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Plenty of Surprises. - 83%

caspian, October 3rd, 2006

The idea of a Boris and Sunn O))) collaboration is definetly something that will polarize people. A lot of people will be disgusted at the very thought.. Two terrible bands doing one inaccessible, meaningless slab of noise as 'art'. However, weird drone fans (like me) have been sporting massive boners ever since it got announced. The result, however, isn't as extreme as I expected, with Boris and Sunn O))) branching out of their usual sounds to produce a massively psychedlic and surprisingly accessible stoner drone album.

Still, hardcore drone fans will still find some stuff to satisfy them here. 'Etna' is hardly as out there as Sunn's Black One effort, but it's a solid, super heavy drone tune with some crushing riffing and some stoned-as-hell style drumming, while N.L.T is some sub bass ambience, which could even appeal to those who hate ambience. Blood Swamp is another epic drone song, possibly the most droney, and definetly the hugest song on here, with waves of cosmic noise crushing down onto you. It should have Sunn fans salivating. These songs weren't amazing for me, but I enjoyed them nonetheless.

However, it's unlikely that those are the songs that will get the most attention. The Sinking Belle is a very gentle, droney ballad with melodic female vocals (Someone else is guesting, I don't know who though.) Gentle delayed guitars and lap steel (maybe?) float around in the mix, with the vocals and the piano drifting throughout the mix. While it is a ballad, it's by far the heaviest song on here. Completely desolate and depressing, and also completely awesome. Akuma no Kuma sounds like a version of Iron Man slowed down by 400%, and with an extremely stonery feel to it. Seriously, this is the most stoned track I've ever had the pleasure of listening too, whether it's the filtered vocals, the synths cooking away, the occaisonal use of a gong, or the steady bass roar hanging around in the mix. Stoner Ambient.. I could just imagine a massive group of ambient dudes getting super stoned and basing entire albums of this one song. As I'm sure you can imagine, it's a cool song.

This album is not at all what I expected from Boris and Sunn, and that's a good thing. The drone stuff is pretty well done, though both bands have done it better by themselves, but the middle two tunes are both completely unique and totally awesome. I'm giving it 83%.. Because while I can imagine Sinking Bell and Akuna no Kuma in my playlist for a long, long time, I can see myself listening to the other 4 tracks all that much. Still, I would say this is a must for all you drone fans. Download, then buy when it comes out. SImple!