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Sunn O))) played Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel (pics)

Ten minutes into its set Friday at a sold-out Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, the multi-layered composition Sunn O))) had been building with painstaking focus collapsed on itself. After a sharp pop, everything fell silent. The drone metal band, whose jet-engine-loud volume levels require enormous wattage, overtaxed the power supply.

Given that unplugging and going acoustic is not an option for Sunn O))), which appears again at the University of Chicago venue on Monday, the brief delay seemed like the only conceivable force that could stand in the way of its shape-shifting craft. Two decades into a continually evolving career that includes a sizeable cult following, the collective—named after a defunct albeit still-cherished amplifier brand popular with rock artists in the 60s and 70s— trades in experimental heaviness reliant on distorted guitars, subterranean frequencies and an unhurried pace. The group’s brand-new “Life Metal” album further dispels the restrictive “doom” label often used to describe its style.

Far from gloomy or ugly, the hour-and-a-half-long performance instead conveyed a majestic spirituality associated with ceremonies. Nearly every aspect of the concert assumed the guise of a sacred ritual, not the least of which related to the band striving to create a specific atmosphere… [Chicago Tribune]

Drone metal greats Sunn O))) gave their new album Life Metal an early physical release on Record Store Day, and it’s currently streaming online at NPR. It officially comes out this Friday (4/26) via Southern Lord. Ahead of its release, the band is on tour and played their first of two Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel on Friday (4/19). Papa M (aka David Pajo of Slint) is opening this tour but unfortunately had to cancel his set on Friday due to illness. Pictures of Sunn O))) are in the gallery above.

The tour hits Rockefeller Chapel again tonight (4/22), and there’s a NYC show on April 25 at Brooklyn Steel. You can buy tickets for NYC or enter to win a pair.

photos by James Richards IV

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