sunn 0))) White-1

[Southern Lord; 2003]

Rating: 4/5

The etymological meaning of the word 'doom' is that which is a judicial
condemnation or sentence against something or someone. Now, if you were to take
this meaning and apply it to the sound of music, sunn 0))) (simply pronounced "sun") would be the
sonic epitome of the word. Containing members of semi-unfamiliar
bands such as Khanate, Burning Witch, Goatsnake, and The Melvins' Joe Preston,
White-1 is the sound of what it must feel like to be buried alive in the
darkest cemeteries of England. Heavy guitar drones and feedback move at a
snail's pace while vocals are laid over the top in a spoken-word fashion. Julian
Cope appears for the first track, the 25-minute "My Wall," where he slowly tells
the poetic story of a Johnny Guitar. I'm not really sure who Johnny Guitar is,
but... He also mentions all the members of the band as if to further connect
himself to this project. On "The Gates of Ballard," muffled and horrific lyrics
lead the way to the albums first sign of a recognizable chord progression. A
slow drumbeat, that sometimes sounds synthetic, adds a nice element of density
before it's slowly pulled away to expose the familiar guitar drones that remain
the constant focus of White-1. The last track is one that separates
itself from the previous two songs. The guitar is used mostly as a medium for
producing low rumbles of black soot. It uses vocals as sounds rather than using
them for the purpose of speaking or singing. It's a very disturbing, albeit
overwhelming, atmosphere; and one that takes nearly an hour to accomplish. I
can't help but really like this album, though. It's not so much a metal album as
it is an experiment of pure dark mood. Actually, now that I think of it, maybe
there's some irony to the fact that mood, spelled backwards, is doom.
Coincidence? Who knows?

1. My Wall
2. The Gates of Ballard
3. A Shaving of the Horn That Speared You

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