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Sunn O))) and Ulver – Terrestrials – 8.25/10

– A collaboration that I used to dream about happening, and finally did. American drone metal meets Norwegian experimental music. What would it sound like? For a lot of people the sound of this album was not a shock and was easy to expect. For others, myself included, that was a good thing. Both bands are familiar with drone, ambience, build ups, climaxes, and a whole lot of atmosphere. Both bands have also found ways to include instruments more commonly associated with jazz than metal. And that is exactly what we get here for around 36 minutes split up into 3 long tracks. The first track introduces us to a build up using drones created by guitar and keyboards, as well as trumpets soloing over that, until a loud in your face climax towards the end. The second song has more darkness, unlike the mystery that can be felt on the first track. Instead of an in your face climax, this one just fades away, almost as if into despair. The third track builds up with violins and violas rather than horns, and continues that way for almost 7 minutes. Finally a keyboard comes in the background and the stringed instruments repeat melodies, creating a classical build heard on Ulver’s release from last year. Vocals come in for the first time on the album, and definitely make this more of an Ulver track than a Sunn O))) track like the previous two. The vocals start deep and almost whisper-like, before going up an octave and becoming epic and melancholic. With 4 minutes left, the album repeats melodies from the album, and fades away, giving a satisfying ending like the end of Marrow of the Spirit by Agalloch. Overall, some people will not like this album because not enough happens for them. I on the other hand would like to see more from this collaboration, and found myself giving this more spins than I normally give albums that focus on this kind of experimentation.

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