Review Summary: A journey into desolate soundscapes.
It’s incredibly difficult to describe the appeal of Sunn’s music - not a lot of people will be eager to hear a 50 minute record that’s built around only a handful of songs with riffs that can last up to two minutes at 10BPM. The band - built up of Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley - rarely, if ever, adhere to a traditional rock / metal song structure, often opting instead to ride out many riffs, improvising as they go.
If you’ve listened to other Sunn records before, it’s incredibly similar, but this time the band have upped the atmosphere and the riffs like never before. The guitars sound particularly ominous and huge, and that’s something Sunn do far better than many of their contemporaries. Don’t be fooled though - although riffs are present, it is still incredibly slow and downtuned. At a high volume, the clean (as far as the genre’s standards go, anyway) production of Flight Of The Behemoth results in the extremely minimalist guitars sound suffocating, threatening almost. And that’s where the band score more points. The atmosphere present here is leagues above their previous releases, and indeed many releases within the genre as a whole. The bleakness conveyed throughout these 50 minutes brings about thoughts of trudging through dark forests during winter-time whilst wearing black robes.
The album’s flaws are evident in the middle - the two tracks which feature collaboration with Merzbow are disappointing to say the least. O))) Bow
1 and 2 sees the Japanese musician layer swirling electronic sounds and incredibly disjointed and atonal piano lines which interrupt and wreck the incredibly desolate atmosphere the band has been working towards for the past twenty-something minutes. And it’s not like Merzbow’s contributions are short either - he manages to fill twenty minutes of Sunn’s tracks with this. After this, the album isn’t quite the same. The album finishes on a high note though as the Metallica cover of For Whom The Bell Tolls
is an incredibly innovative and sinister spin on the original.
The only flaw to be found seems to be Merzbow's contributions which wreck any chance of "Flight of the Behemoth" being considered a classic among the genre. However, all contempt for the middle two tracks aside, the band have created yet another solid piece of doom influenced drone metal.