12 Sep 2016

Nonsun: "Sun Blind Me"

Ukrainian duo delve into the darkest depths
Slowly, the ponderous, stoned out riff of Rain Have Mercy tunes in, accompanied by the soft yet intense sound of an organ. As the guitar gains momentum, the drums find their way inside, until finally the droning composition reaches some sort of culmination in a full-fledged clamour of heavy, sludgy, droning doom metal at the 4 minute mark. Goatooth's moribund vocals emerge from the shadows like a funeral dirge, and soon after the track slows down to a slower, improvisational tempo until once more it lurches into motion, exposing the consortium of trippy organ pieces and psychedelic guitars that were hitherto halfway hidden in the deeper layers of Nonsun's music. Alpha's drumming betrays a fascination for post rock atmospheres that Goatooth's ethereal strumming over the original riff only enhances.

Nonsun's music is an entity of of many alluring aspects, its intimacy emanating throughout the Sun Blind Me album. Drone, as a genre, is about as niche as it gets. The extreme length, heaviness and - often - lack of form and shape isn't for everyone. Nonsun isn't a drone band in the same sense as titans Sunn O))), though. True, there are long stretches of unmelodic drones followed by nothing but mind-tickling feedback for minutes on end, but the Ukrainian duo presents a style that draws inspiration from sludge, stoner metal and other styles as well, resulting in parts that are essentially incredibly slow-burning combustions of doom metal groaning under the stress of existence.

"...plays like a funerary procession with grave-minded tones fit for crypt."

What this means in essence is that, yes, their aesthetic is that of a drone band, but Nonsun's sound is moreso that of a less inert and inactive drone metal band, with lethargic waves of apathy washing over them time and time again. The vocals contrast with the music's heaviness by being raw and raspy, and though they are used very sparringly, their few occurances are all the more effective for it. Through the four tracks of Sun Blind Me, Nonsun progress deeper and deeper into murky waters. From the stoned, half-psychedelic Rain Have Mercy we emerge into a more nightmarish soundscape courtesy of Forgotten Is What Never Was, a track that plays like a funerary procession with grave-minded tones fit for crypt. With the first part of Alphomega we descend into yet darker domains, bordering almost on dark ambience. Alphomega's second part, in turn, is by far the EP's absolute high point when it comes to droning dark rumblings, roaring like a black hole underneath a cavernous guitar track. All this culminates in a short part of bleak guitars which rings out for the duration of the remainder of the track.

Nonsun is not something you would sit down and take a liking to instantly. Getting into the mindset and atmosphere takes time, but it is indeed worth it to catch just a glimps at all the minor details that the duo put into their music. At first Sun Blind Me seemed to lack unformity, each track representing wildly different approaches. But upon further examination and analysis, this turns out to be a strength rather than a weakness. If you're expecting mindnumbing heaviness and cosmic annihilation, this is not the album for you. Instead, Nonsun's autumnal hymns and tenebrous canticles are a beautiful soundtrack to the fall, and I think fans of Om or Earth would be pleased.


Released in 2013 by Breathe Plastic Records


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