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Flight of the Behemoth

1 rating: 5.0
An album by Sunn 0)))
1 review about Flight of the Behemoth

PING PONG.

  • Oct 8, 2006
Rating:
+5
Chances are, you are not looking at the amazon page for _Flight of the Behemoth_ because you accidentally stumbled on to it. You are here because something brought you here, perhaps an article reference, perhaps words from a friend. Either way, the fact that you are even reading this at all tells me that you already have at least a partial affinity for music like this, even if you do not yet realize it. Now I want to show you why you need to have this album.

This album is almost trivially dark and doomy sounding at the surface. Yet as the sound slowly seethes, it becomes emotionally damaging, like a cruel, impotent rage that hungers for revenge. The force of Sunn 0))) is an exquisitely mapped evolution of guitar distortion -- accompanied with a little piano, percussion, and Merzbow - through which a story unfolds of something so horrifying, no one can speak about it. Speaking intelligibly, after all, requires language...and language requires reason. Reason must struggle with comprehending _Flight of the Behemoth_, as it can seemingly only operate on a primitive, intuitive level -- a subrational element suppressed in any civilized man, yet capable of response to the crude brutality of this music. If music-listening's value is about a narrowly defined pleasure or "nice feelings", then _Flight of the Behemoth_ (along with countless other works) must be considered illegitimate. But if aesthetic appreciation is about something more, and the musical experience is capable of being even more enriching beyond traditional concepts and emotions, then this is monumental. Its influences are clear, but it is beyond them.

"Death Becomes You" has the best opening in music history--ensure your stereo is cranked. The initial amplified tone dissolves into the droning sludge of guitar and bass distortion. This continues through "Mocking Solemnity", where layers of feedback churn violently. "0))) Bow 1" rumbles for about 45 seconds before an atonal piano figure, based around basically three notes, enters with sinister inelegance. It continues through waves of distortion and layers of noise manipulation (Merzbow!) that eventually becomes asphyxiating. "0))) Bow 2" starts like a junker chainsaw in a wind tunnel, until the sound is warped beyond recognition into a throbbing symphony of droning and electronics, against which the discordant piano is again set with almost nauseating effect. Out of this, near the end, you get one of the uncanny moments ever in music, with broken percussion chiming in a carnival-like melodic figure that slows down, speeds up, and disappears erratically. This is repeatedly, rapaciously pierced by the brutal static shards of...Merzbow again! As this fades away, it ends eerily with a electric guitars distorted with undulating effects as if they were the waves of a black ocean. "FWTBT" has a sludgy riff, which fades away eventually into a reprise of idiomatic droning Sunn chords, otherwise familiar until the incredibly creepy vocals emerge. They are like the bloody growls of a nightmarish beast. But nothing as pedestrian as a physical monster--rather, the beast within that struggles against reason and seeks to discorporate all humanity. When the album is over, the Behemoth is released.

The production is a marvel of audio engineering -- weirdly, you can listen to this album at very quiet volumes and find a whole new dimension to it. You can't do that with a lot of albums that are heavy. Don't worry though -- it's super-heavy, the way only Sunn 0))) can be. The bass is crushing, as must be expected, but what also seems to get special attention in this album is the flesh-quivering treble, raising the distortion to a spectrum smashing, all encompassing wall of death.

So you need this album.

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Flight of the Behemoth
Details
Label: Southern Lord
Artist: Sunn 0)))
Release Date: February 5, 2002

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"PING PONG."
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