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On This Album, It Really Is "Just Noise" - 25%

1NumberHigherThan665, January 23rd, 2011

Now, Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley have come a very long way with their little drone metal project Sunn O))) in the span of ten years. From ØØ Void to Monoliths and Dimensions they have made their mark on a genre with very few innovators to begin with. I love Sunn O))) to death, and I will defend them when encountered with the barrage of criticism that comes their way. Any fan of the group has probably encountered the "it's just noise" criticism many, many, MANY times. and probably had several ways to prove otherwise. But I guarantee one of those ways was not having them listen to "The Grimmrobe Demos".

Even as a big Sunn O))) fan, this album just puts me to sleep trying to listen to it. There is no real attempt here to make anything innovative or hell, even anything interesting. The whole point of this album was (and I'm not kidding) was to mimic the style of the band Earth. Now what does a drone metal band trying to copy the sound of another drone metal band make? An incredibly boring album. I'm sorry if that makes me sound ignorant but for me it's true. Nothing here that made Sunn O))) the great band they are today is on this album.

It's nothing but 3 songs (4 if you have the vinyl) of the same monotonous droning. No effort here is made to make the songs sound distinct from one another, so what we get is just a big cluster fuck of one sound stretched out for 70 minutes. The perfect way to put this into perspective is imagine it's the 80's and you're a huge metallica fan. You have RTL, Master of Puppets and Justice. So obviously since you love their work so much you'd want to listen to their debut Kill Em All. You find a copy of it, and when you finally listen to it...every song sounds exactly like "Hit the Lights". Nothing makes the songs unique or original, it's literally like listening to the same song for one whole album. That's what listening to this album sounds like.

So in closing, don't waste your time with this album. Because like what many Sunn O))) detractors say about their current work this album really is "just noise".

It's pretty grimm, alright. - 65%

almightyjoey, June 20th, 2009

I love Sunn O))). I'll get that out the way with now. I know they're a controversial musical group, but I respect them for what they do, and for the most part, I enjoy it. However, though, this is my most recent Sunn O))) album, and probably my least favourite.

It's a very good album. Because it's my least favourite doesn't necessarily mean I don't like it. I can accept it for what it is: 100% pure drone doom from the early days. It's just that by the time the album's over, I've zoned out, and lost interest. I appreciate it that the band sort of "expected" this, and put little sound effects, and a few rare chord changes in to keep you on your toes, but ultimately, it doesn't end up doing much extra.

It is absolutely superb background music, though. The almost ambient nature of this is excellent to lie down to after a hard day, and just relax to. It's definitely dark and disturbing, but there's something relaxing about it. It's also pretty nice to have playing on media player when you're on the PC. (I'm listening to it right now, as I'm typing this, actually). While it's stating the obvious, I'll say it anyway. When (or if) you pick this up, don't expect any 'It Took the Night to Believe's, or 'My Wall's. This is pure drone. Long, subharmonic, bass notes, driven slowly into your head. Drone. it does what it says on the tin. You love it or hate it.

Like I said, though, while it's a good album, it's very hard to listen to start-to-finish. You can't sit down with a walkman and headphones and listen to all 70+ minutes in one sitting. Or at least I couldn't. It's more background music, in my eyes. Depending on how you listen to it, you may enjoy it more.

Brown Notes - 80%

SoylentGreenIsPeople, May 2nd, 2009

The name Sunn 0))) has become synonymous with drone. This name is an allusion to the band Earth, whose early works Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson, the duo comprising Sunn 0))), have borrowed heavily from.

While it may not be entirely original in style, it is executed well enough to satisfy.

There is no drumming on this album, just endless waves of brown notes. This is not music to which one taps his foot. This is music to relax to, preferably at a volume just high enough not to cause hearing damage. That's if all of it can be considered music. Some parts of this album lack any rhythmic structure at all, and sound more like a kind or white noise one might get from some malfunctioning electronics. I was not very impressed with these parts; I found them to be dull.

However, there is one stand out track.

Defeating Earth's Gravity showcases powerful (yet distant) chords that fuck one's ears to the point of ecstasy. It is very repetitive and slow, but that's exactly what makes it so wonderful. The instruments have a soft, warm tone, and it's pleasant to hear them sounding off on their slow, percussion-less march.

One may think that an album with just one good song is a ripoff, but keep in mind- - this thing is fifteen minutes long!

o))) Yeah! - 89%

Erin_Fox, October 28th, 2006

In the vastness of the universe there is no known entity that manifests such a supreme sub-sonic force as Sunn. Transmitting volcanic, droning signals that flow like lava slowly, destroying each bit of organic material in its path, like a slow motion wave of liquid fire, the four tracks included on this nicely repackaged record are a great treat for fans of the group as these recordings mark the introduction to this duo’s brilliant brand of super cosmic invocations and advanced techniques in droning aural communication that stimulate the senses...

You simply cannot get the proper effect from this music unless it is played loudly on a stereo with good bass. These dark rumblings and extraterrestrial musical communications will literally shake you to your core with an intense barrage of low frequency fuzz and sludge.

“Grimm And Bear It” is over sixteen minutes of atonal disharmonic destruction that has been added as a bonus to the three original demo tracks, making this previously rare find available as well.

Clocking in at close to seventy minutes, the four tracks contained on this disc are a mind expanding jaunt into an expansive musical unknown. Simply put, listening to Sunn achieves an effect more powerful than the most potent of mind altering drugs at a mere fraction of the cost.

Included is a great piece of literature that accompanies the feel of the music quite well, making for an interesting read while indulging in the sub-harmonic structures here.

Southern Lord Recordings really did a top notch job with this reissue, ensuring that the growing legions of Sunn fans have the opportunity to hear these initial recordings, which are without a doubt, classic Sunn.

If you have been grooving on “White1” or “White2” this recording will fine addition to your collection. If you have not been graced as of yet with the sheer audio deconstruction that is Sunn, there’s no better place to start then at the beginning…

Drone till death woooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - 90%

caspian, October 19th, 2006

If there's one thing about Sunn that people will agree on, it's that they polarize people. (And that they play real slow stuff, I guess.) As you can see from the other reviews, people either love or hate this album. This album is no exception. This album is Sunn O))) at their most primitive, basic and unoriginal, with nothing but straight up Earth worship. No ambience. Few noise elements. No vocals.

While some people will find the lack of experimentation annoying, that's what I like most about this. While I do like it when Sunn go all ambient, the thing that first attracted me to this band was the super slow, super low riffs. And basically, that's what this album is. Super low, completely non catchy, totally hypnotic riffs. The songs are so big, so sludgy, so damn awesome. There's no point at all describing them- they're the purified essence of heavy. All you've heard about Sunn O))) (The slowness, the massive downtuning, the glacial crawl of the riffs) is here, in it's most purified essence. If there is a 'typical' Sunn album, it's probably this one.

Im trying to think up a few clever metaphors to describe this album, but really it's quite hard. I can sum up this album in one sentence- Incredibly slow downtuned riffs repeated for a very long time. Sure it may not be everyone's idea of fun, but I can't get enough.

Cac A))) - 26%

cinedracusio, February 21st, 2006

Yeah, girl! C'mon and listen to drone metal, the new sensation! Just listen to those motherfuckers from Boris, Earth and Sunn O)))!
Wait... this is not true. In fact, Sunn O))) managed to shit out a very annoying piece (just like KissAss Void). There is not too much experimentation on this thing, like on later Sunn albums. Actually, all that Sunn did on this was arrange two or three mammoth riffs per song, downtuned as fuck, and along with the buzzing guitars came in some electronic noise samples to maintain kinda spacey and abstractized feeling. No way, there is no attraction nor abstractization in those buzzing riffs and neither in those frantic bleeps or what the fuck they were. The lack of this album is mainly the non-melodicity of the riffs, touching only lower notes and not attractive at all. It does not matter if it is heavier than any other band in this vein, because there are no interesting melodic themes kept through the album. Good intentions, but degenerating into crappy similarity.
Anyway, Sunn fans and fans of original music, I bet that a lot of buttfux would tell you that shithead cinedracusio's wrong, so just buy it or download it, but do not say that I did not warn you! I recommend you White2 or Black1, these are the best that you can get from Sunn. Otherwise, get some Boris or Earth.

Impressive and Mammoth.... - 85%

RickJames, February 3rd, 2006

Sunn O)))’s “The Grimmrobe Demos” can be a great start for those who are looking into listening to drone metal. Where “White 2” may be too abstract, or “Flight of the Behemoth” may be too abrasive for beginning listeners, TGD may be fertile grounds for a push into the doom drone genre. TGD is mainly based on rhythm. And yes, Sunn O))) has rhythms thought their entire discography, but this one (as well as “Black 1”) has some of that great and epic repetition.

This demo has some truly mammoth riffs. “Black Wedding” is very simple, but it gives off this somewhat cataclysmic or apocalyptic dread (after its stagnant riffs fade), which leads into “Defeating: Earth’s Gravity”, my favorite track. “Defeating” almost gives the grim feeling that someone is watching as the entire universe erodes, evoking that wondrous and doomy atmosphere that Sunn O))) is well known for. The end of this song (as well as dispersed throughout) is especially terrific in its show of experimental wizardry. There is this bassy sound, which fluctuates into this flowing stream, chaotic, yet, calm (is this the sub-bass?!). This further gives off that aura of the universe meeting its demise, corroding, and dwindling.

“Dylan Carlson”, the next track, is actually named after the guitarist of Earth. And if it’s a tribute, a great one it is. This track has an aura of entering into some entirely otherworldly existence, heralding in a new age. There is some great bass here. The riff patterns here are great; the depth and warmth of the sound is compelling. Clocking in at 21:30, it’s smooth, obsidian, with an unmistakably epic, fist-raising attitude, abounds here.

TGD was re-released in 2005 with another track, a static-covered, murky track called “Grimm and Bear It”. This track is the most chaotic, with static slime covered all over it. As if something was rising from the depths of some volcano, belching feedback, with smoke covering and distorting its silhouette. The song also contains the main riff in Dylan Carlson; its viral infection of it is astoundingly harsh and grim(the entire song doesn’t utilize the riff the whole time). It’s somewhat difficult at times to pay attention, but it’s highly instable background makes me at times ponder what mystical vistas Sunn O))) is trying to present here. Great music to ponder off to those unforeseen lands….

The demos are also re-released with this majestically apocalyptic and annihilating poetry written by writer/artist/designer/filmmaker Seldon Hunt, giving some chilling prose in his poem, “Ode to the Grimmrobe”:
Feel every human memory in a journey that lasts forever, drown in the fathomless liquid of a billion forgotten dreams, there will be no awakening, the overwhelming collapse of sanity breaks your bones into splinters and your skin turns to mud and puss, sink further and further, so heavy and impossible….

It’s great to read this while listening. It’ll take a while, it’s like ten pages!

This release, as well as other Sunn O))) releases never fail to captivate the imagination, and have characteristically superb artwork and aesthetics, even in their demo. Later releases are topped still. Drown now in the splendors of Sunn O)))’s infinite drone!!!

Worryingly powerful and original - 100%

Woodworship, January 13th, 2006

Well the previous review is not representative of this mind-numbingly awesome (and no I didn't just make that up) album, I say album as it is in fact album length with three tracks clocking in at over 50 minutes.
The first track, is without a doubt the aural equivalent of an asteroids journey through space, you can picture it rumbling along, unstoppable and monolithic in its devastation. Soon after the start you can hear a small electronic wailing type noise (sorry I'm not actually a musician so I don't know what it actually is) but this adds another dimension to this track appearing here and there under the gargantuan riffs and down-tuned guitars. This euphoric (in my humble opnion) track extends for 14 minutes and 59 seconds of glorious bass/noise/heaviness that really has yet to be matched by any of their later releases, with the possible exception of the opening track on White2: Hell-O)))-Ween, and being a huge fan of that particular track I would happily listen to this sort of song for a further 15 minutes.
Anyway onto the next track, (here I took a break to finish the track) this track continues in much the same fashion, to might delight upon first hearing it only if anything the intensity is increased and the little wail in the background is lost, thus focusing the song more on the pure hypostatic(-ness) of it. The track climaxes to a strange ululating finish of strange electronic Despite the nearly 20 minute duration, this track is phenomenal and should be heard by all fans of drone, disregarding the moron who wrote the previous review who clearly should have known better than to venture into new dimensions of originality that WASP (are they metal anyway?) could not grasp if they were granted immortality to do it with.
The final and longest track I'm sure actually physically damaged me when it started, I felt my ears ringing and my clothes vibrating from the unspeakable bass, and then we continue with our exploration of abyssic riffage and indescribable soundscapes. I give up my attempts to describe this at this point and charge you to listen to this demo as soon as you can.

N-O)))-T your A\-/eR(-)Ge BannD!?. - 7%

Danthrax_Nasty, September 8th, 2005

Ahh,(*yawn*), and that pretty much sums up this one.

I believe 7% is about equal to the effort put into the music on here (well, thats not true, I'm sure alot less than 7% whent into this record). Theres no real power,... just one feeble noise track after another, that attempt to be ambient, but lack any ambiance due to there poor construction, emotionless tone, and null redundance. What you'll get here is a few boring guitar patterns (I wouldnt refer to them as riffs, as you might infer something Metal in them, as I find nothing metal here what so ever) that play at a tempo which entirely bore-rifies the song, and leaves you feeling sleepy, disillusioned with human progress, and just ready to head over to your local used cd store, and trade this crap in for some WASP, or Angel Witch. And thats an indepth synapsis of this two bit snooze fest...

Its really hard to go on any further as this is one of the few albums that you can skip over 15 minutes of a song, and still be on the same "oh so doomy" slow as fuck, coma inducing, aggravatingly climaxless, distressingly useless, and ultimately poorly constructed crud (hell, you could literally jump from mid way through song one, and go to anywhere within the first 5 minutes of song 4, which wasnt even on the original release, and not even notice its another song, or any slight difference in the "quiet noise"). Minimalism is one thing, but this album seems more an exercise in "pathetic-ism", or "autism". There is no real definition, there is no real vision, there is no real feeling, this quite simply, and most blatantly sucks.

Dont get this, its not music, its not Metal, its just boring quiet noise sloshed together. Why anyone would call this even decent is beyond my rationale (or that of any person with even the slightest inkling of good taste).