Sunn O)))

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Sunn O)))
Sunn O))) - Brutal Assault 01.jpg
Sunn O))) performing in robes at Brutal Assault 2015
Background information
Origin Seattle, Washington, United States
Years active1998present
Labels Southern Lord
Associated acts

Sunn O))) (pronounced "sun") is an American experimental metal band from Seattle, Washington, that formed in 1998. The band is known for a heavy and slow sound, that blends diverse genres including drone, black metal, dark ambient, and noise rock, [6] and for very loud live performances.

Avant-garde metal subgenre of metal music

Avant-garde metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music loosely defined by use of experimentation and innovative, avant-garde elements, including non-standard and unconventional sounds, instruments, song structures, playing styles, and vocal techniques. Avant-garde metal is influenced by progressive rock and extreme metal, particularly death metal, and is closely related to progressive metal. Some local scenes include Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, and Seattle in the United States, Oslo in Norway, and Tokyo in Japan.

Seattle City in Washington, United States

Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 744,955 residents as of 2018, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metropolitan area's population stands at 3.94 million, and ranks as the 15th largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the United States.

Washington (state) State of the United States of America

Washington, officially the State of Washington, is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Named for George Washington, the first president of the United States, the state was made out of the western part of the Washington Territory, which was ceded by Britain in 1846 in accordance with the Oregon Treaty in the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute. It was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. Olympia is the state capital; the state's largest city is Seattle.


The band consists of two core members: Stephen O'Malley (also of Khanate and Burning Witch) and Greg Anderson (of Goatsnake and Engine Kid). [7]

Stephen OMalley American musician

Stephen O'Malley is a guitarist, producer, composer, and visual artist from Seattle, Washington who has conceptualized and participated in numerous drone doom, death/doom, and experimental music groups, most notably Sunn O))).

Khanate (band) music band

Khanate was an American doom metal supergroup that brought together James Plotkin and Alan Dubin, two members of the defunct band OLD, as well as Tim Wyskida of Blind Idiot God and Manbyrd and Stephen O'Malley of Burning Witch and Sunn O))).

Burning Witch was an American doom metal band from Seattle, Washington, active between 1995 and 1998. Aside from EPs and split releases, the band released a compilation album called Crippled Lucifer, which had songs of their early EPs.


Sunn O))) is named after the Sunn amplifier brand, the logo of which includes a circle next to the "SUNN" banner with waves heading off to the right. In interviews, Stephen O'Malley stated that the band's moniker was also chosen as a play on the name Earth, a band widely regarded as pioneers of drone metal throughout the 1990s. Before the band members moved to Los Angeles, they briefly used the moniker Mars.

Sunn amplifiers was a brand of musical instrument amplifiers. Sunn was based in Tualatin, Oregon.

Amplifier electronic device that can increase the power of a signal

An amplifier, electronic amplifier or (informally) amp is an electronic device that can increase the power of a signal. It is a two-port electronic circuit that uses electric power from a power supply to increase the amplitude of a signal applied to its input terminals, producing a proportionally greater amplitude signal at its output. The amount of amplification provided by an amplifier is measured by its gain: the ratio of output voltage, current, or power to input. An amplifier is a circuit that has a power gain greater than one.

Earth (American band) American musical group

Earth is an American musical group based in Olympia, Washington, formed in 1989 and led by the guitarist Dylan Carlson. Earth's music is nearly all instrumental, and can be divided into two distinct stages. Their early work is characterized by distortion, droning, minimalism, and lengthy, repetitive song structures. The band's later output reduces the distortion while incorporating elements of country, jazz rock, and folk. Earth is recognized as a pioneer of drone metal, with the band's Earth 2 being regarded as a milestone of the genre.

The band's style is characterized by slow tempos, distorted guitars, lack of rhythm and melody, and alternative tunings. The guitars are notable for their low register, frequently utilizing tunings as low as dropped A. Additionally, the band is known for using resonant feedback to create monolithic soundscapes and eerie atmospheres. Percussion is almost never incorporated, with a lack of any discernible beat. When performing live, the band wears robes, fills the air with fog, and plays at an high volume. [7]

Dropped A tuning

Dropped A tuning is an alternate tuning for a 7 string guitar where the lowest string is tuned down ("dropped") from the standard B by one whole step to A as follows A1-E2-A2-D3-G3-B3-E4. Also, for a 6 string guitar, dropped A tuning is achieved by tuning all strings down a 4th with the lowest string tuned 1 additional step down as follows A1-E2-A2-D3-F#3-B3. This is a "drop 1" tuning in the key of B. As a result, it uses the same fingering as drop D tuning and drop C tuning.

The band releases the majority of its music through the label it founded in 1998, Southern Lord Records. However, the band initially released ØØ Void (its second album) on multiple labels, including Rise Above Records, Hydra Head Records, and Dirter Productions (which pressed it as a double album on vinyl). Additionally, the original pressing of The Grimmrobe Demos was released by Hydra Head Records. It was later issued as a double picture record set by Outlaw Recordings and finally reissued by Southern Lord in 2004.

Southern Lord is an American heavy metal record label that was founded in 1998 by Greg Anderson. Initially, Southern Lord specialized in what could broadly be classified as experimental metal, particularly the slow-moving doom metal, stoner rock, and drone metal subgenres. Some of the more notable artists on the label include Baptists, Earth, Om, Goatsnake, Khanate, Obliterations, Pelican, Sleep and Sunn O))), among others. More recently, the label expanded its line-up to include artists from the black metal subgenre, including releases by Twilight, Wolves in the Throne Room, Xasthur, and Striborg. They have also released albums by hardcore punk and crust punk bands like Burning Love, Agrimonia, and Wolfbrigade.

<i>ØØ Void</i> 2000 studio album by Sunn O)))

ØØ Void is the first studio album by Sunn O))). The album was recorded on 24 track 2" tape at Grandmaster Studios in Hollywood, a large step forward in production values from the band's demo recording The Grimmrobe Demos.

Rise Above Records London, England based independent record label

Rise Above Records is a London, England based independent record label owned by Lee Dorrian.

The logo the band uses is also that of the Sunn amplifier brand. Sunn.png
The logo the band uses is also that of the Sunn amplifier brand.

Sunn O))) experiments with a variety of styles and sounds, progressing beyond the primarily guitar and bass style of The Grimmrobe Demos and ØØ Void. On White1 and White2, Sunn O))) noticeably expanded on conceptualization by inviting several guests (see collaborations below), resulting in everything from quiet meditative ambient sounds ("A Shaving of the Horn that Speared You" from White1) to a bizarre bass experiment track ("bassAliens" from White2). Black One continued in this direction, utilizing far more electronics, synthesizers, and other instrumentation than earlier Sunn O))) material, yet still marking a significant return to their traditional sound.

<i>White1</i> 2003 studio album by Sunn O)))

White1 is the third album by Sunn O))). It was the most significant departure from their original style to date. Each track was experimental in its own way, with Julian Cope reciting occultic druidist poetry for half of "My Wall", Norwegian lyrics sung by Runhild Gammelsæter of Thorr's Hammer as an intro to a drum machine and stoner metal bass riff in "The Gates of Ballard," and the drone track "A Shaving of the Horn that Speared You."

<i>Black One</i> 2005 studio album by Sunn O)))

Black One is the fifth album by Sunn O))). It is a combination of both experimental and traditional Sunn O))), utilizing many guest musicians, including black metal musicians Malefic and Wrest from Xasthur and Leviathan, respectively. The band supposedly also went so far as to lock the claustrophobic Malefic in a casket to record the vocals on "Báthory Erzsébet".

Sunn O))) on stage at the Ritz in Manchester, 11 June 2012 Sunn O))) (7180409975).jpg
Sunn O))) on stage at the Ritz in Manchester, 11 June 2012

Sunn O))) are widely regarded as leaders in their genre, including by The New York Times Magazine of May 28, 2006, when the band was written up in an article called "Heady Metal" by John Wray [8] . The band was praised in an issue of Wonka Vision , an independent music magazine, as one of the greatest modern metal acts.[ citation needed ] Sunn O))) also appeared in the August 2007 issue of Q magazine (the "loud issue"), with its album White1 being named the 18th-loudest album of all time, just above AC/DCs Back in Black and below Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced? [9]

In 2008, Sunn O))) released a live album titled Dømkirke and also announced a mini-tour consisting of four concerts to commemorate the group's 10th anniversary, which coincided with the release of The Grimmrobe Demos. [10]

The band's seventh studio album, Monoliths & Dimensions , was released on May 18, 2009, and was acclaimed by both press and public alike. [11]

On December 17, 2009, the song "Hunting & Gathering (Cydonia)" from the CD Monoliths & Dimensions was named the Heaviest Song of All-Time by Jason Ellis on The Jason Ellis Show on Sirius/XM. Greg Anderson then appeared on The Jason Ellis Show on January 12, 2010. [12]

The band played the ATP New York 2010 music festival in Monticello, New York, during September 2010, where it collaborated with Boris to perform the Altar album live. [13]

For live performances, Hungarian-born Attila Csihar (Mayhem) has performed as the primary vocalist since 2003.

Attila wearing a costume, Brutal Assault 2015 Sunn O))) - Brutal Assault 03.jpg
Attila wearing a costume, Brutal Assault 2015

Sunn O))) released a collaboration album with Ulver titled Terrestrials in February 2014: [14] in October 2014, the band released the album Soused , a collaboration with singer-songwriter Scott Walker. [15] In November 2015, Sunn O))) presented a four-day program at Le Guess Who? Festival in Utrecht, the Netherlands, including Annette Peacock, Magma, Julia Holter and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and Sunn O))) itself. [16]

Sunn O))) contributed to the original score of the horror film The Devil's Candy , which was released on March 17, 2017. [17]

The band worked with producer Steve Albini on two albums, Life Metal and Pyroclasts, the latter due for release sometime in 2019. [18]


Studio albums

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<i>The Grimmrobe Demos</i> 1999 demo album by Sunn O)))

The Grimmrobe Demos is Sunn O)))'s first recorded album and is the most direct representation of its self-proclaimed Earth-worship. It was originally limited to 500 copies by Hydra Head Records but, in 2005, Southern Lord Records reissued it on CD and vinyl with a bonus live track. An early rehearsal track titled "Bremerton" was included on the vinyl release.

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<i>Monoliths & Dimensions</i> 2009 studio album by Sunn O)))

Monoliths & Dimensions is the sixth studio album by the avant-garde drone doom band Sunn O))). The album was created and recorded over a period of two years and features the collaborations of composer Eyvind Kang, Australian guitar player Oren Ambarchi, Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar, Dylan Carlson from the drone band Earth, and trombonists Julian Priester and Stuart Dempster. Also present is an upright bass trio; French and English horns; harp and flute duo; piano, brass, reed, and string ensembles; and a Viennese woman's choir led by composer and vocalist Jessika Kenney.

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<i>Terrestrials</i> (album) 2014 studio album by Sunn O))) and Ulver

Terrestrials is a collaborative studio album by American drone metal band Sunn O))) and Norwegian experimental music group Ulver. Produced by Stephen O'Malley and Kristoffer Rygg, it was released on February 3, 2014, via Southern Lord Records. It has been described as "three live improvisation pieces".

<i>Soused</i> (album) 2014 studio album by Scott Walker + Sunn O)))

Soused is a collaborative album between singer Scott Walker and experimental metal band Sunn O))). Announced in early 2014 by 4AD, the album was produced by Walker and Peter Walsh with the help of Mark Warman and released on 21 October 2014. 4AD released a music video for the song "Brando", directed by French filmmaker Gisèle Vienne.

<i>Kannon</i> (album) 2015 studio album by Sunn O)))

Kannon is the seventh full-length studio album by drone metal band Sunn O))).

<i>Life Metal</i> (album) 2019 studio album by Sunn O)))

Life Metal is the eighth studio album by drone metal band Sunn O))). Through Southern Lord Records, the album received a limited release for Record Store Day on April 13, 2019, and a wide release two weeks later on April 26. Life Metal was recorded and mixed by Steve Albini entirely using analog tape. The title "life metal" is an inside joke among band members and collaborators that is meant to humorously contrast the genre death metal, and conceptually contrast anything that's "not doom-and-gloom". Sunn O))) chose this as the album's title because of both the music's shift in tone and the mindset of the band members at the time of writing. In addition to Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley, the album features collaborators Tos Nieuwenhuizen, Tim Midyett, Hildur Guðnadóttir and Anthony Pateras.

Sunn O))) discography

The discography of Sunn O))) consists of nine studio albums, three collaborative albums, six EPs, four demos, one remix album, eight official live albums, one box set compilation, one stand-alone single and three compilation contributions.


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  8. Wray, John (28 May 2006). "Heady Metal" . Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  9. "The 20 Loudest Albums Of All Time". Q . August 2007. Archived from the original on March 5, 2008. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
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  11. "SUNN O))): More 'Monoliths & Dimensions' Details Revealed". February 13, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  12. [ dead link ]
  13. "SUNN O))) + BORIS PRESENT ALTAR, TORTOISE, HOPE SANDOVAL AND MORE FOR…". 7 July 2012. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  14. "Sunn O))), Ulver Ready 'Terrestrials' Album for February Release". November 18, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  15. Minsker, Evan (July 17, 2014). "Scott Walker and Sunn O))) Team for New Album Soused". Pitchfork .
  16. "Le Guess Who? Festival official site". Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  17. "Heavy Metal-charged horror The Devil's Candy gets a trailer". February 17, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  18. 1 2 Munro, Scott (February 5, 2019). "Drone lords Sunn O))) return with new album Life Metal". Loudersound . Retrieved February 6, 2019.