Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I bought the brand new sunn O))) vs. Boris album last week, and it's really beautiful. Not exactly the word one would expect to use describing a collaboration between two monstrously heavy metal bands, but indeed the one most apt.

As described by Warpmart: This collaboration between Southern Lord's doom masters, is everything that it promises to be, as Sunn 0))) and Boris conceptualize, write and record together. 'Altar' picks up on the best aspects of both bands and pushes them forward over a series of varied tracks, ranging from the stormy instrumental workout of opener 'Etna', to beautiful, even romantic stuff like the 'Sinking Belle' featuring Boris' female singer Takeshi's delicate, spiritual vocals. Throughout the album, the group employ more electronics, more treatments and a more diverse range of atmospheres to present their vision, and it really works. The standout for me personally is 'Akuma No Kuma', which sounds like Black Sabbath's 'Iron Man should have sounded, as Joe Preston's voice gets vocodered over banks of vintage electronics and bass. It's a killer track, sounding like the futuristic musical equivalent of Mobeius' science-fiction comic that coined the term 'Heavy Metal', psychedelic iron machines tripping through torn metal landscapes. As ever with Southern Lord's output the sleeve is absolutely immaculate, stunningly beautiful, with a full colour book style CD case.

Back in June sunn O))) collaborated with visual artist Banks Violette, who cast Sunn's entire stage set in salt. The band then played live in the basement of the gallery on duplicate gear, hidden from view. More on the installation/performance here, and check Stephen O'Malley's blog here for the latest sunn O))) news and views.

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