Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
Buy On
  1. Magnet
    Feb 20, 2015
    90
    This is the first time since 2003 that Elverum fully succeeds in casting a meditative spell strong enough to suck everyone listing into its singular IRL riptide. [No. 117, p.57]
  2. Feb 20, 2015
    90
    When it's as gloriously complex, grandiose and naturally magnificent as what he's presented on Sauna and the couplet of albums that preceded it, you can entirely empathise.
  3. Feb 4, 2015
    81
    As always, that mystery resides in the sounds he manipulates. No one else sounds like Phil Elverum.
  4. Jul 8, 2015
    80
    Sauna opens with the hissing and crackling of a steam room, and things get Benji-er from there.
  5. Mojo
    Apr 22, 2015
    80
    Sauna becomes a transitional journey of self-surrender, Elverum's soft-sung imagist perceptions slowly reaching toward a quiet, meditative transcendence. [May 2015, p.96]
  6. Feb 6, 2015
    80
    Many of Sauna’s strongest moments result from Elverum sticking to what he knows best, as well as being the most closely akin to his last two albums.
  7. 80
    Superficially, Sauna is possibly the easiest, most accessible way into Elverum’s world he has released since he ditched The Microphones moniker, yet the concepts and themes explored remain undiluted, and the album’s complexities have as much to give as you are willing to work to take away.
  8. Uncut
    Feb 3, 2015
    80
    In his communions with nature, Elverum continues the American tradition of Whitman, Thoreau or Emerson, immersing himself in hymns to the land. [Mar 2015, p.78]
  9. Feb 3, 2015
    80
    Sauna can be disorienting at times, too, but, more to the point, it has a peculiar way of making you feel like you’re listening to two overlapping albums that follow perpendicular impulses.
  10. Feb 3, 2015
    80
    This hodgepodge of ideas, irregular pacing and abrupt transitions are oddly compelling; though it can be tough to make it to the end of the hour-long work, Elverum makes it worth it.
  11. 75
    He made sure Sauna is a trudge through comfort, discomfort, fear, and acceptance, a completed revolution that leaves us flat on our backs squinting to make out what’s on the other side of this boiling steam.
  12. Feb 3, 2015
    70
    Vast yet intimate, in some ways Sauna is the most like the Microphones album that gave Mount Eerie its name in the first place.
  13. 67
    The about-faces make for an engaging, challenging listen, but by the end it all seems a bit vague.
  14. Feb 19, 2015
    65
    No song on Sauna is going to make you sweat but every one will relax you and coax you into letting your worries seep on out of you. Like all his work, this record is a peaceful exorcism.
  15. Feb 3, 2015
    60
    On Sauna, Elverum’s attempts to mimic heavy metal rock ballads, Tim Hecker, and certain so-called “holy” and unholy minimalists alike, feel inconsequential and compositionally uninteresting. That’s not to say that every citation falls flat.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Feb 8, 2015
    6
    Is it folk? Is it ambient? Is it metal? It is very difficult to accurately label whatever Mount Eerie is doing on Sauna, but it is notIs it folk? Is it ambient? Is it metal? It is very difficult to accurately label whatever Mount Eerie is doing on Sauna, but it is not difficult to see that Phil Elverum's sound is incredibly experimental and innovative. The songwriting is not as strong as it could have been, but for the most part the sound is enough to make this album deserving of at least a listen or two. Full Review »