Okay, I must say that Sunn 0))) lost me with Oracle, particularly after some mild disappointment in Altar. My eventual listening of Domkirke came quite a while after its release, but it did revive my interest in the band. Now, finally delivering a new studio album (it has been quite a while since their last studio album Black One), Sunn 0))) stand on the verge of further showing their capabilities with new instrumentation to color their palette. Monoliths & Dimensions is the latest in a series of sonic explorations that continue to add layers to the oeuvre of Sunn 0))) that, along with their usual cadre of co-conspirators and several new faces as well, create a distinct next step forward in the evolution of the outfit.
Right from the initial drones of Agartha, Monoliths & Dimensions draws me into its beefy waves of sub-bass droning (exactly what I love so much about Sunn 0))) in the first place) and occasional modulation of the drones while the piece builds in a completely organic manner. Eventually the piece evolves with the inclusion of piano and the intoning voice of Attila Csihar (a frequent collaborator of the Sunn 0))) duo), but it is the subtle sounds like scraping strings of some stringed instruments, horn type instruments (in this case conch shells) and little percussive moments that really open this song up into new territory. The eerie female choral sounds that introduce Big Church are a completely new element to Sunn 0)))s repertoire and those mix with the murmuring and Csihars almost guttural musings while Greg Anderson and Stephen OMalley (the duo themselves) provide the guitar power drones to back up the supremely haunting moments (listen to the tolling bell and get creeped out by its sound) that are aurally present. Hunting & Gathering (Cydonia) seems almost pop oriented - in the sense that it seems to have some semblance of a traditional song structure. The choir and horn parts are some of the choicest sounding material that Sunn 0))) has given listeners in quite some time. The chilling mood of Alice is just right for a closing track and is rather reminiscent, at times, of some of Earths material on Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method (which is interesting because of Sunn 0)))s origins).
Sunn 0))) delivers the goods with Monoliths & Dimensions and in some respects reinvent themselves with the release without falling into some cliché or parody of the group in the process, which in todays continually business like market is more apt to happen than not. The album also rekindles even more of my personal interest in the duos (and company) catalog and ultimately, vision. Not that they need to cater to listeners at all, but somehow this album succeeds on a personal level for me where lately they have not. Surprisingly, this is Sunn 0))) at their most accessible and could be known as a touchstone or gateway record for new and unsuspecting listeners. Monoliths & Dimensions is definitely an excellent release and well worth the time and money of old and new aficionados alike.
8.5 / 10
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