I guess the Sunn O))) backlash is right on schedule. The metal kids hate ?em cuz they drone. The drone kids hate ?em ?cuz they?re metal. And Sunno))) hates everyone for no particular reason at all. It?s the metal creed. Boris has a similar bent. Only misanthropy is replaced by a more acid-kissed detachment in their capable hands. Both bands have an unabashed love for the metal, can?t be denied, from its conception in acid rock?s heyday right on up to the most cutting edge doom and thrash today, but buried underneath all the distortion and bottom end are the souls of genuine artists. There, I said it. And when joined together, they become the Sunn(((O)))Boris, a veritable Voltron of ambient doom. Sweet.
That?s the mythical rendering anyway, but what of the reality? ?Altar? is a grumbling beast, and a sweet kiss. It delivers pretty much just what you?d expect, but even more satisfying is what you don?t. They scale murky sludge depths in openers ?Etna? and ?NLT,? but who knew they had something as blissful as ?The Sinking Belle? up the sleeve? Gliding on a soft bed of minimal percussion and Twin Peaks billowy bass with tender vocals and harmonies, it?s a shimmer-y narcoleptic pop wonder. And then there?s the take on Boris?s ?Akuma No Kuma,? recast as a cosmic symphony to the gods with vocoder voice, buzzing synth and feedback howls propped up by crushing drum roles and bass kicks. They conjure some dreamy acid streaked meditations with the appropriately christened ?Fried Eagle Mind? and explore the lowest frequencies in the groaning subharmonics of ?Bloodswamp,? which is also notable for featuring guitar by Kim Thayill! These bookends are fine, yet somehow I expected more in terms of heaviness and ferocity. It?s the meat of this platter that proves most nourishing. The further Sunn(((O)))Boris drifts off its expected course, the more satisfying ?Altar? becomes. 8/10 -- Lee Jackson (27 March, 2007)