This record and Earth’s “Earth 2” comprise the main canon of drone-doom music. It’s an unusual niche of metal featuring the slowest tempos, sometimes no tempo at all, with no drumming and mostly the heaviest bass imaginable.
Earth’s only core member, Dylan Carlson, describes the genre as ambient metal.
In a world before EDM/Trap/Dubstep, this was as deep an exploration of “bass music” as was fathomable.
For some reason I never listened to Sunn O))’s masterpiece before last week. That was a mistake. This thing is epic and exciting, equal parts soul-crushing and mind-stimulating.
Listen Like a Movie
This is the most “listen like a movie” album I have ever heard. There is no traditional song structure or riffing. No hooks, no beats. It’s the audio equivalent of There Will Be Blood, a slow creeping build towards a few huge moments.
Prepare to do something while listening so your hands are occupied but there’s room for the mind to wander, like playing slow chess or drawing or making crafts. Its a sloooow album.
And then hit play and enter the cold dark night of eerie nothing.
At this point I can mention the most intriguing aspect, the instrumentation:
(from wikipedia) “The album was created and recorded over a period of two years and features the collaborations of composer Eyvind Kang, Australian guitar player Oren Ambarchi, Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar, Dylan Carlson from the drone band Earth, and trombonists Julian Priester and Stuart Dempster. Also present is an upright bass trio; French and English horns; harp and flute duo; piano, brass, reed, and string ensembles; and a Viennese woman's choir led by composer and vocalist Jessika Kenney.”
WOW! The trombones are awesome by the way. It absolutely fits into the sound.
This feels much closer to the symphonic/operatic tradition of orchestral music, than it does to anything resembling rock or metal music. There’s an alternate universe somewhere where Monoliths & Dimensions is performed at concert halls around the world.
If you are an adventurous listener, you owe it to yourself to give this record a full listen.