While O’Malley may get all the credit, there is another in Sunn0)))’s ranks that has been busy creating side projects here there and everywhere. His name? Greg Anderson. And aside from being a part of the aforementioned metal royalty, he is probably best known for being the brains behind Goatsnake as well as Engine Kid.
His latest collaborative effort sees him joining forces with Gentry Densley of Iceburn, naming their musical union Ascend and the release ‘Amplefire Within’.
As you’d expect from these boys, ‘Amplefire Within’ provides lengthy bass reverb and droning distortion right from the start with ‘The Obelisk of Kolob’ incorporating all the power and resonance that a track with such a title should include and then moving abruptly into the eponymous track, that haunts the air with minimal and heavy riffs heralding the coming of an onslaught of abrasive drone.
But it is with the lengthy tracks of ‘VOG’ and ‘Dark Matter’ that the album really takes off, with ‘VOG’ opening its ten minute composition with a middle eastern tribal vibe conjured via whirling horns and monotone drums, creating the perfect atmosphere for a raw and all-powerful guitar riff to rip through the airwaves. ‘Dark Matter’ ends the album with a funeral march pace and a sound that would fit well over a visual of some long abandoned necropolis way out West, the subtle use of the Sitar while Anderson conducts the unholy mass with hallmark, almost ecclesiastical moans.
Their creative time together has seen Densley and Anderson experimenting with recordings as far away from the metal spectrum as Jazz maestros Miles Davis and John Coltrane and while there are subtle nuances of this experimentation present in some of the instruments used, Ascend really is just one more Drone metal act. All the same, it’s a very effective one and for fans of the genre, ‘Ample Fire Within’ should not be overlooked.