wed 08/12/2021

Album: Sunn O))) - Metta, Benevolence - BBC 6 Music: Live on the Invitation of Mary Anne Hobbs | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Sunn O))) - Metta, Benevolence - BBC 6 Music: Live on the Invitation of Mary Anne Hobbs

Album: Sunn O))) - Metta, Benevolence - BBC 6 Music: Live on the Invitation of Mary Anne Hobbs

The Kings of Drone Metal reconfigure and reinterpret for the Beeb

Metta, Benevolence: heavier than merely heavy

Like most of the best things in life, it cannot be denied that the music of Sunn O))) is an acquired taste – and most certainly not for the faint hearted. Crushing and apocalyptic soundscapes dominate their largely instrumental drone metal, which is soaked in reverb, feedback and dissonant guitar sounds that focus fully on atmosphere rather than tunes and melodies.

Metta, Benevolence, a set recorded at the BBC Maida Vale studios for Mary Anne Hobbs’ Radio 6 show, during their October 2019 tour, sticks very much to Sunn O)))’s beatless, yet heavier-than-heavy template. However, with additional assistance from (among others) Stephen Moore’s trombone and Anna von Hausswolff’s voice and synthesizers, it is a performance that is even more monolithic than ever.

Made up of three tracks, two reinterpretations of pieces from the Pyroclasts album and a half-hour long take on “Troubled Air” from Life Metal, the compositions on Metta, Benevolence differ so greatly from their source material that they can easily be regarded as completely new music.

“Pyroclasts F” is a 15-minute, low, brooding drone of electric guitars and synths that slowly builds to an epic sound that is sinister and Gothic, with ghostly wailing from von Hausswolff. Howling feedback and a doomy vibe make for a cosmic stew that is both very heavy yet quite meditative. “Pyroclasts C#” similarly utilises von Hausswolff’s vocals but this time they are light and half-heard, floating above the thick primal soup, as it churns in a sonic cauldron, flavoured with plenty of reverb. Final track “Troubled Air” is like a hymn to the thunder gods. Muscular blasts of electric guitar and church organ sounds marinade in epic distortion until things are brought to a final conclusion by a long and considered trombone solo by Stephen Moore. It’s majestic and ritualistic stuff that brings a whole new dimension to the heaviness of these kings of drone metal.

It’s majestic and ritualistic stuff that brings a whole new dimension to the heaviness of these kings of drone metal

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters