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sunn O))) & Boris: Altar

Altar is a collaboration between sunn O))) and Boris, two very different bands but both with large underground followings in the stoner & doom/drone community. While the music of Boris generally touches on both punk and stoner rock, and usually is pretty upbeat as well as heavy, sunn O))) explores sonic territory of a different kind. These guys are known for long, drawn out waves of ominous feedback, ondulating waves of guitar riffs, ambient textures, and ponderous death marches. Here on Altar, you kind of get a little of both worlds, although the style of sunn O))) seems to win the battle for the most part. Most impressive is a song like "Akuma No Kuma", complete with doomy drum fills, menacing horn riffs (sounding like a strange cross between Univers Zero and To Mega Therion era Celtic Frost) and a creepy vibe. Guest vocals on this piece are courtesy of Joe Preston from High On Fire. The guys certainly create some horrific noise on "Etna", thanks to some massive guitar riffs and plenty of pounding drums and sound effects. The ethereal female vocals of Jesse Sykes add an angelic flair to the mellow "The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep)", and former Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil guests on "Blood Swamp", although you would have a hard time recognizing him. Part of the problem here is that most of the songs just go nowhere, and are really quite boring other than a few fleeting moments. It would have been great to hear some more upbeat arrangements considering that the guys from Boris are involved here, but in actuality there's a lot of droning, feedback, and endless noise, which for some might be wonderful, but for others might make this a tough listen.

Track Listing
1) Etna
2) N.L.T.
3) The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep)
4) Akuma No Kuma
5) Fried Eagle Mind
6) Blood Swamp

Added: September 18th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 2679
Language: english

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sunn O))) & Boris: Altar
Posted by Irukandji on 2006-09-25 13:41:29
My Score:

Stop reviewing this stuff, and anything else from Southern Lord, Hydra Head, or other related labels. There is obviously a huge gap in taste which does not allow a decent, objective review. It sounds like a magazine write up, with a history of the line up, and NOTHING about individual tracks, moments in the pieces, or any clear intelligent commentary. It's as if the reviewer skipped through the disc and wrote up commentary based on the artist history/bio on a website. You confuse feedback with humbucker drone, among other technical aspects of how to play this stuff (yeah, for whatever strange reason I figured some of it out). So we're quickly seeing that somebody isn't quite well versed in what they're talking about (or listening to)!

I'm not a huge Doom fan, or of anything related either. I prefer more technically challenging listens from bands playing prog, death metal, black metal, and other technically proficient genres. But I recognize interesting projects and unique experiments in sound and music. This kind of thing is just clearly NOT for you, or most readers of this webpage. Do yourselves a favor, and stick with more accessable music, and don't review/comment on things that fly over or under head.

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