Sunn O))): Kannon

Latest album from avant metal combo pays tribute to Buddha.

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Have you seen Sunn O))) live? You must, at least once in your life, see Sunn O))) live. It is an imperative for the deep-thinking hard rock fan; a necessary pilgrimage, the sort one might undertake to Stonehenge, darkest Scandinavia or Birmingham.

Group co-founders Stephen O’ Mallety and Greg Anderson have inflated/reduced metal to its monumental, ritualistic essence; their music generally takes the slow-cooked form of marrow-juddering, earth-moving, dry ice-generating power chords, vast objects as backdrops of contemplation for the truths of the universe, where darkness and light meet.

Kannon, which comprises Kannons 1, 2 and 3, three pieces of a “triadic whole”, is no exception. Like some wordless mantra, it takes as its subject that aspect of Buddha known as the Goddess Of Mercy or Perceiving The Sounds (Or Cries) Of The World. This is a wonderful prism through which to behold the slow, looming tsunami of Kannon, its remorseless repetitions churning up and hoisting to the dark skies fresh matter with each gigantic, crashing wave.

This is beyond immersive; this is music to suffer a cleansing obliteration to. It is a redemption of heavy metal, when all its past dross has dried away to nothing.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.