Sunn O))): Kannon review – daunting but oddly relaxing drone-metal

The titans of abstract metal return with a new exercise in heavy meditation

Sunn O)))’s depth is, for some, their biggest attraction. Both in terms of sound – bowel-rumbling doom metal – and outlook: Kannon’s liner notes were written by critical theorist and performance artist Aliza Shvarts, who turned heads with her 2008 abortion-based work while studying at Yale.

On their first album since collaborating with Scott Walker on Soused in 2014, Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson are on a deep dive again. A triptych, inspired in part by the buddhist deity Guanyin Bodhisattva, Kannon is an immersive exercise in metal meditation and repetition. The first track – clocking in at 12min 50sec – sees them marry a creeping riff with growls and reverb-drenched snarls; the second barely lifts the pace, with feedback giving way to chanting and a high-pitched wail; the third gives more room to the guttural noises and screams that feel like pitched-down black metal.

It’s a daunting 30 minutes of music, but there’s something surprisingly calming about Kannon, something that hints at the hidden depths beneath Sunn O)))’s cloak-and-dagger routine.


Lanre Bakare

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Scott Walker + Sunn O))): Soused review – menacing but surprisingly melodic
The collaboration between Scott Walker and experimental drone-rockers Sunn O))) is a menacing but surprisingly melodic treat, writes Jon Dennis

Jon Dennis

16, Oct, 2014 @7:00 PM

Article image
Sunn O))): Kannon review – back to their drone metal roots
Play it loud enough and the Seattle-based duo’s latest album offers thrills with the disorientation

Phil Mongredien

06, Dec, 2015 @8:00 AM

Article image
Sunn O))) & Ulver: Terrestrials – review
Avant garde US metal heroes Sunn 0))) team up with Norwegian prog outfit Ulver for a wondrously inventive collaboration, writes Jamie Thomson

Jamie Thomson

30, Jan, 2014 @11:15 PM

Article image
Tanya Tagaq: Retribution review – apocalyptic growls and lupine snuffles

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

20, Oct, 2016 @9:45 PM

Article image
We're doomed: how Sunn O))) made metal for the masses
With their positivity, euphoria and transcendence, the group open up a portal for converts to metal, turning it into high art

John Doran

20, Nov, 2019 @10:33 AM

Newsted: Heavy Metal Music – review
The power of Jason Newsted's new album suggests his departure is the reason Metallica lost their edge, writes Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson

01, Aug, 2013 @8:00 PM

Article image
From charred death to deep filthstep: the 1,264 genres that make modern music
A ‘data alchemist’ has split music into over 1,000 bewildering microgenres. But what lies out there beyond witch house, and what on Earth does skweee sound like?

Rob Fitzpatrick

04, Sep, 2014 @4:30 PM

Article image
Opeth: Pale Communion review – strange, intricate prog-metal genius
Sweden's Opeth return with another uncompromisingly creative but admirably coherent record, writes Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson

21, Aug, 2014 @10:45 PM

Article image
Conan: Blood Eagle review – macabre, Lovecraftian metal from Liverpool
This Liverpool doom trio's new album is an uncompromising onslaught of slow-motion riffs and hellish bellowing, writes Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson

27, Feb, 2014 @9:00 PM

Article image
Sunn O))) review – gods of noise build a colossal drone henge
Anyone can play loud, but the Seattle masters of slow metal turn noise into an overwhelming physical experience

Malcolm Jack

28, Oct, 2019 @3:00 PM