Music » CD Reviews

CD Review: Sunn0)))

Monoliths and Dimensions (Southern Lord)

comment

Monoliths & Dimensions, the seventh studio album from Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley's high-concept ensemble SunnO))), continues the band's tradition of alienating meat-and-potato metalheads while winning over experimental-music enthusiasts. It benefits from composer Eyvind Kang's adept and often subtle string and horn arrangements. But this isn't SunnO))) with the San Francisco Symphony — this is dynamic instrumentation that informs the band's literal wall of sound just as much as it's affected by it. While 2006's Black One evoked an inexorable sense of immediacy, Monoliths & Dimensions is a more patient, mature work with a wide range of dynamics.

"Aghartha" opens with the expected purgatory of guitars and develops slowly, as Attila Csihar recites poetry about "the hollow Earth" in low, guttural tones. The additional accompanists are understated and deliberate here, careful to take part in the musical conversation without dominating it, save for an appropriately assertive piano line provided by avant-jazz saxophonist Eric Walton (a.k.a. Skerik). Fans of Sunn0)))'s older material will feel right at home with "Hunting & Gathering," an outright riff jam with a male choir to boot. The widest orbits around the group's core of distorted and saturated tones are "Big Church" and "Alice." The former utilizes a women's choir led by Jessika Kenney and pauses for a haunting ceremonial bell. The latter blossoms from uncharacteristically warm guitars to verdant classical passages that evoke the slogan "maximum volume yields maximum results." Nick DeMarino

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.