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Sunn 0)))&Boris - Altar
This is a disc of which I knew blindly that it would end up in my yearlist. I’m a huge Sunn 0))) fan and I own all of their ‘full-length’ releases, but this one is different, and very special I might add. Some of you might also know the Japanese experimental doom trio Boris, who are releasing many albums through Southern Lord lately. Well, the two have teamed up to write six songs together, joined by several guest musicians as Sunn 0))) usually does, which is a rare and unique thing. Let’s see how that worked out.
As I read in other reviews, this really is the most accessible piece of work by either one of the bands. If you want to check out what Sunn 0))) and Boris are really about, this is a great way to start. From the get go the listener is taken into soundscapes unknown to man before. While Sunn 0))) never used drums before, there’s plenty of it in these tracks, beats and unorthodox rattling alike. The two bands have really taken the maximum out of each other.
It’s hard for me to describe what actually happens on this disc, because there’s simply too much to mention. And by the time you reach the end of it, you’ve forgotten how it started out. All I can say is that there is a lot of use of instruments that you wouldn’t expect besides the guitars and a shitload of electronics. A trombone for instance, is something that works incredibly well with drones. It adds some dimension and versatility, without disturbing the music’s atmosphere.
Also there is a lot of singing involved, from the basic vocal noise of legendary musician Joe Preston, to the sweet and gentile voice of country singer Jesse Sykes, who makes her voice sound so delicate over the enchanting guitar parts. Yes, people, we have an actual song!!!
I got lucky again, I have the limited to 5000 special edition with bonus disc on which the track ‘Her Lips Were Wet With Venom’ is featured. This track features Dylan Carlson from the legendary band Earth, and it shows aspects of all three bands featured in this track, for 28 minutes of course. Definitely worth hearing.
I cannot explain the calmness and gentile feeling this album exhales through my speakers, I do know that this is probably the best release I have by Sunn 0))). If you thought these guys could only produce noisy rubble without structure, please take the liberty to be proven wrong and sit with this record, and relax. I just hope they do this again some time in the future.
Sunn 0)))&Boris - Altar
98/1001Details Southern Lord
Released on Tuesday Oct 31st, 2006

Writer @DemonDust on Saturday Dec 2nd, 2006

Tags: #Sunn 0)))&Boris
Tracklisting Disc 1:

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

Disc 2:

1. Her Lips Were Wet With Venom
Line up Greg Anderson
Stephen O'Malley

Guest musicians:

Dylan Carlson, Mell Dettmer, Randall Dunn, Bill Herzog, Steve Moore, Tos Nieuwenhuizen, Joe Preston, Rex Ritter, Jesse Sykes, Troy Swanson, Kim Thayil, Phil Wandscher.