The other day (June 18, exactly) Reverb unveiled—and promptly sold out of—a limited-edition Sunn O))) Life Metal LP & Life Pedal guitar effects package. As Reverb LP's resident metalhead, this was a great project to watch come to life.
If you are new to LP, or maybe just want to dive deeper into the murky cave of metal that Sunn O))) resides in, join me on this walk through some of my favorite Sunn O))) releases—and releases by the many Sunn O)))-affiliated artists. If you manage to stick around to the bottom of the page, you can check out some unrelated personal top picks from the wider world of metal.
The evolution of Sunn O))) from a two-guitar, monolithic dirge of low-end rumble to complexly arranged multi-instrumental art-metal has been an incredible ride. My personal favorites of the catalog are probably Black One and Monoliths & Dimensions, but there are powerful pieces throughout their ever-growing discography of albums and collaborations.
One of my favorite things about following Sunn O))) has been exploring their collaborations with other artists. While many of the team-ups make sense on paper (Ulver, Attila Csihar), it is the ones that don't, like Scott Walker, that excite me most and have turned me onto some music I may not have ever otherwise explored.
Sunn O))) have been pretty clear about the music they are paying homage to in their sound, but there's also a lot of great evidence of some not-so-blatant sonic influences in their design work.
In 1998, Greg Anderson founded Southern Lord Records. The label has released consistently great material from a wide swath of extreme music sub-genres—everything from the suffocating doom of Winter to the hardcore punk-influenced grind of Nails and the atmospheric guitar-scapes of Big Brave. And let's not forget the modern era's greatest thrash band, Power Trip.
Lastly, while I am up on my pedestal, I thought I would take the opportunity to push some of my personal metal picks on you. No genre-puritan stuff here—some classics, some newish, but all killer records that you should check out if you're looking to bang your head—or even just hide out in your dark basement and scowl.