Kids have been going bananas over Sunn 0))) for a few years now, when they’re not getting all worked up over the new High on Fire album or continuing to suck in bong-loads of Electric Wizard. Far be it from me to discourage such noble apotheosis, but considering how much this style of slow, sludgy heavy metal is indebted to the past, I’d say a little history is in order. Before forming Sunn 0))) (and starting Southern Lord Records), Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley were part of Burning Witch, which only survived for two 12” releases over a handful of years in the late ‘90s. In that brief period, they played an intestine-bursting performance on the now-defunct Seattle public-access show, 29 Live. Everything about this video is FTW: the searing feedback, the unapologetic thrash fashion, the low end somehow remaining brawny through the tinny VHS recording, and above all else, the agonized shrieking of vocalist Edgy 59 (who now spends his time imitating Trent Reznor for Sinisstar). Doom metal would get slower, heavier, and more sophisticated in coming years, but never would Sabbath riffs be as punishing or raw.
// Notes from the Road
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