Monoliths & Dimensions

User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 83
  2. Negative: 22 out of 83

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  1. Jul 3, 2012
    10
    I'm genuinely baffled by the people who say there's no progression in the songs. 'Alice' starts off with a creeping, slow guitar riff and ends with a wailing horn... How are they the same thing? This is music that requires focus, attention, and an appreciation of where it's come from and what it's trying to do. That can take years to accomplish. I first came to Sunn O))) ten years ago andI'm genuinely baffled by the people who say there's no progression in the songs. 'Alice' starts off with a creeping, slow guitar riff and ends with a wailing horn... How are they the same thing? This is music that requires focus, attention, and an appreciation of where it's come from and what it's trying to do. That can take years to accomplish. I first came to Sunn O))) ten years ago and couldn't stand them. Now I've gone back, having seen them live and buying a sound system that can almost manage the low-end layers, and it all makes sense. It's not pretentious, it's not "just art" (whatever the hell that means), it's a form of music that asks more of its audience than other styles, and creates atmospheres that most other bands would struggle to begin to understand.

    And if you think you could make money by sticking a mic by a washing machine and distorting the effects for 30 minutes, just **** do it and get some money so that you'll hopefully feel less of a need to act like a moron. You're like the children who stand before a Picasso and say it's "just splatters of paint". If you don't get it, you don't get it, but don't broadcast your ignorance like it's an achievement.
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  2. Oct 1, 2010
    10
    every aspect of this album is brilliant. I'm usually not a huge drone fan but the massive amount of elements and huge atmosphere won me over. Insanely good.
  3. EricC.
    Jun 28, 2009
    10
    Really is deserving of a 10. The fact that Sunn have created an album this beautiful is on its own astonishing, considering the overwhelming darkness of their previous releases. Not that this is an Earth-like reinvention in atmosphere. Opening track "Agartha" is especially unsettling. But as a whole, there is more to explore here than just darkness and depressive drones. This is an album Really is deserving of a 10. The fact that Sunn have created an album this beautiful is on its own astonishing, considering the overwhelming darkness of their previous releases. Not that this is an Earth-like reinvention in atmosphere. Opening track "Agartha" is especially unsettling. But as a whole, there is more to explore here than just darkness and depressive drones. This is an album to lose yourself in, an epic symphony that is feeling more and more like the pinnacle of drone and avant metal. It is easily the best album I've heard this year, and it's been a great year for metal. Maybe it won't hit most people as hard as it hit me, but it should reach more listeners than Sunn's traditional followers. Albums like this don't come along very often, and you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't atleast listen to it once. Expand
  4. LanceR
    Jul 18, 2009
    10
    Rudiger and Axel, you are both casualties of misinterpretation. I also doubt that either of you listened to the album properly. I will explain things to you, smugly, to counter your fascinatingly bitter conclusions. This music has nothing to do with virtuosity, with melody, with rhythm, and, believe it or not, with artistic pretension, though I have yet to confirm that latter statement Rudiger and Axel, you are both casualties of misinterpretation. I also doubt that either of you listened to the album properly. I will explain things to you, smugly, to counter your fascinatingly bitter conclusions. This music has nothing to do with virtuosity, with melody, with rhythm, and, believe it or not, with artistic pretension, though I have yet to confirm that latter statement with Stephen O'Mally. Either way, Sunn have made it clear: their music needs to be played LOUD, and that doesn't mean through your laptop speakers. You need to blast that shit, on big speakers, properly. And this takes courage, because their "music" is actually trying to achieve a desired effect through timbre and vibration. It's music serving as a physical force, not an emotional or intellectual one. And by physical, I mean that you should FEEL the sound pressing against your body. But granted, you do need a pair of balls to experience Monoliths as intended. Your ears will be punished, but the reward lies in the experience of staring directly into the Sunn, even if it blinds you. Do this, THEN rate the album. If you still stand by your statements, without pride as a motivator, I too will stand corrected. Expand
  5. Matt
    Aug 13, 2009
    9
    The people who dismiss this record as a "joke" are probably the same people who dont "get" Pollock or Rothko while at art museums because it isnt easily decipherable or full of colorful cherubs. I completely understand this type of music isnt for everyone, but to expect that it SHOULD cater to you is where you've gone astray. If you didnt like drone metal before, why is it a shock The people who dismiss this record as a "joke" are probably the same people who dont "get" Pollock or Rothko while at art museums because it isnt easily decipherable or full of colorful cherubs. I completely understand this type of music isnt for everyone, but to expect that it SHOULD cater to you is where you've gone astray. If you didnt like drone metal before, why is it a shock that you dont now? Sunn is not a band I listen to often, nor do I think I would really want to. But their works are incredibly powerful when in the proper setting and frame of mind (drugs are not necessary..this IS the drug). And to echo the others here, you need to listen to it at maximum volume on a VERY GOOD stereo system. My appreciation for these guys went up ten-fold when I caught their live show. In that setting, the sound truly does shake your inner soul and leave you falling backwards into a infinite black abyss. The ironic thing is, Monoliths and Dimensions is easily their most accessible work to date, especially Alice which is one of the most darkly beautiful tracks I've heard this year. Expand
  6. Mick
    Jan 21, 2010
    1
    This is an absolute dirge. Seems so many music websites are afraid of the big white elephant in the corner of the room (that being Pitchfork) that they'll fall over themselves to endorse anything they like. This is, in short, crap.
  7. AxelF
    Jul 20, 2009
    2
    Obviously not everyone thinks this is the best album ever. No amount of ad hominem vitriol will change that. Clearly other people having an opinion pisses you all off, but these are reviews, not a coronation. Implying that I listened to it wrong isn't accurate, I listened to it twice full through high volume. It's just not good music. I have my opinion. You have your opinion. Obviously not everyone thinks this is the best album ever. No amount of ad hominem vitriol will change that. Clearly other people having an opinion pisses you all off, but these are reviews, not a coronation. Implying that I listened to it wrong isn't accurate, I listened to it twice full through high volume. It's just not good music. I have my opinion. You have your opinion. Other people have other opinions. Expand
  8. DaveS
    Jul 22, 2009
    0
    "It's music serving as a physical force, not an emotional or intellectual one. And by physical, I mean that you should FEEL the sound pressing against your body." Airplane turbines have a similar effect. Check them out dude. They're really cutting edge.
  9. DerekB
    Aug 6, 2009
    5
    I'll jump in with the first vote that lies directly in the middle. Admittedly, since I have roommates whom I respect, listening to this album at full volume in my apartment was never an option. I even tried to convince them them to pop in the CD on the living room stereo & crank it. Still no, so I opted for headphones. Let me run off on an explanatory tangent for a few lines. We are I'll jump in with the first vote that lies directly in the middle. Admittedly, since I have roommates whom I respect, listening to this album at full volume in my apartment was never an option. I even tried to convince them them to pop in the CD on the living room stereo & crank it. Still no, so I opted for headphones. Let me run off on an explanatory tangent for a few lines. We are all metalheads. We listen to Sabbath, Maiden, Meshuggah & even Dimmu Borgir turned up all the way. While we may be spoiled on speed, we're still dedicated to a future of metal-induced deafness. That being said, I still believe this album is extremely overrated. Visceral thought it may be, it's still a bunch of dudes droning on heavily detuned instruments with no discernible attempt at musicality. Maybe that's the point. But I'm still not convinced. On an artistic level, I have to hand it to them: they have balls, which is why this is interpreted as metal. However, I agree with Lance R. This album is best experienced very loud. Loud and possibly under the influence of lots of LSD. Since I left the blotter with my friend Ricky, I have to evaluate this album in a (somewhat) sober state. I can't see why anyone could assign a droning, largely dissonant collection of noise on the very periphery of the mainstream a 10, unless you're reacting those giving this album a zero. Perhaps it's a sonic evolution for the band, but I can't see myself particularly interested in their previous works. Monoliths & Dimensions is plenty. Conversely, I can't bring myself to rate this album lowly; mostly due to its provocative avant-garde appeal. Expand
  10. AlexF.
    Jul 10, 2009
    2
    Listening through this album is painful. The pretension on this album borders on parody. There is no demonstrable musical or compositional talent. The majority of the album alternates between a few notes, each held for dramatic emphasis. Lyrics are mumbled and paused excessively, also for dramatic emphasis.
  11. rudigerf
    Jul 16, 2009
    1
    This is without a doubt the single worst thing my ears have ever experienced. I consider myself to be very open minded when it comes to music, even the most pretentious triple concept album wouldn't offend me near as much as this nonsense. It's not art, there's no musicianship, I'm only giving it 1/10 because the ablum art is cool. The only reasons I can find for This is without a doubt the single worst thing my ears have ever experienced. I consider myself to be very open minded when it comes to music, even the most pretentious triple concept album wouldn't offend me near as much as this nonsense. It's not art, there's no musicianship, I'm only giving it 1/10 because the ablum art is cool. The only reasons I can find for liking this album is if... 1. You're one of those loser metal types that think you're so dark and messed up that chanting about satan is cool. 2. You think you need to like the crap fed to you by 'trendy' music critics to be cool. 3. You're a 'trendy' music critic (a**hole). Expand
  12. AndrewM
    Aug 15, 2009
    0
    This album has no redeeming musical or artistic quality whatsoever. The album is an unappealing and entirely uncreative amalgam of sparse noises. To second the statement made by someone else, this album "was painful to listen to."
  13. DiggerN
    Aug 20, 2009
    1
    I kept waiting for the Stonehenge lyrics to start. Pompous rubbish. Very Tap indeed.
  14. nick
    Aug 26, 2009
    2
    I kind of get the dark ambiance thing but i don't see what's so special about this album - any reasonable musician could make this if they could be arsed, the thing is there are much more interesting things to do with noise that what Sunn have created. I respect the opinion of those who love it and in fairness I may be missing something, but it doesn't seem like an artistic I kind of get the dark ambiance thing but i don't see what's so special about this album - any reasonable musician could make this if they could be arsed, the thing is there are much more interesting things to do with noise that what Sunn have created. I respect the opinion of those who love it and in fairness I may be missing something, but it doesn't seem like an artistic leap forward or anything particularly revolutionary to me. Expand
  15. Corey
    Aug 3, 2009
    0
    I consider myself to be very open to new music; I love a lot of 'experimental' stuff and see value even in bands I don't care much for. That being said, I really just don't 'get' this album. It is, honestly, the worst thing I've ever heard, I can't consider it music because music, you see, requires variation in sound, it requires something more than I consider myself to be very open to new music; I love a lot of 'experimental' stuff and see value even in bands I don't care much for. That being said, I really just don't 'get' this album. It is, honestly, the worst thing I've ever heard, I can't consider it music because music, you see, requires variation in sound, it requires something more than a single droning note held for what seems like years without so much as a half-note change. This... this is just unbearably awful. Expand
  16. alexg
    Aug 6, 2009
    0
    Well, if you gotta be excentric, you ll say this album is good. if you wanna be sincere to yourself, you ll have to admit this is no more than pretentious noise. Critics who scored this high are only faking smart decadency, this is a perfect example of artzie kitsch.
  17. hubcap
    Oct 22, 2009
    5
    People who like this sort of thing will find that this is the sort of thing that they like. Other people will wonder what the fuss is about.
  18. JustinL
    Jul 24, 2009
    0
    Nonsense. This is absolute nonsense. "casualties of misinterpretation".... really. If you all want I can throw a mic next to my dishwasher and you can just throw me $9.99 a cycle to listen (note: I consider extra rinse a bonus track... $11.99). I can't even figure out where people get off calling this pretentious...I wouldn't even give it that much credit. Unlistenable. and to Nonsense. This is absolute nonsense. "casualties of misinterpretation".... really. If you all want I can throw a mic next to my dishwasher and you can just throw me $9.99 a cycle to listen (note: I consider extra rinse a bonus track... $11.99). I can't even figure out where people get off calling this pretentious...I wouldn't even give it that much credit. Unlistenable. and to those who strike back with furious rebuttles about my own misinterpretations and how shallow my musical taste must be... Your wrong. Learn to play an instrument rather then waste your time listening to this critically acclaimed garbage disposal. Expand
  19. JohnR
    Aug 11, 2009
    3
    While it has some not so horrible moments, the rest of the album is essentially made of noise, sometimes lasting no less than 5 minutes. The main point to sell this thing is to talk about ART. Ok first when speaking about music and tastes, if someone tries to elevate the subject to something intellectually elevated, it's always some kind of maneuver, to elevate himself in his While it has some not so horrible moments, the rest of the album is essentially made of noise, sometimes lasting no less than 5 minutes. The main point to sell this thing is to talk about ART. Ok first when speaking about music and tastes, if someone tries to elevate the subject to something intellectually elevated, it's always some kind of maneuver, to elevate himself in his association to something that wouldn't be understood. This is the major swindle from half of the contemporary art. Collapse
  20. BrianA
    Aug 15, 2009
    3
    Okay, so I've given this album a couple of listens and despite the ridiculously good reviews it has managed to obtain, I just don't get it. I find myself wanting SOMETHING out of it. The songs lack any sort of progression whatsoever, and when they're an average of 10 minutes each, I demand progression! Someone please explain this to me.
  21. Oct 1, 2011
    1
    Clearly 35% of the users reviewing here don't see the trolling involved here.

    But here, an honest review: The album has very little variation WHATSOEVER. I have listened to drone before, some I like, some I do not. While I may not be the biggest audiophile out there, I definitely do not believe there is any change in sound at all. The vocals..? Let's just not get into that, because
    Clearly 35% of the users reviewing here don't see the trolling involved here.

    But here, an honest review:
    The album has very little variation WHATSOEVER. I have listened to drone before, some I like, some I do not. While I may not be the biggest audiophile out there, I definitely do not believe there is any change in sound at all. The vocals..? Let's just not get into that, because they are obvious ****

    I imagine the whole album is a gigantic troll, but then again, there are some incredibly stupid people in this world.

    PS: If you are interested in something happening, go to Alice - 12:00 mark.
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  22. CharlesH
    Jun 10, 2009
    10
    Amazing album. Does exactly what they needed to do to progress musically and dynamically. A masterpiece of its genre.
  23. MarkS
    Jun 21, 2009
    8
    "Aghartha" is the perfect choice to open your 2009 Halloween mix.
  24. OkerN
    Jun 13, 2009
    10
    I don't think most people, reviewers included, realize that they've heard one of, if not The record of the decade, and the reason for that is quite simple indeed: they didn't turn it up loud enough. Give it 10 years. See what they'll be saying then.
  25. bs
    Jul 19, 2009
    9
    I guess the closed-minded are allowed to voice their opinions too. But come on, if you can't get in to a band, you don't unerstand what they're trying to achieve, or they just rub you the wrong way, that makes them pretentious and hipsters? Get a real argument a**holes.
  26. JesseT.
    Aug 6, 2009
    9
    Let me preface this by saying that this is not an album for people who believe that guitars can ONLY be played by plucking and strumming them. Last time I checked, guitars did not come with instruction manuals on how to play them. There is always more than one way to skin a cat. With that being said, this music is about exploring realms of human emotion and musical sound that have not Let me preface this by saying that this is not an album for people who believe that guitars can ONLY be played by plucking and strumming them. Last time I checked, guitars did not come with instruction manuals on how to play them. There is always more than one way to skin a cat. With that being said, this music is about exploring realms of human emotion and musical sound that have not been explored very deep. Of course, some people who believe in music in the classic sense will most like be put off by the free-form and extreme experimentation, but that is what I think is this goup's strong point. Beauty can be found the most unexpected of places. You have to be open and look to find it first though. Expand
  27. Sean
    Jan 21, 2010
    9
    Why are people complaining about this album? You dont need to have a Ph. D in music theory to understand that this is not a traditional style of music, nor is it an attempt to blow you away with explosive creativity. Yes, the notes seem to 'drone' on for ages. No, Sunn 0))))) is not trying to impress a specific crowd of metal heads who worship satan. This album may not meet the Why are people complaining about this album? You dont need to have a Ph. D in music theory to understand that this is not a traditional style of music, nor is it an attempt to blow you away with explosive creativity. Yes, the notes seem to 'drone' on for ages. No, Sunn 0))))) is not trying to impress a specific crowd of metal heads who worship satan. This album may not meet the criteria for what you consider 'music'. This is art - and art doesn't care if you like it. The artists in this band take their work seriously, and have obviously made an impression on people. Again, you are not required to like art. If you are looking for something a little more palatable - something you can dance to - I recommend the newest release from the Arctic Monkeys. If, on the other hand, you are willing to let someone try another method for stimulating your ears and your mind, give this record another listen. Expand
  28. SteveR.
    Dec 7, 2009
    9
    It was a great album. The first track is a bit weak, but everything else on the album is amazing.
  29. JohnM.
    Oct 29, 2009
    7
    This is a very good record, but that is not why I am here. I am here because I am tired of people without anything constructive to say about this, or any other record, going on to make personal attacks about those who enjoy it. There are a myriad tastes in the world, and people listen to music for many different reasons. Just because you do not have an appreciation for something like this This is a very good record, but that is not why I am here. I am here because I am tired of people without anything constructive to say about this, or any other record, going on to make personal attacks about those who enjoy it. There are a myriad tastes in the world, and people listen to music for many different reasons. Just because you do not have an appreciation for something like this does not mean that everyone else who does is pretentious or a hipster, or "one of those loser metal types that think you're so dark and messed up that chanting about satan is cool." Those of us who do enjoy aberrant styles of music do not do so to be hip, and to criticize a record because you believe that that is why people rate it highly is a red herring. Please keep your comments confined to the music itself, that is what is meant to be reviewed on a site like this. Thank you. Expand
  30. GabrielC
    Jun 15, 2009
    10
    A great masterpiece, one of the best metal albums of the decade, hands down.
  31. KateS
    Jun 9, 2009
    10
    Wow! this album is incredible music masterpiece.
  32. MarylinY
    Jun 9, 2009
    10
    One of the best metal albums of the decade.
  33. JamesR
    Jul 27, 2009
    10
    So good! Can't wait to see it preformed at the haunted Brookdale Lodge!
  34. DerekS
    Aug 12, 2009
    6
    I actually quite like this album- the droning, the repetition, the lack of any melody, rhythm etc...but then again I find the noise of vacuum cleaners relaxing.
  35. RaulV
    Aug 20, 2009
    8
    I find this to be good chill music. It's very slow, but not boring or pretentious (I don't know where people are getting pretentious from). It's not for everyone, but please don't be stupid and call it "uncreative". Bands like Three Days Grace are uncreative, not this.
  36. Lol:)R.
    Aug 25, 2009
    7
    At First, It Starts with Agartha, which was a mind blowingly horrible song. I, however, stuck through the album after the 1 star song tragedy, and listened to Big Church. It was brilliant. Using christian gospel chiors in tandem with dronign guitars I thought would never work, but it did! It was eerie, lazily simple, but at the same inadvertently sophisticated. This song came in at 4 At First, It Starts with Agartha, which was a mind blowingly horrible song. I, however, stuck through the album after the 1 star song tragedy, and listened to Big Church. It was brilliant. Using christian gospel chiors in tandem with dronign guitars I thought would never work, but it did! It was eerie, lazily simple, but at the same inadvertently sophisticated. This song came in at 4 stars. After Big Church, there came Hunting and Gathering (Cydonia). This song was the first time I had ever heard Sunn O))) put an ounce of creativity into. They usually just play the same guitar notes over and over with loud volumes. But this one had the grinding guitar rhythm that was layered perfectly with low voiced vocals. In the final 2 or 3 minutes of this ten minute epic, it had the bell from Big Church and the quick muttering. This is something I found inventive. That and the trombones made this song a great opener for your Halloween 2009 mix. 4 stars out of five. The final song, and certainly the best song was Alice. The simple guitar rhythm provided a spooky, eerie texture to the song, and then it faded into an incredible jazz-ensemble outtro. It was incredible. It was mesmerizing. It was, in my opinion, one of the best songs ever made. 5 stars out of five. The mean for 1, 4, 4, 5 is 3.5, making it tied with OK Computer for best album ever on my list. Exactly seven out of 10. Expand
  37. Keith
    Aug 28, 2009
    10
    Fortunately, not more of the same - the introduction of more instruments into the album while not overloading the songs brings to the sound its appropriate atmosphere. And yes, one feels the power of the Sunn O))) when he blasts it from powerful speakers. "Alice" might be their most graceful and beautiful track yet.
  38. PatrickF.
    Aug 29, 2009
    9
    Not my favorite Sunn release, but it's really good. I'm not sure why the people who are reviewing it so poorly expected to like it in the first place. If you previously didn't understand or like drone, this album probably won't be one to change your mind, awesome as it is. Reading these reviews is an exercise in frustration; it's like a bunch of people, fully Not my favorite Sunn release, but it's really good. I'm not sure why the people who are reviewing it so poorly expected to like it in the first place. If you previously didn't understand or like drone, this album probably won't be one to change your mind, awesome as it is. Reading these reviews is an exercise in frustration; it's like a bunch of people, fully aware of their dislike for modern art, walking into the MoMA and loudly complaining about how awful and artless everything is. But to even these people, I suggest dropping your 'musical virtuosity' shields for once and letting the visceral effect of this album smother you. Maybe it'll do you some good. It's not suitable for every mood or situation, but when the mood does fit, it is fantastic. Expand
  39. LukeK
    Aug 5, 2009
    10
    This stuff is amazing. I don't know how you can call it pretentious, it's formed out of genres that have already existed. It's just done a lot better than most have attempted. Also, Best. Band. Name. Ever.
  40. NOTR.
    Jul 18, 2009
    10
    Kid, stick w/ your Sujan Stevens albums okay? "Trend" has nothing to do with it - and with you so HEAVILY relying on use of that term, you reveal MUCH about yourself and ZERO about this album. It's like a 9 year-old trying to explain 2001: A Space Odyssey to you?
  41. MichaelD
    Jul 22, 2009
    10
    This album sounds, to me, like genuine art. I was a skeptic when I first turned it on, giving it a listen because of such high marks, but I started to jive with it. I speak only from personal impression, but I feel like the artists had a vision and created what they heard just because they wanted to. The music may seem campy at times (exaggeratedly deep voices, church bells, etc.), but I This album sounds, to me, like genuine art. I was a skeptic when I first turned it on, giving it a listen because of such high marks, but I started to jive with it. I speak only from personal impression, but I feel like the artists had a vision and created what they heard just because they wanted to. The music may seem campy at times (exaggeratedly deep voices, church bells, etc.), but I feel like it's not supposed to be taken entirely seriously. To me, it's listening to the music in the heart of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and it is badass... and on top of that, it is well composed. Maybe not one for daily listening, but I'm glad this album was made, and I support their efforts with a high score. Expand
  42. DougK
    Aug 14, 2009
    6
    It took me several listens to be able to bring this up in my rotation without flinching, but I finally got to the point where I look forward to the change of pace. I'm just really disappointed that some of my fellow music lovers are so opinionated about other's opinions. There's certainly no need for name calling.
  43. P.M.
    Aug 25, 2009
    10
    Did Julian Priester introduce Sunn O))) to trombonist George Lewis' 1979 "Homage to Charlie Parker"? This is great material.
  44. Mar 17, 2014
    2
    my opinion, a very good listen when you can completely devote the time to do nothing else. I am only going to give 2 stars just because I prefer to experience a record like this live. Playing this in the home, on headphones, in the car, etc. is going to do absolutely nothing for me.
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Monoliths and Dimensions succeeds because it is the sound of a new music formed from the ashen forge of drone, rock, and black metal.
  2. Hopefully those that came to SunnO))) through "Black One" will find much to love here. If they don’t they will be seriously missing out as Monoliths & Dimensions is devastatingly epic.
  3. For anyone interested in music that works both as art and an intensely new exciting experience--this is easily the best album that has come out this year.