Rumbling Guitars and Joe Preston Playing a Jackhammer

Sunn 0))) - Oracle

That’s pretty much what one should expect from the latest by critically acclaimed drone doom act, Sunn 0))).  Low, thick guitars that slowly choke the life from the listener like a thick, black miasma.  An atmosphere as bleak and morose as the inevitability of death itself.  On Oracle we see Sunn traversing mostly familiar territory with solid if unspectacular results.

And yeah, Joe Preston plays a goddamn jackhammer.  Nevermind the fact that Preston has a reputation of playing some of the thickest, chest vibrating bass lines ever (such as on the phenomenal Melvins’ self-titled/Lysol), that motherfucker needed to rock a jackhammer.  You know, the jackhammer is a pretty metal instrument.  It’s fast, destructive, tough, and powerful.  I can imagine Christopher Walken in his famed SNL character saying to Joe in the studio, “I need more jackhammer!”

Now that I’ve wasted a paragraph talking about the merits of the jackhammer as a musical instrument, I should probably talk about the song it makes its amazing debut in.  “Belurol Pusztit” is probably the best song on Oracle, which is a shame, because it leads off.  Not just a smattering of slow, chunky riffs, “Belurol” is more content to be dark ambient than drone doom.  Guitars lightly lumber, giving a sense of foreboding in this hopeless dungeon of a song, as if the listener is imprisoned and merely waiting to be taken to the gallows.  The voice of the executioner can be heard in the midst of this desolation, whispering tales of torture and death.  Don’t put this song on at family gatherings unless you want everyone to wonder what type of drugs you’re on.

If “Belurol” is the agonizing wait before the trip to the gallows, then “Orakulum” must be the last rites, the tightening of the noose, and the slow journey to strangulation that characterized early period hangings.  This song focuses on Sunn’s riff-heavy side that grabbed the attention of so many on 2005’s Black One.  It is certainly nothing we haven’t seen before, but still manages to entrance in all of its macabre glory.  The final track, “Helio)))sophist” is a sort of a combination of the first two, featuring more vile chanting over top of unsettling sound that eventually becomes engulfed in a maelstrom of pure terror.

So yeah, it’s more Sunn 0))), which is pretty much never a bad thing.  Now where the fuck is my new Khanate album, Stephen?


~ by theoberlander on May 25, 2007.

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