I’ve always found it difficult to get thrilled by SUNN O)))’ s perception of music, although I consider some moments in their career (like “Alice” or “Her Lips Were Wet With Venom”) to be exceptional. The compensation for their monotony comes in an elusive way, almost like creeping up on the listeners, throwing them in a meditative state of physical immobility and spiritual serenity.
However, for that mighty twist to occur, the gradual build up and introduction of varied new elements such as background effects (brass sections, electronic rhythms, keyboards, you name it) or at least the creation of multiple layers, of droning rhythms and melodies, is very much needed if not essential. Although, “Kannon” feels like a revisit of the “Monoliths and Dimensions” approach, it was not as easy for me to turn off my mind and let the reverb alienate my perception and dip me in the vibrating cosmos “Monoliths and Dimensions” introduced me to.
The general aura of the 3 songs is that of a lingering sensation, as if the slowly pulsating sounds wander aimlessly on the atmosphere and that lack of closure, takes a big chunk out of the ambiance and the hypnotic grandeur SUNN O))) aim for. Although, to be honest, Attila Csihar tries hard to create a terrifying sensation, that hovers over the head of the listener, sometimes chanting a grim psalm, others just gutturally spewing a torrent of accursed lyrics and groans.
The production also, does no justice, on this batch of SUNN O)))’ s ideas, since it’s relatively clean for their standards, thus reducing the huge volume that they (and we) so much adore through the “thinning” of that compact, abysmal wall of sound, they’ve gotten us used to. Most of the notes can be cleanly heard so, maybe this album, will cater to those who think the devil is in the details.
Another negative aspect, is the lack of innovation within the songs. Granted, I know not to expect many changes on the tunes of a band who’s build a name around achieving glory through repetition, but even in their most monolithic moments SUNN O))) had proven that they could twist the game in their favor, with just a small change in tune here, or a slightly altered riff there, something that seldom (or almost never) happens inside “Kannon” rendering it, to a somewhat “colorless” creation.
If you are a Sunn O))) worshiper or a drone enthusiast in general, take your time with “Kannon” and possibly you can find something you enjoy a midst the sea of reverb. For me, sadly, “Kannon” holds little replay value.
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