When it was announced that Scott Walker and Sunn O would be collaborating on an album, music nerds around the world scratched their heads and said, "This should be interesting." At first glance, the two names might look strange next to each other, but when you hear what they've done, it quickly becomes clear that these artists were meant to work together. The product to emerge is a sprawling, metallic exploration to the furthest boundaries of avant-garde rock music.
Every aspect of this project panders to the gloomy side of human nature. The dark, abyssal cover imagery looks like a watercolor painting by H.R. Giger, depicting the murky blackness that awaits the listener. As expected, the music sounds like the Earth opening up to swallow you whole.
On "Brando," Walker sings, "A beating would do me a world of good," as a whip cracks in the background. "Herod 2014" paints the modern-portrait of a ruthless man who is willing to kill anything or anyone in his way. The use of the Ojibwa lullaby implies that the victims are Native American children.
The extremely down-tuned guitars of Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley carry "Bull," which at times fools the listener into believing it might fit a structure. Walker's lyrics are as confusing as ever as he chants, "Custodiunt migremus," which is Latin for "custodial agreement." Sunn O's familiar squeals of feedback stab through the mix, as the 71-year-old Walker's still robust but trembling voice reverberates in some dusky, ethereal plane.
This collaboration sees Sunn O playing with melody and rhythm more than they have in their entire career. Scott O relies heavily on the moodiness of each act, respectively, creating something that is darkly imaginative, as well as sonically cinematic.