of course yielded maximum results! BELUROL PUSZTIT ” also features extra “instrumentation” from Atsuo Mizuno (Boris) on drums and Joe Preston (Earth, Melvins, Thrones) on jackhammer.

Let’s go through this helpful note together and I’ll point out my favourite understatement of the year: The result of this performance and collaboration, which was conducted in a sealed gallery space, was intended to generate a feeling of absence, loss and a phantom of what once was. This statement does not do this “performance” justice. I’d just like to add that Oracle is my new bench mark for bleak. Well bleak with added demon noises to be accurate. Or to strive for total accuracy, Oracle contains the closest representation of a tortured soul ever recorded. Plain bleakness is, of course, represented by Earth’s Hex. It’s a pretty compelling sound and even though it un-nerves me I keep going back for more.

For what it’s worth the second disc is also pretty great. It’s SunnO))) doing what they do best. Here’s the rub though. This 2 disc version is a limited edition of 2000. I mean what is the point of that. I fucking hate this exclusive bullshit.

Sunn O))) – White 2 (Southern Lord) 2004

Posted in Doom, Doomember, Music, noise, Sunn on December 1, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


I find it faintly amusing when a month is renamed in support of some event or other. In Australia we have Movemeber where men get sponsored to grow mustaches for a month in support of mental health awareness (and something to do with prostates I think). I’ve also been a fan of Wonkette’s Cocktober and Blowvember which celebrate the latest Republican sex scandal. So to get in the spirit and due to my hatred of Christmas I give you Doomember.

White 2 is a companion piece for White 1. In some ways it’s a better record but not nearly as accessible as it’s predecessor. You basically get the same bang for your buck. Three extremely lengthy meditations in doom. Hell-O)))-Ween is massive power cord after massive powercord. It’s kind of like watching miso soup settle. It kind of churns back onto itself until it’s an ominous cloud suspended in …….. well if I keep with my miso soup analogy, fish stock I suppose. The next track is completely different. bassAliens is exactly what it says on the packet. An ambient subsonic doom feast. Don’t bother holding out for the big power chord, it’s never going to happen. The final track gives the heads up to where Sunnn O))) would head to with Black One. All frightening, creepy, black metalish doom. Evil evil evil. I still prefer White 1 and Flight of the Behemoth makes me all giddy when I think about those Merzbow tracks, but White 2 shows a band never willing to stand still and rest on their laurels.

Merzbow – Merzbear (Important) 2007

Posted in Merzbow, Music, noise, Sunn on November 26, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


I recently got this in the mail along with CD’s by the Fire Engines and Black Dice, however it was this particular offering that caught my partner’s atttention.

Her: That’s a nice cover. What does it sound like?

Me: Like a massive electronic fart with an evil techno beat.

Her: Oh ……. not one for me then.

This is the first Merzbow recording I’ve dabbled in (besides the stuff he did with Sunn0))) on Flight of the Behemoth). I think the reason for my late arrival into the world of Merzbow is the continual references to his noise being “extreme”. For the life of me I have no idea why the mere description of “extreme” frightened me off. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I’m not afraid of a challenge but the idea of delving yet again into a noise record that had the potential of sounding like most other noise records left me cold. Anyway, I have been listening to those two tracks on Flight of the Behemoth and thought “Fuck it, now is as good a time as any.”

Now I realise that according to people that know about such things, this is supposed to be the most accessible record he’s released in some time. I have nothing to compare it to so I’m not exactly going to fucking argue. The noise is less extreme than I expected. I mean, this is still pretty full on noise but I suppose what I wasn’t expecting was the texture of the noise. This is kind of like Kid 606’s Down With the Scene record crossed with Wolf Eyes if that makes sense. In the first two tracks there is this solid electronic beat anchoring proceedings. The first track combines a thumping hard house beat with some oddly Dead C sounding guitar parts, both of which attempt to fight their way out of the electronic bog.

I enjoy this record as much as John Wiese’s Soft Punk although they are obviously very different beasts (Wiese being the extreme sound collagist, Merzbow being a more straight forward noise artist). The similarity is the precision of the noise. There is little flabby, noise-wankery on either record. Dare I say it there is a cold professionalism to Merzbear which has certainly kept me fascinated for the last couple of days. Merzbear is a great record. I’m hooked and it’s time to delve a little deeper into Merzbow’s world but with a catalogue as huge as his where the fuck do I start. Seriously I have no idea, Can anyone help?

Sunn O))) – White 1 (Southern Lord) 2003

Posted in Doom, Music, Sunn on November 20, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


I have so much new music at the moment that it is doing my head in. Fucking Merzbow, Fire Engines, Black Dice, Zelienople, Ashtray Navigations, Peter Wright and Sandoz Lab Technicians (yay more NZ experimental noise) all have demanded my attention. I have decided to have a break (but let me tell you that Peter Wright CD I bought on my Sydney trip is un-fucking-believable) and find comfort in an old friend.

White 1 was my introduction to Sunn o))). I’d read all of the reviews and the thought of some vaguely black-metalish, doom record didn’t have me reaching for my wallet. The main reason is that I really didn’t understand doom or what it sounded like and the samples I’d listened to online were of such bad quality that it was hard to tell what this doom stuff was all about. I decided to start with this one because of the comforting presence of Julian Cope. I was a big Cope fan in the 1980’s and I flogged his Saint Julian record to death.

Things kick of with My Wall. This track is all big monster riffs one after the other and massive helpings of subsonic bass. It’s the kind of thing that you feel rather than hear. Cope basically talks gibberish over the top of it all. Here’s some choice snippets Doom and gloom is to each a splendid pair and another For I am death …. and yet another Here in the bloodless deepest scar/ here be the wall of Johnny guitar. Absolute nonsense all of it. There seems to be a basic theme of pagan gods and ancient battles. It’s ever so slightly absurd but is the most accessible thing Sunn have done. It’s great and even at 25+ minutes it’s up there with my most played tracks on Mr Boo. The second track is The Gates of Ballard. This track starts with a strange nordic folk song (or part of the black mass. I’m not sure to tell you the truth) sung by the vocalist from Thor’s Hammer (actually I’m going with my first guess) before morphing into the most Melvin’s (Bullhead era) like sludge/doom thing I’ve heard them do. It’s an absolute joy, all 15 minutes of it. Things are rounded out by A Shaving of the Horn that Speared You. This is strangest track on the album. It’s a pointer to where they’d head to on Black One. The creep factor is all here just without the oppressive darkness. It’s basically an exercise in subsonics. There are no monster riffs. The vocalist from Thor’s Hammer is back where she contributes whispered, breathless vocals from time to time. It’s not my favorite thing Sunn have ever done but it shows a band willing to try new things while staying within the doom sphere. I think White 2 is a more cohesive record, but White 1 is a pretty good place to jump on if you’ve ever thought about buying a Sunn record.

KTL: Live at Donaufetival 2007, Krems

Posted in KTL, noise, Sunn on November 3, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

This is a live video of the new collaboration between Stepehn O’Malley from Sunno))) and Peter Rehberg who makes digital noise as Pita. I bought the first KTL record this week and I’ll post on it later. Here is a sample.

Boris – Boris at Last: Feedbacker (Conspiracy) 2005

Posted in Boris, Earth, Music, Sunn on September 15, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


I like Boris. They’re kind of the ultimate tribute band in some way. Equal parts Melvins, Earth and SunnO))), Boris takes all of the good bits from those bands and non-apologetically rips them off. Now some of you will think that that is a bad thing. Its not. Feedbacker is my favourite record of my favourite Japanese band. It’s a monolithic, sludgey, psychedelic doom-metal opus in five parts. But if I’m being honest I can describe each of its parts by naming the influence in question
Part 1 – Earth

Part 2 – Mogwai

Part 3 – Lightning Bolt

Part 4 – Merzbow

Part 5 – Mogwai

See. Wasn’t that easy. Yes I know Mogwai are a strange comparison. But listen to Part 2 and then follow it with “Take me Somewhere Nice” by Mogwai. You’ll get the connection if you can just imagine power cords on Mogwai’s track. I’ll add one further observation. For a doom record there are bits of this that are pretty close to post rock, and for a post-rock album you’ll never want to bang you head so hard again. The album cover pretty much says it all.

Sunn O)))) – Flight of the Behemoth (Southern Lord) 2002

Posted in Doom, Merzbow, noise, Sunn on August 28, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


I love this doom metal/dark ambient stuff. No idea whether I’m supposed to take it seriously or not but I find the whole bowel loosening, hypnotic drone thing oddly comforting. The first two tracks on this meld into each other and are your classic Earth inspired power riffs on cough medicine. Behemoth like in fact. This, I think, was their third record and doesn’t have that whole horror-movie ooga-booga thing that they did so well on their Black One. Well at least not until the final track.

What makes this record a favourite is tracks 3 and 4 , )) Bow 1 and )) Bow 2. Sunn team up with Merzbow to do something pretty extraordinary. The first of these tracks starts with a ghostly honky tonk piano playing out of tune over a massive Sunn single tone drone and then the electronic fuckery courtesy of Mr Merzbow begins. The noise is pretty minimalist but adds a smack of menace to the track. It’s a cracker and must be one of the shortest Sunn tracks ever, coming in a touch under six minutes. The second of these tracks made me mildly nauseous. It churns and churns, the electronics co-opt the drone. It’s still obviously Sunn but brings the noise if you know what I mean. By the final track F.W.T.B.T. we’re back firmly in doom territory and it’s a pretty strong indicator where Sunn would end up on Black One. It’s the only track with vocals. Actually vocals is probably too fancy a word. Its the only track that has a demon gargling sulfur. That’s much better. Fuck there’s even some drums underneath the crushing riffs. This record is as good as White 2 and works equally well as a laxative.

Earth – Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method (Southern Lord) 2005

Posted in Earth, Sunn on August 4, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


I feel like I should have liked Earth 2 much more than I did. I feel bad, really I do. One of the reasons Earth 2 didn’t work well for me is that it is a pure distillation of doom and while that’s perfectly fine, I’ve been spoilt by the likes of SunnO))) and the innovations they bring to the genre. The other reason may be that I bought Hex first and it’s been a regular on Mr Boo ever since and as you may now have guessed, Hex is a far different (and more satisfying) beast.

Hex also goes to prove my ever increasing hatred of the down load. The artwork with this record is fucking great. The booklet is a sepia-toned collection of photographs from the 19th century depicting the horrors of early frontier life. It is meticulously done and encapsulates the terrifying sadness of what Earth are about to unleash.

Hex is an incredible record. It is doom minus the sludge. A chokingly bleak album yet somehow beautiful at the same time. It’s codeine mixed with a pastoral expanisveness. If you ever want to hear what psychosis-inducing isolation actually sounds like then Hex is the record for you. It has more in common with Mogwai than Slayer but it shows that sometimes, just sometimes, a band can reform after a decade and produce an astonishing and important work .

Earth – Earth 2 (Sub Pop) 1993

Posted in Drone, Earth, Music, Sunn with tags , , , , on August 4, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


Every genre has a defining album. The sort of record that every band that followed owed allegience to. Earth 2 in the doom/sludge world is not merely worshipped but holds the malevolent DNA spliced by SunnO)))), Melvins and Boris. Post- Punk had Pink Flag, Shoegazing had Nowhere, New Wave had Parrallel Lines and Doom has Earth 2. I listened to Melvins, SunnO)))) and Boris before I had ever heard Earth 2 and perhaps I did things in the wrong order because Earth 2, to me, just sounds ……. well ……. OK. I mean kudos and all that to Earth for defining a genre but Earth 2 is a bit like early Throbbing Gristle, ground breaking in it’s day but it just hasn’t aged very well. My principal complaint is the production. It’s fucking awful.

For those of you who don’t know, Doom is a genre of metal, which to rip off another review, is “Black Sabbath played very slowly”. Oh and without vocals or drums or any resemblance to their head banging brethren. The huge guitar riffs that define Doom are monstrous. They obliterate all before them before being consumed themselves by the next riff. Its a big sludgy, claustrophobic noise where the idea of “song” is neither present nor relevant. Earth 2 does all of these things really well and listening to this record casts records by SunnO)))) in a totally new light. But to really get the full effect of the Doom sound the production has to be right and on this it is simply not. The recording feels furry and the effect, as a result, blunted. It misses the shear, unrelenting power of those that came after but as the seed that starts one of my favourite genres, Earth 2 is an interesting listen.

Double Leopards – A Hole is True (Troubleman Unlimited) 2005

Posted in Double Leopards, Music, noise, Sunn, Woods on July 28, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


There are records that I am nervous about posting on and this is one of them. Now I love A Hole is True. It is one of my favourite tuneless noise records of the moment. My nervousness stems from the fact that I really don’t know how describe just what makes Double Leopards so special. I suppose a Hole Is True is similar to modern art and like the best art there should be no preconceived ideas to what the consumer brings takes away from their experience with it.

As noise records go it is somewhere east of Sunn O)))) and somewhere west of Yellow Swans. The forboding sense of doom is all there but there is little harshness to Double Leopard’s approach. It’s almost as if the constant drone of this record has existed for a millennia and the listener is experiencing a snapshot. It’s almost like a short student documentary of life down at the demon factory. There are constant mechanical sounds thrown in to break up the drone and I can’t help wonder is this a new genre of industrial music. One that forgoes the intensity and faux fascism of its 1980’s brethren for a distillation of the purity of an industrial soundscape. I once read a fellow posting on Earth who described their music as Heavy Metal with only the good bits left. It’s a concise way of how I feel about Double Leopards. All that is left behind is the essence of the machines and the futility of hope.

Sunn 0)))) – Black One (Southern Lord)

Posted in Music, Sunn on July 7, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


We’ve all had those embarrassing moments. You have guests. Everyone is naked except for their black robes. The goat is locked up in the bathroom. The pentagram has been drawn and everyone is looking forward to a night of chanting and fingerpainting rude words in blood. You like to think of yourself as a good host. And a good host always has the perfect record to get eveyone in the mood for fun. Madonna? Too upbeat. Timberlake? Too annoying. Snoop Dogg? Not really appropriate for the goat. My friends I give you Black One. You never need be embarrassed again.

I discovered Sunn O))) after taking the plunge and buying White One.  If you’ve read my previous post you now know I am an impulsive little fucker and the fact that I didn’t have any “bowel churning, low frequency, dark ambient, drone” had to be rectified straight away.  I’ll post on Sunn O)))’s previous output at some later stage but I will say that their previous records gave a bit of a sense of evil and forboding but what affected me the most was the frequencies, the very low frequencies. Sure the previous records had their sinister moments but at times they were fucking funny. Get a copy of White One and try not to snigger at the drug fucked ramblings of Julian Cope (yes that Julian Cope!) on My Wall.

Black One is a bleak, humourless, evil powerhouse of immense depth. This record is relentless. Dark ambient drones mix with death metal screams for a thoroughly unsettling experience. Take Cursed Realms (of the Winterdemons) for instance.  The track opens with what sounds like arctic winds racing over tundra. It’s almost beautiful. Then Mr deathmetal starts screaming but he’s not front and centre in the mix. Somewehere he stands in the distance or maybe the force of his screams have been blown away by those icy arctic winds. Just when I begin to feel unsettled enough the guitars begin. Big droning power chords. Speakers crackle and bowels are upset. It continues for another ten minutes of layer upon layer of darkness. Light is crushed and in the last ten seconds the world ends.

The next track is Orthodox Caveman. I’m not sure what that is but it is the most orthodox Sunn O)))) track here. Nothing exists for ten minutes except for the guitar churning out sickening power chord after sickening power chord.

Black One is not exactly where I would choose to start if I was new to dark ambient and Sunn O))). Try White 1 and particularly White 2 if you want to dabble. Black One is a triumph of evil intent. Every home should have one.

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