Sunn 0))), Coalesce reissues put new shine on classic collections

Sunn 0)))

I had planned for this to be a busy week here at Meat Mead Metal. Then my dog accidentally poked my eye with his snout – hard – and gave me an abrasion of the cornea. Not sure how many of you have suffered through this injury, but if not, imagine the worst pain you’ve ever experience and multiply that by 1,000. It sucks. You can’t sleep, you can’t relax, you can’t get away from the pain.

So we’re going to do a quick entry today about a couple of essential re-releases and then go back to our Vicodin and eye salve. Fun times. Apologies if this is a bit disjointed. But we’ll get back to normal by the end of the week as long as my eye recovers at the pace that is expected, and one of those pieces will be our first-ever MMM interview, a conversation I’m quite excited to bring to you about one of this year’s finest death metal albums. Look for that by the end of the week. I hope …

So we’re talking re-releases today, something of which I’m a big fan. I know some people hate them because it’s like, why do you have to keep paying for the same record? One of these may make you feel that way since it’s been given new treatment before. But if the album is good, as both of these are, then what’s wrong with having a sparkling new version? I, for one, didn’t mind a bit re-collecting all of the Carcass albums because the new packages looked amazing and have cool extra stuff tacked onto them. Same when Iron Maiden reissued all of their CDs several years back. If I like the music enough, I want the best-sounding, slickest-looking version possible.

First up, we get a new version of the Sunn 0))) classic “ØØ Void,” the band’s 2000 sophomore effort that was released in the States by Hydra Head, by Rise Above in Europe, then by Daymare eight years later in Japan. The long-out-of-print tracks feature the core members Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, but they’re also joined by Stuart Dalquist (Burning Witch, Goatsnake) on bass and contributors Petra Hayden (who also played with Queens of the Stone Age and The Decemberists) on violin and vocals and Pete Stahl (who played with Goatsnake, QOTSA, Scream and Wool) on vocals. So it was a sign of things to come as far as their collaborative spirit is concerned but maintained that primitive, smoldering doom drone for which they became so highly regarded. This truly was a landmark effort for the band and for those who followed in the group’s footsteps.

The four cuts are slithering and impossibly heavy, which is obvious, right? They slowly move like a hulk across the land, from the spacey ambiance and enveloping darkness of “Richard”; the oddly melodic, mind-altering “NN 0)))” a song that has even more effect when you’re on painkillers; “Rabbits’ Revenge,” the powerful reinterpretation of The Melvins’ cut “Hung Bunny,” a song that clearly stood as a major influence on O’Malley and Anderson; and the chunkier, more aggressive closer “Ra at Dusk” that finds the band striking harder than they usually do but also dissolving into a nice noise wash that carries you away into space.

Sunn 0))) also have a second effort planned via O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ of their collaboration alongside Nurse With Wound. It’s coming out on double-gatefold vinyl, and a link for more information is below. Buy one, or even better, buy both of these albums. If you’re serious about doom, drone and darkness, you need to have them in your collection. Try them with Vicodin!

For more on the band, go here: http://www.ideologic.org/

To buy “ØØ Void,” go here: http://www.southernlord.com/store.php

To buy the Nurse With Wound effort, go here: http://editionsmego.com/ideologic-organ/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.southernlord.com/

Coalesce (more recently)

The second piece up for discussion is the latest reissue treatment for the Coalesce classic “Give Them Rope,” the band’s explosive 1998 debut that dumped metal, hardcore, math metal, and all of their crossover sub-genres on their ears. The Kansas City-based metalcore pioneers absolutely steamrolled people with this platter, a record they weren’t entirely happy with upon its release and have worked since then to get into acceptable form. This reissued version is that goal accomplished, and it’s a combo of remastered, repackaged copy of the original release, complete with extensive liner notes, and a second disc that contains the 2004alternative mix and master “Give Them Rope She Said.” You got all that? Basically, you’re getting two different versions of the album.

“Give Them Rope” (originally out on Edison Records) always has been my favorite Coalesce album, flaws aside that apparently didn’t bother me as much as they did the band. But I understand where they’re coming from, and if you’ve worked as hard on something as they did this record and endured as much frustration as they did getting this thing out there (and even holding the band together), you’d want it to be as perfect as possible. Sean Ingram sounds in total command on this album, barking and shouting his way through these 11 tracks (or, um, 22 if you want to add up both versions) in a way only he can (and he’s just as ferocious and affecting today), and the rest of the band backs him up with furious thunder and hardcore-laced metallic punishment so many bands have tried to duplicate but never came close to equaling.

This new version of the original sounds fantastic, especially on headphones where you get a healthy dose of what is closer to their original vision, and the 2004 add-on still sounds interesting, even if the differences aren’t always entirely evident. This is an important record that, like the Sunn 0))) album, inspired a legion of followers. And yeah, metalcore has a horrible, damaged connotation now, but this is how the music was supposed to sound before it morphed into a commercially driven mess.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.facebook.com/Coalesce

To buy “Give Them Rope,” go here: http://www.relapse.com/give-them-rope-reissue-2cd.html

For more on the label, go here: http://www.relapse.com/