Sunn O)))

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Sunn O)))
Sunn O))) - Brutal Assault 01.jpg
Sunn O))) at Brutal Assault 2015, wearing their characteristic robes
Background information
Origin Seattle, Washington, United States
Genres Drone metal, experimental metal,[1] doom metal, dark ambient, black metal, noise
Years active 1998–present
Labels Southern Lord
Associated acts Boris, Burial Chamber Trio, Burning Witch, Earth, Goatsnake, Gravetemple, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, Khanate, KTL, Merzbow, Nurse with Wound, Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, Thorr's Hammer, Mayhem, Scott Walker
Members Stephen O'Malley
Greg Anderson

Sunn O))) (pronounced simply sun /sʌn/) is an American drone metal band from Seattle, Washington that formed in 1998. The band is primarily known for its synthesis of diverse genres including drone, ambient, noise, extreme metal and for its extremely loud live performances. Supported by a varying cast of collaborators, the band was formed by two core members: Stephen O'Malley (also of Khanate and Burning Witch) and Greg Anderson (of Goatsnake and Engine Kid).[2]


Sunn O))) is named after the Sunn amplifier brand, whose logo includes a circle next to the "SUNN" banner with waves heading off to the right. In interviews, Stephen O'Malley stated that the band's moniker was also chosen as a play on the name Earth, a band widely regarded as pioneers of drone metal throughout the 1990s. Before the band members moved to Los Angeles, it briefly used the moniker Mars.

The band's style is characterized by extremely slow tempos, heavily distorted guitars, avoidance of rhythm and melody, and alternate tunings. The guitars are notable for their low register, frequently utilising tunings as low as dropped A. Additionally, the band is known for using resonant feedback to create monolithic soundscapes and eerie atmospheres. Percussion is almost never incorporated, with a lack of any discernible beat. When performing live, the band wear robes, fill the air with fog, and play at an extremely high volume.[2]

The band releases the majority of its music through the label it founded in 1998, Southern Lord Records. However, the band initially released ØØ Void (its second album) on multiple labels, including Rise Above Records, Hydra Head Records, and Dirter Productions (which pressed it as a double album on vinyl). Additionally, the original pressing of The Grimmrobe Demos was released by Hydra Head Records. It was later issued as a double picture record set by Outlaw Recordings and finally reissued by Southern Lord in 2004.

The logo the band uses is also that of the Sunn amplifier brand.

Sunn O))) experiments with a variety of styles and sounds, progressing the primarily guitar and bass style of The Grimmrobe Demos and ØØ Void. On White1 and White2, Sunn O))) noticeably expanded on conceptualization by inviting several guests (see collaborations below), resulting in everything from quiet meditative ambient sounds ("A Shaving of the Horn that Speared You" from White1) to a bizarre bass experiment track ("bassAliens" from White2). Black One continued this direction, utilizing far more electronics, synthesis, and other instrumentation than earlier Sunn O))) material, yet still marking a significant return to its traditional sound.

Sunn O))) on stage at the Ritz in Manchester, 11 June 2012

Sunn O))) is widely regarded as leaders in its genre, including by The New York Times Magazine of May 28, 2006, when the band was written up in an article called "Heady Metal" by John Wray. It was praised in an issue of Wonka Vision, an independent music magazine, as one of the greatest modern metal acts.[citation needed] Sunn O))) was also shown in the August 2007 issue of Q Magazine (the "loud issue"), with its album White1 being named the 18th-loudest album of all time, just above AC/DCs Back in Black and below Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced?[3]

In 2008, Sunn O))) released a live album titled Dømkirke and also announced that it would do a mini-tour consisting of four concerts to commemorate the group's 10th anniversary to coincide with release of The Grimmrobe Demos.[4]

The band's seventh studio album, Monoliths & Dimensions, was released on May 18, 2009, and was acclaimed by both press and public alike.[5]

On December 17, 2009, the song "Hunting & Gathering (Cydonia)" from the CD Monoliths & Dimensions was named the Heaviest Song of All-Time by Jason Ellis on The Jason Ellis Show on Sirius/XM. Greg Anderson then appeared on The Jason Ellis Show on January 12, 2010.[6]

The band played the ATP New York 2010 music festival in Monticello, New York, during September 2010, where it collaborated with Boris to perform the Altar album live.[7]

For live performances, Hungarian-born Attila Csihar (Mayhem) has performed as the primary vocalist since 2003.

Attila wearing a costume, Brutal Assault 2015

Sunn O))) released a collaboration album with Ulver, entitled Terrestrials, in February 2014:[8] in October 2014, the band released the album Soused, a collaboration with singer-songwriter Scott Walker.[9] In November 2015, Sunn O))) presents a four-day program at Le Guess Who? Festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands, including Annette Peacock, Magma, Julia Holter and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown as well as Sunn O))) themselves.[10]


Studio albums[edit]



Live albums[edit]

  • Live White (CDr & 2xCDr 2004)
  • The Libations of Samhain (AKA: LXNDXN Subcamden Underworld Hallo'Ween 2003) (CD 2003)
  • Live Action Sampler (promotional mix) (2xCD 2004)
  • La Mort Noir dans Esch/Alzette (limited to 1000 machine-numbered copies, sold on 2006 tour) (CD 2006)
  • Dømkirke (2xLP 2008)
  • (初心) Grimmrobes Live 101008 (sold on 2009 World tour) (Cassette 2009)
  • Live At Primavera Sound Festival 2009 On WFMU (Digital file 2009)
  • Agharti Live 09-10 (only sold via Southern Lord Subscription series, Roadburn 2011, and the Power of the Riff festival) (LP+7" 2011, Digital file 2011)

Split albums and collaborations[edit]


  • "The Horn and the Spear" (EMS remix) (Digital file 2004)

Boxed sets[edit]

  • WHITEbox (boxed-set reissue of White albums, limited to 450 copies, with both versions of the song "DECAY" and bonus track "CUT WOODeD") (4xLP 2006)

Compilation-only tracks[edit]

  • "B/P Simple" from the Jukebox Buddha (CD 2006)
  • "Isengard (Chopped/Screwed)" from the Southern Lord: Resurrection (LP 2010)


  1. ^ "Billboard". Billboard Magazine (Nielsen Business Media) 119 (1): 27. 6 January 2007. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b John Wray (May 28, 2006). "Heady Metal". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  3. ^ "Q Magazine - Music news & reviews, music videos, band pictures & interviewsQ Magazine". Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Sunn O))) Announces US Tour Dates: News at". Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  5. ^ "Sunn O))) announces new album in May 2009". Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ [2][dead link]
  8. ^ "Sunn O))), Ulver Ready 'Terrestrials' Album for February Release". Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Minsker, Evan (July 17, 2014). "Scott Walker and Sunn O))) Team for New Album Soused". Pitchfork Media. 
  10. ^ "Le Guess Who? Festival official site". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "Scott Walker + Sunn O)))". Retrieved 21 December 2014. 

External links[edit]