This post started out as a profile on Sunn O))) – Stephen O’Malley, Greg Anderson and sometimes Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar. They play doom metal and picked up where Earth left off during their hiatus in the nineties. The unusual name comes from the logo of the Sunn brand of bass amplifiers that were designed and made by the Sundholm brothers, one of whom played bass in the band The Kingsmen. The name also links them to the pioneer of doom, Earth.
But instead of highlighting one example of this genre, I would rather share the path of my research as it unfolded. It’s fascinating when you see the connections of the musicians and artists involved in all kinds of bands and genres. As I read about O’Malley and Anderson and Csihar I realised that they were all involved in various forms of art, music and production that reveals so much about the people who make this kind of music. O’Malley is involved in visual arts, having contributed to the cover art for bands like Earth, Melvins and Burzum. Anderson is involved, like O’Malley with the Southern Lord Label, being a co-founder and curator. Csihar I discovered is involved in all kinds of vocal acts from as mainstream as Jesus Christ Superstar to his solo act Void ov Voices which supported Bohren & der Club of Gore who I read were inspired by Dutch instrumental band GORE.
If you’re interested in the doom genre, some bands that are good starting point, Earth, Sunn O))), Gore and Bohren and Der Club of Gore. While that last choice is very different from the others it is essential in demonstrating my theory that the musicians who create this deeply dark and moody music are not the beastly, hard men that their alter-egos assume but generally sensitive and imaginative individuals. In fact I’ll go as far as saying that the harder the music, the softer the person is behind it. The references used and made by so many of the musicians in this genre reveal where their inspiration lies and how they interpret the world around them. While creating loud, dark and dramatic audio doom might be considered negative, it is in fact, a positive and creative outlet. You know what they say, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch.