D/B Recommended: Sunn O))) Live in Berlin @ Volksbühne/Prater

Sonntag, Mai 24, 2009 Berlin @ Volksbühne im Prater / Kastanienallee 7 – 9 / Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg). Sunn O))) (pronounced simply sun) is an American drone metal band in its broadest sense; however, the band incorporates elements of the dark ambient, black metal and noise genres as well.

Sunn O))) – it took the night to believe

The band consists of Stephen O’Malley (also of Khanate and Burning Witch) and Greg Anderson (of Goatsnake).

O’Malley and Anderson met in Seattle in 1991, when they were in high school and community college, respectively. Sunn O))) is named after the Sunn amplifier brand, whose logo includes a circle next to the “SUNN” banner with waves heading off to the right (the band use this logo in the cover art of many releases); a literal interpretation of the logo produces “Sunn O)))”. In interviews Stephen O’Malley has stated the name was also chosen as a play on the name of the band Earth, pioneers of drone music throughout the 1990s, reasoning that Sunn O))) “revolved around Earth.”

Sunn O))) – Báthory Erzsébet

Their sound is extremely slow and heavy, using droning guitars, frequently heavily drop-tuned to extremely low tunings such as drop A and drop B, accompanied by feedback and other sound effects to create their soundscapes. There is very little drumming and a lack of any discernible beat. When performing live the band wear ‘grim robes’ (long hooded cloaks), fill the air with fog, and play at deafening volume.

The band release most of their music through the label they founded in 1998, Southern Lord Records. However, they released ØØ Void, their second album, on Rise Above Records, Hydra Head Records, and Dirter Productions, with the latter pressing the album as a double vinyl. The Grimmrobe Demos was first released also on Hydra Head Records. It was later issued as a double picture record set by Outlaw Recordings and finally reissued by Southern Lord in 2004.


Recently, Sunn O))) has been experimenting with a variety of drone styles and sounds, progressing the primarily guitar and bass style of The Grimmrobe Demos and ØØ Void. On White1 and White2, Sunn O))) noticeably expanded on conceptualization by inviting several guests (see collaborations below), resulting in everything from quiet meditative ambient sounds (“A Shaving of the Horn that Speared You” from White1) to a bizarre bass experiment track (“bassAliens” from White2). Black One continues this direction, utilizing far more electronics, synthesis and other instrumentation than earlier Sunn O))) material, yet still marking a significant return to their traditional sound.

Unlike related artists in the drone metal and dark ambient fields, they have enjoyed a high level of popularity from fans, and are widely regarded as leaders in the genre, with recognition of several newpapers like the edition of The New York Times Magazine of May 28, 2006, Sunn O))) was featured in an article called “Heady Metal,” with both members in their signature cloaks. Sunn O))) was also shown in the August 2007 issue of Q Magazine (the “loud issue”), with their album White1 being named the 18th heaviest album of all time, just above AC/DCs Back in Black and below Aphex Twin’s album …I Care Because You Do.

The band’s seventh studio album, Monoliths & Dimensions, is due to be released in May 2009.