in the beginning was the word, and the word was with doom, and the word was doom. there came a man who was sent from doom; his name was o’malley. he came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. he himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. the true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
lordy lordy. seventh album in for sunn o))) and it’s a huge old testamental beast. monoliths and dimensions for chrissakes. take the hint. it’s massive. biblical. it’s lovecraft and yaweh all rolled into elephantine discordant om. look at richard serra’s cover, like some yawning gaping cthuluan mouth devouring all before it.
bit of a departure from the usual abstractions and one chord headfuck anyway given:
the record gravitationally, no doubt, pulls in a choirload of other folks, including but not exclusive to: eyvind kang, stuart dempster, julian priester, oren ambarchi and steve moore.
it subtly destroys the following instruments: double bass, conch shell, violin, viola, piano, horns, tubular bells and the wonderfully baffling wolf log.
decidedly epoch shattering in the way that earth were between hex… and the bees made honey… in that it’s taken the traditional formula and subtly changed it in such a skullbuggeringly simple way that you’ll never see/hear sunn o))) in the same way again.
by riffing on davis and coltrane (whether for amusement or not), by introducing unreconstructed acoustics into the tectonic shudder, by having atilla csihar’s rumbling timbre appear on every track (his shit with gravetemple at last years supersonic fizzed my noodlesac no end), by effortlessly muxing up horror movie atonal string screech and viennese choir discordia with the uberdowntuned chugging chord fug, o’malley and anderson have turned out a sunn o))) record that for the first time makes as much sense etched on vinyl as it does on a murk fogged cowl covered stage.
it’s as much morricone as it is mayhem. in places it is beautiful; a rumbling sensual ritual, a babbling chaos…
the final track, alice, seems to have turned the earth tribute shit on it’s head by turning sunn o))) into latter day earth, all desert dry twang and jazz lava and mogadon western movie horns. is it the best thing they’ve recorded? i think so. vibrating organ and swells of trombone. if hitchcock had made a brooding cowboy film this’d be the soundtrack.
to quote the folks involved:
the most musical piece we’ve done, and also the heaviest, powerful and most abstract set of chords we’ve laid to tape
can’t agree more.
pretty damned close to perfection.