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Taking the Sunn0))) drone metal idea to its limit - 75%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, January 10th, 2012

Superior to "White1" and sounding like it really means business, this album revels in taking the Sunn0))) drone concept to its farthest limit. The grand declaration of war sounds off in opener "Hell-O)))-Ween", a series of monumental twisty-turning guitar riffs that are actually very restrained and not at all scary. The weather changes in "bassAliens" - the withdrawn guitar scrapings bring up a dark chilly feeling and the space embracing the piece seems cold and damp. Guitar tones suggest raindrops and drones hint at mists and grey clouds drifting toward us; as the track progesses, choppy textures herald harsh winds and other disturbances in the atmosphere and beyond.

Pride of place though goes to "Decay2 [Nihil's Maw]" on which Sunn0))) men Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley lead their guests Rex Ritter, Joe Preston and Dawn Smithson through a bleak and windswept post-apocalyptic desert soundscape. Out of this desolation arises Attila Csihar, a prophet-shaman recently returned from the world of the dead, to utter despairing lyrics derived from the ancient Indian Vedas scriptures: they warn of the Age of Kali or Kali-yuga whose denizens' worship of materialism, worldly success and superficiality is frighteningly much like ours and whose decline and destruction surely portend our own civilisation's decay and death. Csihar's guttural sermons, dry and unemotional and conveying the impassive nature of the Hindu gods, sure do pack an almighty punch and the Sunn0)))-led musicians are wise to provide minimal backing only. Taking Csihar on board was a master-stroke and he has indeed acquitted himself well in live performances with the band.

I wrote an original version of this review for The Sound Projector (Issue 13) in 2005; that issue is now out of print and no soft copy exists as far as I know.