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Well holy shit. - 95%

mckickflip, June 19th, 2007

3 LP's of nothing but beautiful, beautiful drone doom metal. And just as Kim Thayil wrote on the liner notes, there is nothing rock about this album.

If you have the vinyl version you'll find that there is a "hidden" third vinyl, which is actually meant to be a prelude to the rest of the album. I assume it's the third one because you don't find this track (both sides are one track) on the normal CD release. But nonetheless it sets the mood right away. You hear a gong and the guitars go full blast into one big, long chord. After a good amount of Wata's drone solo and feedback, about 13 minutes in, one of the guitars starts to sound like something from Earth's Hex or Hibernaculum albums (non-distorted drone is the best way I can put it) while the other continues to drone on no different than before.

After that (if you are lucky enough to have that track) comes Etna. Talk about an album opener. Sounds like sunn0))) and Boris doing their own things, but the result is an amazing track neither group would have produced on their own. All I have to say about N.L.T. is that it's double bass and drums only, and the double bass is so low that it almost blew out my old crap Bose speakers.

The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep) is where I think this album truly shines through. It's not doom metal like the other tracks are. Jesse Sykes came in to do the vocals on this one. I have to say her voice works well with this track. This is the only other track where the guitars sound like something out of Hex or Hibernaculum. The drums are soft and distant sounding, but they never lose that drone feel. Stephen O'Malley does the piano on this one. Mindblowing track.

Akuma no Kuma is the least interesting of the songs. Joe Preston does the vocals through a vocoder on this one which I thought was kind of cool, but I still don't understand why it wasn't something any of the guys from sunn or Boris couldn't do.

Fried Eagle Mind is a pretty cool drone track. Wata does the vocals as well as "space guitar" on this one. Most of the song is just made up of both of those: a very distant sounding guitar and Wata's slow vocals. About 6 minutes in we get some massive feedback, just as far away sounding as Wata's guitar.

Blood Swamp is a great track, and the most sunn-like of all of them in that it gives off that creepy, melancholy kind of feeling. But the two bands together have so many guitars to work with that they really use the potential of each guitars. It sounds like two guitars are doing sunn-esque droning tuned super-low, and another two guitars are playing some sort of insane feedback solo.

I wish I could put how this album sounds into words better, but my god if everyone doesn't deserve to hear this.