Doom metal isn't a huge market; you won't find an abundance of doom metallers headlining Madison Square Garden or bragging about their ability to sell more CDs than Madonna, Janet Jackson, or Pearl Jam. But it does have a small cult following, and those who are seriously into doom metal can be very passionate about it. One of the more ambitious and musical bands in the doom field is Sunn0))), whose White1 favors the sort of complexity and intricacy one expects from progressive rock. Sunn0))) has the usual doom metal elements, including dark lyrics, sludgy guitars, gloominess, and Black Sabbath-minded riffs that are incredibly slow -- no one will ever mistake Sunn0))) for a grindcore, thrash, or death metal combo. But White1 is hardly the work of your average Saint Vitus or Grief wannabes. This CD contains three extended pieces, all of which are quite involved and offer a variety of twists and turns; the overall result could almost be described as Saint Vitus by way of Pink Floyd's darker material. Sabbath minded-riffing is only part of what Sunn0))) does on White1; there are many moments when the band favors an eerie drone and becomes downright meditative (in a dark, sorrowful way). Most of the time, White1 is more reflective than heavy; in fact, some doom metal purists may argue that this release isn't really doom metal -- that the material isn't as consistently forceful as a doom album needs to be. But even though White1 isn't the work of doom metal purists, Sunn0))) doesn't abandon their Saint Vitus/Grief/Sabbath heritage. The thing is that instead of simply emulating doom metal's leaders, Sunn0))) prefers to do something expansive -- and that's certainly admirable. White1 can be overly self-indulgent at times, but overall, the CD hits its mark.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson