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There is no white light - 85%

Klamrisk, May 24th, 2009

Sunn O))), the weird-named band duo that has brought the genre "drone doom" to the wide masses (sort of). The genre name says it all, long slow songs that drone on and on to put you in a trance that invokes a feeling of doom. The music Sunn O))) creates lives up both to the "drone" and the "doom" and does so by using two down-tuned guitars, distortion, 3-4 chords and a lot of sub-bass.

This is Sunn O)))'s 5th full-length and the second one in the "White"-series that has introduced more experimentation into Sunn O)))'s music. The first "White" introduced bizarre spoken-word and drum machines and this "White" introduces an ambient experimental bass track and Atilla Csihar (of Mayhem).

Since this album is only 3 songs long and all tracks differ in style, I believe a song-by-song review is needed to fully explain the album.

The album starts nicely with "HELL-O)))-WEEN", a whole track filled with sub-bass drone riffing, typical for Sunn O))). The song evokes images of a dark night when the world ends. Not bad for just 4 chords on two down-tuned guitars. At 8 minutes the song goes into a long one chord "drone jam", with Stephen and Greg hitting the chord randomly with a lot of sub-bass in the background, and it’s awesome! Just when I’ve had enough the guitar goes out and all that’s left is a huge sub-base note crushing my brain into tiny fragments. Then suddenly the song ends. It has a perfect length for a drone song, around 14 minutes.

Then it’s time for some mysterious bass-generated ambience with "bassAliens". Essentially the song is a huge amount off basses fucking around, doing every strange sound managable on a bass and a creepy guitar line in the background. Dark and mysterious. The first things that comes into my mind are images of aliens asleep in the dark at Area 51, or... are all really asleep? I hear something crawling in the background... Great atmosphere.

The song should have ended at about the 18 minute mark, when there are some "farting noises" on one bass, like when you take the cord out and fucks around with it in the cord-opening of the guitar. Which means just random noise and not even good noise and very high in the mix. That bit ruins the whole atmosphere. Otherwise it’s a creepy and gloomy track which is really good until the "farting noises" which carries on throughout the rest of the song.

If we were in a dark night as the world begun to end in "HELL-O)))-WEEN" and in Area 51 as the aliens awoke to take over the world in "bassAliens" then "Decay2 [Nihil's Maw]" is when hell has arisen on Earth as it proclaims it's eternal reign.

The condemned spirits are free and screaming, the Nazgûls from Lord of the Rings makes a guest appearance and of course there's Attila Csihar, sounding like Lucifer himself as he commands our world which now is his. This track differs a lot from the others in the fact that it focuses on vocals, or to say it with a more suitable word, the voices, as they scream and sigh like ghosts and wild spirits. The music backing this nightmare are guitars droning and a bass rumbling, with only about two notes and no chords hit at all. But it's the atmosphere that counts with this kind of music, not the musicianship or the compositions or the riff, but the atmosphere and the darkness that it creates.

Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson certainly doesn't play the fastest music, the heaviest music or the most technical music, but it doesn't matter since all that matters are feelings created by the atmosphere of the music. I can go on and on writing that this is dark as a pitch-black night in a buried coffin and such, but I won't, I will leave it up to you to decide if you are interested in this kind of music and if you are I will urge you to listen. Listen please, it's just one hour of your life...

This is actually a very good and horror-filled album, perfect mood music. I recommend it to any fan of drone doom that doesn’t have it already and to everyone prepared for a dark and sinister journey without a light in the end of the tunnel.

I give it 85% with a lot of minus points to the ending of "bassAliens".