Life Metal preproduction at 606 studios, Northridge June 2018, engineered by John Lousteau. Paintings by Samantha Keely Smith. Manifold (detail) (2015, cover), Pulse (detail) (2016, gatefold left), gatefold right Amplify (detail) (2017, gatefold right) & Beacon (detail) (2014, back cover). Your continual love & support is my life metal. thanks Lester Polsfuss, Conrad Sundholm & Philip K. Dick for inspiration. Published by Ideologic Organ (SACEM) & Sabbath Rehash (BMI).
Life Metal is the eighth studio album by drone metal band Sunn O))). Through Southern Lord Records, the album received a limited release for Record Store Day on April 13, 2019, and a wide release two weeks later on April 26. Life Metal was recorded and mixed by Steve Albini (Nirvana, Neurosis, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) entirely using analog tape.
Life Metal’s easiest sales pitch is the presence of producer Steve Albini, whose ability to make very loud records is fabled. In this partnership that’s as obvious as it is overdue, Albini captures the pair with perfect detail, so that you can practically feel their fingers crawling down their guitars’ necks at the end of Aurora. One of the many running jokes about Sunn O)) is that anyone with the right gear and enough patience can make this music, slowly droning on in gradually shifting lockstep. And sure, in the late 1990s, when Sunn O))) was a bit of an excuse to get high and play low, maybe that was true. But O’Malley has spent the last several years playing and premiering the delicate music of composer Alvin Lucier, where tiny differences in pitch and time create hypnotic pulses so faint you doubt they’re there.
An all analogue technique was used for Life Metal, as the band recorded and mixed on tape, providing a creative gateway for Sunn O))) to evolve their production methods into stronger, confident, performance based and a more logical executive process, according to a press release. Joining the band on Life Metal is composer and frequent live collaborator Hildur Guðnadóttir, who adds vocals, electric cello, and haldorophone to the track Novae.
Naturally, unless you live in a studio, venue, or nuclear test site, you will not be able to play Life Metal at such a volume. But this doesn’t matter, because you can hear the unhealthy level of decibels at which this was recorded resonating deeply through each tectonic note, and the vibe remains very much the same on headphones as when you’re having your head exploded. Where on albums like 2005’s Black One they examined the depths of the sonic abyss, Life Metal finds them full of life and energy. Posted on April 17th 2019, 3:07pm.
At the very beginning of 2018 Sunn O))) cofounders Stephen O’Malley & Greg Anderson set their intention and set out a path toward a new Sunn O))) album production. They were both determined to create not only new music but a new method of working with the band in the studio, without forgoing the long history of production and studio accomplishments they’d won over the first 20 years of the band’s lifetime (and the members’ own musical experiences outside of the band’s). Stephen would like to thank Gisèle Vienne, Alvin Lucier, Iancu Dumitrescu & Phill Niblock for sharing with me their courage & wisdom and dedicates this album to departed & deeply missed: Mika Vainio, Anna-Maria Avram & Jóhann Jóhannsson. Greg Anderson: My performance on this recording is dedicated to Jennifer, Thora, Orson & Nolan Anderson.
Life Metal, the 8th offering from Sunn O))), is the first release of two albums planned for this year and reveals a different shade of the band’s bleak sound. Relying on an analogous method of recording, the album sounds naturalistic and primal in character. Each chord strike sounds invasive and hostile, heightened by the fact that each note lasts a substantial amount of time. Subsequently, the delay and reverb that trails after each note emboldens the tone of the album and gives the overwhelming guitars a gargantuan presence . weird how this one turned out, our store got three copies and sat for hours on end before all disappearing within an hour (one ended up in my hands, of course). a highly substantial improvement on Kannon, which was a Black Friday RSD release back in 2015.
|A||Between Sleipnir's Breaths||12:39|
Organ [Pipe Organ], Arranged By, Performer, Recorded By, Mixed By [Premixed] – Anthony Pateras
|sunn300||Sunn O)))||Life Metal (2xLP, Album)||Southern Lord||sunn300||US||2019|
|sunn300||Sunn O)))||Life Metal (CD, Album)||Southern Lord||sunn300||US||2019|
|sunn300||Sunn O)))||Life Metal (2xLP, Album, Ltd, Pin)||Southern Lord||sunn300||Europe||2019|
|sunn300||Sunn O)))||Life Metal (2xLP, Album)||Southern Lord||sunn300||Europe||2019|
|sunn300||Sunn O)))||Life Metal (CD, Album)||Southern Lord||sunn300||Europe||2019|