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Sunn 0)))‘s Greg Anderson, Stephen O’Malley, and longtime partner G. Stuart Dahlquist — respectively credited as the Duke, MK Ultra Blizzard, and G:Subharmonia — trudge through riffs in synchronous, suspended time, making up for a lack of surprises with a wealth of tone. They’d recorded their only previous release, The GrimmRobe Demos, in a small Los Angeles studio, but ØØ VOID was captured in Hollywood’s Grandmaster, a high-fidelity location where Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, No Doubt, and Tool have all made records. Sunn O))) have always had a reputation for exacting technical standards and for pushing the limits of their force and fidelity (“Maximum Volume Yields Maximum Results,” their credo goes), and ØØ VOID offers the first perfect sign of that. These recordings are monolithic, dense, and relentless, even if the compositions themselves sound much as you might expect.
There are some allusions to extracurricular influences here, like the ghastly vocals of Scream’s Pete Stahl, which circle like ghosts inside the electric tide of “NN O)))”. A delicate pluck opens “Rabbit’s Revenge”, and long, thin tones sometimes rise to gird a riff’s lumbering end. Speaking of subtle additions, the 14-minute crawl is a cover of an early version of the Melvins song that some have suggested (and others have contested) became 1992’s “Hung Bunny”; listen closely past the five-minute mark, and you’ll notice that Sunn O))) seem to have momentarily drafted a drummer and a screamer. It’s actually a bootleg of Melvins playing the song, the sample spliced beneath the drone as both acknowledgment and texture. Years later, Sunn O)))’s evolution would come to depend on such outside sounds. — Pitchfork
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