Sunn O))) - Kannon

by Rob Taylor Rating:9 Release Date:2015-12-04

The dark lords again ascend from Middle Earth, this time without the unsettling baritone of Scott Walker, and return to the familiar domain of deep growling vocals, foredoomed chanting (amusingly reminding me of a chorus of drunken sailors), minor-key atonalism, chromatic chord progressions and fuzzed-out misanthropy.

Sunn 0))) have always been visceral musicians. However, their superb atmospherics are evocative of many things. I liken the effect to the artist, Burial. It is music of imagination, of conjuring. 

The chills in your spine from listening to this music continue unabated until, in 'Kannon 3', a quite remarkable thing happens, as if Rowland S Howard and Robert Fripp dropped in with their electric guitars, and lifted the music from its hellish cauldron. Music that appeared bogged in grey sludge suddenly brightens in the manner of a Vaughan Williams symphony; and it’s an oddly beautiful moment (repeated twice). Not traditionally beautiful, but an unexpected resolution which changes your perception of all the music that comes before it.

Sunn 0)))’s musical excursions up to that moment are unyielding and implacable. This was not to be music with a happy ending. It was music that water-boarded its listeners into a state of despair. That they find this resolution 4 ½  minutes into 'Kannon 3' changes the character of the music, delivering a Wagnerian ‘Tristan chord’ and releasing the music from its unremittent misery.

Kannon is a brilliant metal mini-symphony. 

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