November 9, 2006

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SunnO))) & Boris, Altar
Southern Lord Records, 2006

Capitalizing on their two metal-ish powerhouses, Southern Lord locked dronemeisters SunnO))) and Japanese born-and-back-again bliss-spastics Boris in a Seattle studio to see what’d come of it in a more-or-less interesting experiment whose results are, if you’ve followed Boris’ entire career path, not all that shocking. Since Boris were strangers in a strange land and may have held SunnO))) in more reverent regard than vice versa, Altar is strictly a slo-mo sludgy ambient exercise that fuses typical SunnO))) ringout organics to the caustic subterranean feedback that Boris was about in 2001’s Absolutego (Boris’ 2006 import, Flood, points to more of this test-pattern worship, though it’s more complex, perhaps serving as prep for Altar). Boris drummer Atsuo is the lone holdout, adding punk flair to Altar in the form of Keith Moon soloing, but past that the record is strictly for the growing army of listeners who’ve come to love noise underdogs like Pelican and can’t get enough of ’em. For everyone else, you can get enough of it quite easily: visit a friend who owns a Marshall or SunnO))) amplifier, crank it to 11, tune the guitar down one or two steps, drop it on the floor and keep kicking its neck once every 15 seconds until you hear the voice of your dead grand-uncle. B-

— Eric W. Saeger