Six Organs of Admittance The Sun Awakens

[Drag City; 2006]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: psychedelic folk, mystic mountain hop
Others: Simon Finn, Devendra Barnhart, Pharaoh Sanders

Putting all your eggs in one basket can be a risky venture. If successful, praise and accolades shall be your fruitful reward. Should you fail, then the barbs of ugly critics and scorned admirers shall haunt your every step ”” whether these thoughts seeped into Ben Chasny's noggin while creating The Sun Awakens is anybody's guess. Everyone needs a challenge, a chance to prove themselves ”” not only the watching eyes of fans and critics, but also to themselves.

To the point, The Sun Awakens is an album of two parts, but more so an album banking on a 24-minute monster. The first half relies on Chasny's traditional acoustic prowess. The subtle "Torn By Wolves," the powerful "Black Wall" and "Attar," and the action-packed "The Desert is a Circle" are all familiar sounds for fans of Six Organs of Admittance. The buzz of the strings, the OK Corral ballads, and the echoing vocals ”” all a fitting follow-up to last year's School of the Flower.

Then we meet the beast. Say hello to "River of Transfiguration." This is the jumping off point for those afraid of noise and/or drone. For others, this is where The Sun Awakens turns frightening and gets interesting. The first six minutes are as desolate and eerie as it gets. Monotone drones and high-pitched wails mark the bewitching period. Then, salvation from the dark in the form of a solitary snare hit. Slowly, reverberating guitars, manic drums, and moaned chants join the fray. The battle goes back and forth, before the track finally yields to the drone once more. "River of Transfiguration" has managed to turn The Sun Awakens from School of the Flower's twin to the family's black sheep. Its mystery and intrigue will stay with you the rest of the day. It's able to turn warm days cold and sunny days into cloudy skies ready to burst with rain.

If you were hoping for a predictable outing from Ben Chasny, you won't find it on The Sun Awakens. Sure, six of the seven tracks aren't as varied or experimental as "River of Transfiguration," but the influence of that one song turns the album into something else. After the initial listen, The Sun Awakens will never sound the same. The moods shift, the sounds transform, and the meanings change.

1. Torn By Wolves
2. Bless Your Blood
3. Black Wall
4. The Desert is a Circle
5. Attar
6. Wolves' Pup
7. River of Transfiguration