Can I start this review by pointing out that I suffer for this site. Not emotionally, like an emo; but physically, like a man! It’s about four days since I was in front of SUNN…twice…and my ears have still not recovered. I did, however, learn two valuable lessons: 1.) don’t forget to pack ear-plugs when going into the photo-pit at a SUNN show, and 2.) always send Kim Monaghan to take photos at SUNN shows. Anyway, on with the review.
SUNN are a bit hard to explain without sounding like you’re a recovering 60s throw-back, sky-high on acid, and drunk on prison-brewed whiskey: “Well maaan, they all, like, wear robes, and there’s smoke everywhere, and there’s no drums because you, like, feeeel the music rather than hearing it maaan”. Yeah, I know, pass me the nearest shotgun, it’s hippy-hour at the SittingNow shooting range.
In all seriousness, SUNN are a one of a kind. Well, they were until every bastard and his uncle figured out they can make their crappy Line-One amp make a sort of similar sound, and started a million ‘SUNN-lites’. These cheapsters don’t matter though, because from the moment SUNN touch a string on their guitars, they out-class the copycats in almost every way.
It could be the awesome array of amps they bring along with them, erected around them like a kind of Drone Stonehenge. It could be the awesomely atmospheric setting they create; shrouded in smoke, milling around the stage like they’re about to call down Daggoth: The Canadian Demon of Hate in some kind of occult-aural-super-ritual. It could be that about half way through the show, Attila Csihar, former Mayhem collaborator, begins some of the most awe-inspiring vocals you’ve ever witnessed, switching between Mike Pattonish howls, and Eyes Wide Shut-esque chanting.
You really have to surrender to the sound to truly appreciate it, let it flow through you (literally), and attempt to absorb it as best possible. The sound is relentless, and will tear you to pieces if you get close enough. On both nights, I saw people sat around on the floor having what looked like religious experiences. Either that, or SUNN had discovered the famous ‘brown-note’.
If you haven’t experienced SUNN live, you really should. There really isn’t anything comparable. A true original, both aurally, and visually. It’s amazing that something so simple in concept, is so truly stunning to behold. Two guitars, a Moog, and a twisted genius of a vocalist, genuinely make you believe you are witnessing the beginning of the end times.