Sunn O)))
White1


1.5
very poor

Review

by Matt Conrad USER (25 Reviews)
August 20th, 2006 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


In the past few months, I have had a love affair of sorts with the genres of post rock and post metal. The constant build-ups, the sparse, sometimes non-existent vocals, the walls of guitar, bass, and drums have encompassed a large portion of what I have listened to this summer. The images conjured by these songs and movements have inspired me, moved me, and (in this rare instance) angered and irritated me.

Sunn O))) are merely two guitarists, Steven O'Malley and Greg Anderson who use the Sunn bass amps to create a dreary, droning tone that can sound like intensely low feedback at times. Now, I have no problem with this sound, it can be quite enjoyable at times, but not here, not on White1. Perhaps its an acquired taste, but after sampling three albums of what seem like the exact same notes being reverberated for a period of close to a half an hour per track, I've yet to find anything enjoyable about it.

As stated above, my contempt for this album rests in the fact that there seems to be no variation whatsoever. I can take at least one song like that, for the mood and the atmosphere of it. But when you can construct an entire album using only as many notes as there are songs on the album, it bores me beyond redemption.

The misanthropy begins with the first track 'My Wall.' Starting with Sunn O)))'s signature drone, one might be able to condone this for a while. The dreary overtone can be enjoyable in a minimalist sense, that is until the lyrics enter the picture. You get the feeling that the guy speaking on this track is standing in front of a huge black wall in a long cloak. But if you listen closely to the lyrics, they are the most random, inane ones ever devised. As the single note rambles through the Sunn amp, this odd man laments and babbles about such things as (and I'm not kidding) "Johnny/jolly guitar," Steven, Greg and their amplifiers, a woman being a 'cocksucker' who 'went down' on some 'ding-dongs.' Higher feedback and what could be construed as wah-wah being used on one of the guitars is heard as the tirade of utter stupidity continues, and luckily ends at around the 11 minute mark. However, this song goes on for another 14 more. Do yourself a favor and skip it, because there is nothing rewarding to found upon finishing the song. It is sonic torture.

'The Gates of Ballard,' the middle track, adds nothing more in the instrumentation aspect of the record, as it seems like the same notes being played at the beginning of the previous track. What sounds like a female's voice can be heard yammering on for more than a minute in an odd language until the guitar goes even lower and we are treated to some drums. This is a nice break in the monotony of the first 26 minutes or so of the album, and ultimately what keeps it from sucking too badly. Until they drop out completely 8 minutes later and what remains is the most monotone note I’ve ever heard. More of this until a reprise of the beginning is heard and (thankfully) the drums return. They drop out once again as the end comes to save us from ultimate boredom.

A literal rumble brings upon the listener 'A Shaving of the Horn That Speared You.' This tone alternates between high and low for a while, never really deciding where it wants to go. A few, surprisingly clear chords resound near the two minute point. The rumble returns with said chords repeating and some melodic chants can be picked out of the cacophony of bleak atmosphere. This goes on for the remainder of the 17 minute track. The chants break up the monotony for a while, but they cannot redeem this album, no matter how hard they try.

I can enjoy ambience as much as the next person. One positive thing can be culled from this experience, and it is that I can get a lot of reading done whilst listening to these songs. Besides that, I find nothing remotely enjoyable about this album. It is drawn-out, obscenely annoying, and too repetitive to really be taken as something I can listen to again and again, as with other post rock/metal. Take my advice, do something constructive while you listen to White1. Its best and only purpose seems to be background music.

THE GOOD:
There are some breaks in the monotony.

THE BAD:
The dumbest lyrics and delivery concept imaginable on 'My Wall.'
Way too repetitive.
Can actually give me a headache.

THE RATING:
1.5/5



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user ratings (143)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
mykeedee (5)
Mood music for specific occasions....

the2stranger (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Syncratic
August 20th 2006


756 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I hate this album with a passion.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 20th 2006


16089 Comments


This really isn't nearly as bad as you make it out to be. At all. But it's perfectly understandable.

711
August 20th 2006


1341 Comments


Good review. Ive been wanting to listen to this band for a while now, but I suppose I wont go for this album

Syncratic
August 20th 2006


756 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I've tried with this album, but my patience was worn completely thin with it.

I still love post-anything.

Shadows
Moderator
August 20th 2006


2530 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

As much as I love strange extreme metal, I can't stand Sunn O))) at all. They give me the urge to mutilate my own genitals with a rusty scalpal. Then again, drone really isn't my thing.

Syncratic
August 20th 2006


756 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Hey, we should start a support group.

metallicaman8
August 20th 2006


4677 Comments


I'm hoping that statement was an exageration. Havne't heard anything from these guys.

Syncratic
August 20th 2006


756 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Well, it may appeal to you. I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from actually hearing it, I'm just stating my thoughts on it.

Neoteric
August 21st 2006


3243 Comments


I still don't get this band, it's just pointless droning to me.

the2stranger
August 27th 2006


130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You wrote a good review, but I can't agree with you on the rating.

It is drawn-out, obscenely annoying, and too repetitive to really be taken as something I can listen to again and again, as with other post rock/metal.

If you categorize this a post rock/metal, yes you'll be dissapointed as hell. Also the whole idea behind drone is droning out some very very repetitive sounds, so that you get absorbed and hypnothized by it.
Do you like any other drone bands? Cause if you don't I don't think reviewing an album of a genre you don't like is objective.

Syncratic
August 27th 2006


756 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

No, I haven't heard any other drone bands, actually, just this one. I don't plan on doing any more drone reviews unless I see something I really like, but that isn't likely.

the2stranger
August 27th 2006


130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Alright. If you want to check out some other drone bands though:
Khanate
Earth
Bunker
The idea is all pretty much the same, lenghty droning stuff. It\'s an aquirred taste though, took me ages to gt in to, but now I enjoy it a lot and not as just background music. This Message Edited On 08.27.06

Syncratic
August 27th 2006


756 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Maybe that will be the case, but I don't forsee it.

Thanks for checking out the review, though.

the2stranger
August 27th 2006


130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're welcome mate.

Avirov
December 29th 2008


1206 Comments


Psshawww. And hey, I love the thing about Johnny Guitar! Come on!This Message Edited On 12.29.08

cbmartinez
December 29th 2008


2525 Comments


my wall is fantastic



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