Saturday, May 21, 2005

Sunno))) / The GimmRobe Demos / 8.0

Boring! Name dropping key metal bands the members of Sunno))) have been a part of doesn’t offer any of the awe and mind blowing mystery this band actually deserves. Sure Greg Anderson runs Southern Lord and has played in Thorr’s Hammer and Burning Witch but that’s not shocking. Knowing they began as an Earth tribute band is totally believable. I am much more interested in these musicians prior to the guys who make music that sounds like doom vacuuming.

Who would ever believe Anderson is also the same man who basically brought Straight Edge to Seattle in a band called Brotherhood? This prince of darkness has an XXX True Till Death tattoo on his arm still damn it…now that rules. The second reincarnation of Greg blossomed from a brief stint in the emo hardcore band Galleons Lap that also featured one Nate Mendel who some might remember from Sunny Day but most know as one of long-term members the Foo Fighters. While I love the metal Greg my dedication to his song writing talents remains with Engine Kid. Who cares if they sounded like Slint and Bitch Magnet? Recording never did this band justice but live their sonic eruptions clearly offered hints of the guitar playing we know Greg for today. So blah blah blah Julian Cope, Dylan Carlson and Joe Preston; give me “Angel Wings” or give me death.

Stephen O’Malley’s musical history is a bit more straight forwards but there are two other artistic sides to him that leave an impression just as striking as his work on the GrimmRobe Demos. Much like Aaron Turner’s (Isis ,OMG…) ability to both make stunning music and art, O’Malley is one hell of an artist / graphic designer. Instead of creating a grocery list of his talents just check out his work here: On a historical level his music and art still only covers half of why this man should be worshipped. I have two words for you Descent Magazine. Before books like “Lords of Chaos” and feature stories in Spin introduced the rest of the world to the bizarre workings of Black Metal, Stephen published and wrote for Descent. This magazine might be one of the first and most thorough guides to all that was extreme metal, death metal, noise, Scandinavian, avante- ambient, grind and so on. Do yourself a favor and try to track down the few publications that not only do this genre some justice but also were always well written and littered with his art. This guy was metal and meant it before anyone knew Norway’s youth were killing each other and burning churches in the name of all that was unholy.

Writer Brandon Stosuy asks how “these dudes can top what they have done thus far” but I would say knowing they added Rex Ritter into their fold a few years back is one hell of a way to start and only makes this bands history that much more intriguing. Yet another link to the Northwest, Rex was the master behind the space rock band Jessamine and Fontanelle. Again on record this band never sounded as brutal and as Spacemen 3 influenced as they were but in retrospect hearing Rex play live completely connects him to his present day position in Sunno))). Moving away from Silver Apples inspired guitar Ritter manages to bring sounds of the dead and dying via keyboards and other electronic toys which for many bands would be the kiss of suck ass death. Rex isn’t on this particular release but for those curious about the rest of the bands growing catalog, it is all worth it and even more heavy and horrific live.

If the sound of pure evil doesn’t interest you I would still say check them out live. They wear custom robes and because after all:
1) It seems borderline comical and not that scary to see grown men wear hooded robes.2) This form of atonal dronery digested in a group setting is similar to a room of people swaying along to the sound of the world as we know it ending. That experience is both disturbing and brilliant and totally worth the tinnitus you will suffer for weeks after.