Sunn O))) is one of those bands that are truly original not only in the metal community but in music in general. Their music is mostly instrumentals and it drones on for over ten minutes but my god there is something special in their music that is hard to explain. So when I found out that they were coming to Pittsburgh I had to see them. And good lord, seeing them live was worth it. Too call Sunn O))) a band felt weak when I saw them live. It felt like I was witnessing a pagan ritual play on heavy guitars. Or rather like I was standing before demons at the gates of hell. And if this is what hell sounds like then sign me up dude because it was awesome.
When I entered the theater, the room was pitch black with fog machines puffing out smoke everywhere. It was impossible for me to find my actual seat so I sat to the closest one I could find. Before Sunn O))) came on stage I noticed that this was possibly the strangest metal concert I’ve been too. Every metalhead was sitting in their seats in silence like they were preparing for a movie. No one spoke, let alone move. The whole theater was silent. Then the stage went bright red and heavy guitars roared through the smoke. Sunn O))) came to the stage and they brought hell with them.
They must’ve had at least five huge amps in the back and the frequencies of the music made my skin tremble. I felt like my eyeballs were vibrating as the music continued. Meanwhile, the room continued to fill with smoke from the fog machines, relentlessly puffing smoke in the room. And the band isn’t showy or flashy either. They sulk in the backdrop and suddenly appear through the fog smoke like monks of doom. For nearly two hours Sunn O))) brought heavy riffs, and soul crunching music to Pittsburgh. It was intense and was almost too much for me to handle. I had to leave my seat for a moment and collect myself outside. I’ve never had that happened to me before, and this is from a guy who’s seen intense acts such as Slayer, Swans, and Death Grips. Sunn O))) did something that none of those bands could live, they’re music hit me with such ferocity that I had to take a break from the concert.
Now the concert wasn’t perfect. Their experimental, drone metal definitely wore off near the end. About a third of the way through the concert about a half dozen patrons left. And I understand that I feel like that’s only so much sludgy music that one person could handle. But I forced myself to stick around till the end but my god it was worth it. Another factor that interrupted my listening experience was another fan in a seat across from me. I don’t know what he was on, but the dude melted in his seat, then he started to cry uncontrollably, and then he waved at the band like they were an old friend. I don’t know what sort of drugs that guy was on but it definitely weirded me out.
When Sunn O))) was winding down, the group held their hands in the air reaching for something before they dropped their hands down their guitars bringing forth a single riff of doom. It felt like a cinematic experience and at one point I could’ve sworn that one of the guitarists was waving at the crowd. As the band brought everything to a close and they submerged back into the fog and disappear into the night, the audience stood and gave an erupt applause. It felt fitting like we all witnessed music that truly came from the depths of the underworld. Any fan of metal needs to see these guys live. It was truly an atmospheric experience that I would gladly throw down money to see again.