SUNN O))) – Monoliths & Dimensions (2009)

Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions There are a lot words that people who aren’t familiar with extreme music will attribute to Sunn O))) upon first listening to them, but the first word that comes to my mind when I think about Sunn O))), though, is quite different: spiritual. Sunn O))) are an incredibly spiritual band, but not in the way you think – Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley aren’t out to serenade your soul; they’re out capture it. And on Monoliths & Dimensions, the band imprison it in the most primal and elegant dungeon they’ve ever fashioned.

Beyond their signature, apocalyptic low-end drones, Sunn O)) augment this, their newest album, with damn near everything in musical existence: conch shell players, various choirs, swaths of horns and strings, pianos, synths, organs, tamburas, flutes and clarinets, and the demented vocals of Mayhem vocalist Attila Csihar. But given that this is a Sunn O))) album, none of these instruments fit into these pieces the way you might think. When all is said and done, the band up not with an orchestral album, but with four monstrous, ravaging hymns, old as the Earth, and every bit as cunning, vicious and unforgiving.

Sunn O)))’s music has always been unrelentingly visceral, but listening to Monoliths and Dimensions is an awe-inspiring and terrifying experience, akin to staring down an insatiable black hole. Horrifying, yes, but there’s something strangely beautiful and poetic about it, something that certainly hasn’t been exhibited on any of their previous albums. It’s always a great surprise when a band you think you have figured out manage to surprise you. It’s even better when they damn near unravel your spirit doing it.

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One Response to “SUNN O))) – Monoliths & Dimensions (2009)”

  1. […] gifts as musicians are best applied in a more structured environment, and in smaller doses – Sunn O))) would probably be able to make such a thing captivating, but Saxon Shore turn it into an endurance […]

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