Sunn O))) - Life Metal
Critic Score
Based on 16 reviews
2019 Ratings: #49 / 771
User Score
Based on 340 ratings
2019 Ratings: #555
Liked by 4 people
Sign In to rate and review



Life Metal retains all the traits that make Sunn O))) who they are, yet intertwined with a spark of unmistakable vibrance that lifts the spirit, even in the midst of such abyssal depths.


Life Metal resonates in the surrounding air particles long after the last track concludes, and will reverberate in the minds of listeners longer still. A truly magnificent, very real, and ultimately restorative record.


Life Metal is the dawning of a new phase for Sunn 0))), one that resonates with more power and complexity than anything in their catalog.

No Ripcord

Calling Life Metal a great metal/rock/guitar album, ultimately, is a disservice: This is a sonic meditation channeled through humbuckers and hearts.


More mellifluous than menacing despite its formidable display of power, Life Metal may be the richest work in the band's 21-year-mission to reconfigure Tony Iommi-worthy riffage into a soundtrack for mindful meditation.

The 405

The sound on Life Metal is enrapturing, meditative and all-encompassing, but in a nourishing and enveloping way - an aural womb.

The Line of Best Fit

At its best, Life Metal taps into our psyches and rearranges the elements. Sunn O))) have become experts in their harsh and unmerciful take on expanding sound, slowing it to a glacial pace, and finally rearranging it again until it’s unrecognizable.

Spectrum Culture

Life Metal brims with the white-hot intensity of the duo’s early records, when the primacy of the distended riff overrode all concerns.


The titanic drone metal duo returns with Steve Albini for an enormous, meticulous, back-to-basics album that shows just how compelling those basics can be.

Loud and Quiet

Life Metal invokes a refreshing return to origin: the back-to-basics approach of a grizzled group in their parents’ garage, where they once rehearsed as spotty teens. All told, it sounds like they’ve found a new lease on life.


Gloriously triumphant, weirdly exhilarating and entirely engrossing, Sunn O))) have created something genuinely brilliant here.

Record Collector

Overflowing with cultural, mythological and artistic allusions and a prepossessing unrest, Life Metal is an album that insists upon provoking imaginative thought, and is sure to do more for your gut motility than any prune.


Even at moderate volume, parts of Life Metal may loosen your neighbours' guttering.

Q Magazine
It does thrillingly refine the group's electric explorations of numinous spaces both minuscule and gigantic.
The Needle Drop

Life Metal is Sunn O)))'s best sounding album to date, though not their most adventurous.


Your reaction to Sunn O)))'s Life Metal will depend on whether you prefer a reminder of what Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley do so well, or wish that they were still unlocking new potential within what the band can be.

My wife hates it
One of their better releases
Sunn O))) have the same concept since 1998. Despite all that the band has now predictable, their merit is that they having invented a musical concept, the drone metal. The two band members, Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson, had both a fascinating idea and a deadly boredom. Their first albums are, in my opinion, absolute musical masterpieces and all the rest is deeply boring. What about their new work "Life Metal" ? If you like the big fat dirty sounds of guitars amplified by ... read more
I was gonna make a Needle Drop 'I Saw Sunn O)))!' joke here, but in all honesty I just don't think that would fit the tone of this album. Because this album...just isn't for me.

This is my first rodeo with Sunn O))), and I was kinda excited to finally hearing something from these guys after hearing that they are one of the best and biggest names in drone metal. And, in all honesty, drone metal is a genre that I really haven't explored that much into. I'm aware of it's cultural impact, but ... read more
I mean... I liked it? I loved the daunting chords at first but then it kind of dissolved after the first track. There were some details I liked (the female vocals on "Between Sleipnir's Breaths" and the synths on "Troubled Air"), though. I see this clicking once I dive into Sunn O)))'s catalog but drone metal ain't really mah thang.

Fav Tracks: Troubled Air, Between Sleipnir's Breaths

Least Fav Track: Aurora

Purchasing Life Metal from Amazon helps support Album of the Year. Or consider a donation?

Added on: February 5, 2019