CD £10.49 SUNN200
CD on Southern Lord.
Vinyl LP £17.99 SUNN200LP
180g vinyl LP on Southern Lord. Edition of 3000 copies.
I'm coming to the home stretch of this week's review marathon and running out of time so I have to make the frankly jarring aesthetic leap from the earnest '80s tweepop of Helen and the Horns straight over to this slow-burning slab of theatrical dirgery from Sunn O))) and Ulver. Thankfully this is one of the records where you already know what it's going to sound like and whether or not you want it so I don't have to write too much, and a lot of that can just be about how different it was from the last thing I reviewed.
It starts in ominous, soundtrack-like fashion with some shimmering guitar drones, occasional blasts of shuddering bowels-of-hell bass, and a lone spaghetti western trumpet squeaking plaintively all over it. Before long a piano joins in and the trumpet gets jazzier. I have to say this is more trumpety than I expected, but by the time you reach the crashing doom riff at the end of the track it's a heady release which the brass seems to provide an unexpected element of light to (perhaps hence the title 'Let There Be Light').
Things get darker on track two though. Is that a bass or a tuba? I'm running out of time! There are solar winds and more shimmering guitars and I don't know if I can hear vocals or not. This is more the dense and terrifying plod I was expecting.
The epic closer 'Eternal Return' has some squeaky violins and a sad little three-chord sequence, it really sounds like it should be on the soundtrack to the new Jim Jarmusch film, it's all opium atmospherics and weeping melodies which drift in and out of focus. I could sit around with this on loop for ages, it's intoxicating. I can't though because I have more reviews to do and not much time. The song changes later on with vocals and stuff but it's the opening passage that's really knocking me out today. This is an interesting and very listenable collaboration.
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