Sunn o))), Limelight, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 18th July 2017.
From the depths of despair to the realms of the sonic conscienceless, Seattle experimental drone black metal band give Belfast an evening of highly charged fragments of vibrating sound molecules.
This was a live audio experience like no other – one hour and forty-five minutes of insanely intense black drone metal music played to a morbid motionless crowd and somehow after the chaos of loud decibels your brain is left feeling strangely therapeutic.
The Seattle band which formed in the late 1990s are known for their detuned guitars, moog soundscapes, atmospheric ambience surroundings, high-level volume and robe wearing stage presence. Sunn o))) are powerful and see themselves as inducing nourishment tones, not destructive ones.
Attila Csihar began the performance with what felt like a ‘ritual’. Attila has a very deep tibetan tone creating the strangest of atmospheres. His polyphonic singing was ritualistic throughout the entire show. Throw in the fact the stage and room is constantly being filled up with foggy smoke with loud ambient guitars – Sunn o))) take you somewhere you have not been before. Stephen O’Malley from the band has stated in previous interviews “It’s like jumping into the crater of a volcano – you’re in this chamber of magma“.
Sunn o))) give their audience a slow longer arrangement, structure, sound and tonality. During the set their was a lovely melancholy trombone lead part played which reverberated through the entire room. Personally I felt the bands movement and tempo of the music was in slow motion, you could feel the frequency vibrations shake the barriers and decibels were so loud my ears were ringing the next day.
This was the first time the black drone metal band have played Belfast in 13 years and the first time I had ever seen them live. I heard from a few onlookers that this was their best performance in the city to date.
Whether you like this kind of music or not is entirely up to each individuals personal taste. This kind of performance could even be viewed as ‘performance art’ and seems open to debate among music fans across the spectrum. I personally believe the band achieved what they set-out to do which was to leave people in a meditated trance like ritualistic state. All those guitar tones, frequencies, loud decibels and chanting had done the trick.
To experience Sunn O))) you must see them live.