Source: Bandcamp Daily.
Over the course of Sunn O)))’s two-decade-long career, the group has managed to find a lot of space within space. Core members Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley have become infamous for their lumbering approach to modern classical, black metal, and noise—or to put it in layman’s terms, for stretching out every last, hulking riff for as long as possible.
But the duo’s latest record, Life Metal, is a bit of an outlier. Produced by noise rock icon Steve Albini, it finds Sunn O))) instilling their famously-foreboding dronescapes with more warmth and clarity. “You can hear every single amplifier if you focus on it,” O’Malley says. “There are a lot of other frequencies in the music that haven’t come across as clearly before, especially in the high frequencies. That gives a real vibrancy to the proceedings.”
Anderson and O’Malley are metal dudes first and foremost, though, as evidenced by the cvlt shout-outs scattered throughout the record. The first thing the listener hears is a sample of Bathory’s “Odens Ride Over Nordland,” the iconic intro to one of black metal’s genre-defining albums, Blood Fire Death (a ballsy first impression, to say the least). The title track also contains an Easter egg; it’s named for a diss ascribed to Swedish death metal legends Entombed when they signed with Columbia, which they discovered hanging out with ex-Entombed member Nicke Andersson.
Ahead of their latest, we asked Anderson and O’Malley to pick some of their favorite Bandcamp releases. Their selections prove emblematic of Sunn O)))’s dynamic: Anderson’s all about metal and punk, while O’Malley’s partial to experimental music. Here’s what they’ve been listening to lately.