Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Acquired Taste

Black One
Southern Lord

SUNNO))) is the drone/doom project of Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley (Southern Lord Records, ex-Goatsnake, ex-Burning Witch, etc…). Travis Keller, founder of the increasingly frustrating website Buddyhead, once described SUNNO))) as, “Ex-straightedge dudes in robes seriously bumming out everyone.” While this description is accurate, there is so much more going on with SUNNO))).

Black One, like all SUNNO))) releases, is plodding heaviness drenched in feedback and punctuated with harsh electronics. The band redefines the concept of slow. The typical SUNNO))) “song” features experimental guitar and bass arraignments, electronic manipulations that border on cryptic and sparse percussion. Black One is where noise and doom meet and fight to the death.

Black One inverts the paradigm of blasphemous black metal. Instead of outrageousness and blinding speed, SUNNO))) takes the motif of evil in the opposite direction. This album is withdrawn, sinister and conspiratorial. SUNNO))) captures the frostbitten despair of the Norwegian dark masters while simultaneously taking a musical back-azimuth.

You’re never quite sure what’s going on but you know that “they” are out to get you. You should not listen to this album if you have been diagnosed with paranoia.

This is not rock music according to the Carducci-ian definition. As Joe Carducci said in Rock and the Pop Narcotic, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, and Big Black may be cool but they’re not rock. While the aforementioned bands may be rooted in the electronic scene, SUNNO))) is undoubtedly a noise band. They’re not doom or black metal, although they draw considerable influence from those styles. No, SUNNO))) is depressing and evil noise. We are all better off for it.

In the realm of heavy music, SUNNO))) is one of the only groups that has truly earned the moniker of unique. This is for the open-minded. Black One is highly recommended for stoners, depressives, maniacs, rape-eyed weirdoes, people under house arrest and the unemployable. As the warning label on the back of the LP states, “Maximum Volume Yields Maximum Results.”

SUNNO))) - Black One


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