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Sunn O)))

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Sunn O)))
Sunn O)))
L-R: TOS, Greg Anderson,
Stephen O'Malley, Attila Csihar
Background information
Also known as Sunn, Sunn "O)))", sunn O))), Mars (1996 - 1998)
Origin Seattle, Washington, USA (Early)
Los Angeles, California / Paris, France (Present)
Genres Drone, Drone Doom, Black Metal, Experimental, Noise, Dark Ambient, Avant-garde
Years active 1998 - Present
Labels Southern Lord Records, Hydra Head Records, Ideologic Organ, Rise Above Records, 4AD
Associated acts Boris, Burial Chamber Trio, Burning Witch, Earth, Goatsnake, Engine Kid, Brotherhood, Gravetemple, Pentemple, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, Khanate, KTL, Merzbow, Nurse with Wound, Thorr's Hammer, Mayhem, Scott Walker, Ulver, Pan Sonic, Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, Ascend
Website Official Page
Current members Stephen O'Malley
Greg Anderson
Band Logo
Sunn logo

Sunn O))) (pronounced simply sun /sʌn/, sometimes spelled as sunn O)))) are an American drone metal band from Seattle, Washington that formed in 1998. The band is primarily known for its synthesis of diverse genres including drone, ambient, noise, extreme metal and for its extremely loud live performances. Supported by a varying cast of collaborators, the band was formed and maintained by two core members: Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley.

Referring to their music as "life metal", the band's style is characterized by extremely slow tempos, heavily distorted guitars, avoidance of rhythm and melody, and alternate tunings. The guitars are notable for their incredibly low register, frequently utilizing tunings as low as drop A. Additionally, the band is known for using resonant feedback to create monolithic soundscapes and eerie atmospheres. Percussion is almost never incorporated with a lack of any discernible beat. When performing live the band wears robes, fills the air with fog, and plays at an extremely high volume. Though drone is their nucleus, Sunn O))) experiment with a variety of styles and sounds with nods to avant-garde, ambient, classical music and black metal among other sounds. On occasion vocalists are incorporated with lyrical themes on nothingness, darkness, nihilism and the infinite void.

The band releases the majority of its music through Southern Lord Records, the label Greg Anderson founded in 1998. However on occasion the band has branched out to other labels such as Rise Above Records, Hydra Head Records, Ideologic Organ (O'Malley's personal label.), ARCHIVE and 4AD among others.

Sunn O))) are widely regarded as leaders in its genre, including by The New York Times Magazine of May 28, 2006, when the band was written up in an article called "Heady Metal" by John Wray. It was praised in an issue of Wonka Vision, an independent music magazine, as one of the greatest modern metal acts.[citation needed] Sunn O))) was also shown in the August 2007 issue of Q Magazine (the "loud issue"), with its album White1 being named the 18th-loudest album of all time, just above AC/DCs Back in Black and below Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced?.

Sunn O)))'s name and logo are directly taken from the Sunn amplifier brand, whose logo includes a circle next to the "SUNN" banner with waves heading off to the right. In interviews, Stephen O'Malley stated that the band's moniker was also chosen as a play on the name Earth, a band widely regarded as pioneers of drone music throughout the 1990s and reasoned based on Sunn O))) "revolving around Earth". Before the band members moved to Los Angeles, it briefly used the moniker Mars as a playful reference to Earth and the next planet in the solar system.


Formation and Initial Albums (1998 - 2002)Edit

Sunn O))) formed sometime in 1998 in Seattle by O'Malley and Anderson, both of which previously worked together in Thorr's Hammer and Burning Witch. The band would play their first show in the spring of 1998 and record their first demos that year.[1] Eventually in 1999 G. Stuart Dahlquist would join the group as their bassist and the band would release their first studio output via Double H Noise Industries and Hydra Head Records in the form of The Grimmrobe Demos.

Going into 2000 Sunn O))) would release their first studio album ØØ Void on 26 June and follow into their earliest known European tour alongside Goatsnake and Orange Goblin. By 2001 Dahlquist would depart from the group as the band finished recording on their second album and started sessions on future material. On 22 January 2002 Sunn O))) would release their second studio album Flight Of The Behemoth on Southern Lord Records with Japanese noise legend Merzbow as a key collaborator. At this point the group largely performed as a duo but had been working guests into their live performances at this point such as Rex Ritter and Runhild Gammelsæter among others.

White and Black (2003 - 2005)Edit

Altar, Oracle and Grimmrobes Live (2006 - 2008)Edit

Monoliths & Dimensions (2009 - 2013)Edit

Collaborations & Kannon (2014 - Present)Edit


Studio AlbumsEdit


Extended PlaysEdit

Live AlbumsEdit

NOTE: Only official live albums are listed here. Bootlegs from the Sunn O))) live bandcamp are excluded.


  • Altar (Collaboration with Boris) (2006, Southern Lord)
  • Che (Collaboration with Pan Sonic; Split with Alan Vega & Stephen Burroughs) (2008, Blast First Petite)
  • The Iron Soul of Nothing (Collaboration with Nurse With Wound) (2011, Ideologic Organ)
  • Terrestrials (Collaboration with Ulver) (2014, Southern Lord)
  • Soused (Collaboration with Scott Walker) (2014, 4AD)


  • WHITEbox (Box-set of both White albums, 4LP) (2006, Southern Lord)


Current MembersEdit

Current Live MembersEdit

  • Attila Csihar - Live Vocals (2003 - Present)
  • Steve Moore - Live Trombone, Keyboards (2005 - Present)
  • TOS Nieuwenhuizen - Live Keyboards (2005 - Present)

Past Members and Live CollaboratorsEdit

  • G. Stuart Dahlquist - Bass (1999 - 2001)
  • Joe Preston - Bass, Samples, Jackhammer
  • Oren Ambarchi
  • Merzbow
  • Keiji Haino
  • Atsuo Mizuno
  • Takeshi Ohtani
  • Wata
  • Jef Whitehead (AKA Wrest/Leviathan)
  • Rex Ritter
  • Runhild Gammelsæter
  • Nate Carson
  • Dawn Smithson
  • Peter Rehberg
  • John Weise
  • Kevin Drumm
  • Scott Connor (AKA Malefic/Xasthur)
  • Bill Herzog
  • Mark Deutrom
  • Randall Dunn
  • Justin Broadrick
  • Christopher McGrail (AKA Holy McGrail)
  • Lasse Marhaug
  • Daniel O'Sullivan
  • Sin Nanna


NOTE: This section is a work in progress and more details will be added when found.

External LinksEdit


  1. IdeologicAccessed 20 May 2017
V·T·E Sunn O)))
O))) Greg AndersonStephen O'Malley
Live O))) Attila CsiharTOS NieuwenhuizenSteve Moore
Past Contributors / Collaborators G. Stuart DahlquistJoe PrestonAtsuo Mizuno • Oren Ambarchi • Masami Akita • Takeshi Ohtani • Wata • Keiji Haino • Jef Whitehead • Rex Ritter • Runhild Gammelsæter • Nate Carson • Dawn Smithson • Peter Rehberg • John Weise • TKevin Drumm • Scott Connor • Bill Herzog • Mark Deutrom • Randall Dunn • Justin Broadrick • Christopher McGrail • Lasse Marhaug • Daniel O'Sullivan • Sin Nanna • Mories • Scott Walker
Studio Albums ØØ VoidFlight of the BehemothWhite1White2Black OneMonoliths & DimensionsKannon
Demos The Grimmrobe DemosRehearsal Demo Nov 11 2011LA Reh 012
Extended Plays Velis It WhiteCro-Monolithic Remixes For An Iron AgeCandlewolff Ov Thee Golden ChaliceAngel ComaOracle
Live Albums & Videos The Libations of SamhainLive WhiteLa Mort Noir dans Esch/AlzetteDømkirke(初心) Grimmrobes Live 101008Live At Primavera Sound Festival 2009 On WFMUAgharti Live 09-10Нежить: Живьём В России
Collaborations AltarO))) Presents...CheThe Iron Soul of NothingTerrestrialsSoused
Burial Chamber Trio Burial Chamber TrioBurial Chamber Trio (Album)WVRM
Gravetemple GravetempleThe Holy DownAmbient / RuinLe Vampire de Paris
Burning Witch Burning WitchTowers...Rift.Canyon.DreamsCrippled Lucifer (Album)Burning Witch (Box Set)
Thorr's Hammer Thorr's HammerDommedagsnatt
Associated Bands, Artists, Etc. Teeth of Lions Rule the DivineRamptonAscendAmple Fire WithinEarthGoatsnakeKhanate • KTL • Merzbow • Nurse With Wound • Mayhem • Scott Walker • Ulver • Pan Sonic • Engine Kid • Brotherhood • Æthenor • Probot

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