Friday, 4 December 2015

Sunn 0))) - Kannon Review

2009’s “Monoliths and Dimensions” was a bristling mire of tortured strings and shuddering guitar.  There wasn’t a moment of respite from the constant sense of imminent doom, making it a draining experience that stripped you of every emotion but intense depression and fear of the impending cosmic horror that was about to befall humanity.  As much as I respect them for achieving this level
of emotional involvement and physical interaction, I can’t say I was exactly “looking forward” to Sunn 0)))’s latest project “Kannon”.

The first track “Kannon Pt. 1” begins with a rather hopeful ambient tone, one far less distorted and dense than I was expecting.  However the droning guitar eventually creeps into the instrumental, dousing it in nihilistic atmosphere.  The creaking growling vocals instil the same sense of dread that “Monoliths and Dimensions” did, as they slink in and out of coherence, always lurking somewhere in the depths of the gnarled morass.  The song essentially never shifts in tone or pitch, there are no moments in which the listener breaks the surface of the instrumental, and this is perhaps its main problem.  

Bands like Deafheavan are able to keep a consistent tone whilst exploring other means of delivering it, whether that be through vibrant shoegaze and dream pop sections or otherwise.  Sunn 0))) generally don’t offer anything remotely deviating from the slow droning doom metal they’ve become so accustomed to. 

“Kannon Pt. 2” suffers from the same symptoms.  While these songs are certainly creative in their own way, variations of distorted droning over the same three or four chords for two albums now doesn’t constitute the kind of progression I’d hoped for.  “Kannon Pt. 3” is more of the same. 

It may be that my ear simply isn’t astute enough to decipher the intricate details that change throughout these songs.  But as far as I can tell, not only is “Kannon” a much shorter and less involving album than “Monoliths and Dimensions”, it’s also pretty much identical in the small amount that it does offer.  If you liked “Monoliths and Dimensions” then you’ll have no issue with “Kannon”, I would however only recommend that you stream it otherwise.

Charlie McCartney

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