Congrats to Sunn O))), as the band's upcoming album Kannon has been voted by Loudwire's readers as the December 2015 Release of the Month. It was a hard fought victory, but eventually Sunn O))) won out over Harem Scarem's Live at the Phoenix and Baroness' Purple releases.

It's been a long awaited and highly anticipated release for Sunn O))) fans as Kannon marks the band's first new music in six years (though they have done collaborations in recent years). Rather than a traditional album, the disc is split up into three musical movements -- aptly titled "Kannon 1," "Kannon 2" and "Kannon 3," with the shortest piece clocking in at just over 9 minutes. But while there are only three tracks, there is plenty to digest for fans of the band.

You'll find their typical heavy droney riffage, a few special guests and vocals on every song. Mayhem's Atilla Csihar is among those helping out core members Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley, while frequent collaborators Oren Ambarchi, Rex Ritter and Steve Moore also turn up over the course of the 30-plus minute release.

For those wondering about the title, the literal representation of Kannon is as an aspect of Buddha: specifically "goddess of mercy" or "Perceiving the Sounds (or Cries) of the World." She is also sometimes commonly known as the Guanyin Bodhisattva amongst a plurality of other forms. There is a rich lineage behind this idea tracing back through many Asian belief systems, with as many names and cultural personifications of the idea.

Adding to the overall intrigue surrounding the disc, the band commissioned critical theorist Aliza Shvartz to write liner notes based around the Kannon ideas. She also explores the relations and perceptions to their approach to these ideas via the metonym of music and Sunn O)))’s place/approach within the framework of music and metal overall. The band also commissioned Swiss designer/artist Angela LaFont Bollinger to create the album's striking artwork, which is an abstracted sculpture of Kannon.

Speaking to Rolling Stone about the disc, O'Malley revealed, "What I think is, the color of the record is bright. The music is bright. I don't just mean the high frequencies, I mean the feeling — the emotional undercurrent. There's a brighter brightness to it." Anderson added, "I think if anything actually, in relation to Monoliths, I think it's a slightly darker mood. I think that Monoliths & Dimensions was us embracing the light, and I think that continues on to the songwriting on Kannon, too. You know, realizing that there's more to 'heavy' than just bludgeon and black. Heavy can be even heavier if it has a fuller spectrum involved with it, you know, if it has other colors. … I like to use the word 'light' because it just reminds me of some of that stuff of coming out of darkness and there's this blinding light, which in itself, to me, for the first time in my life I sort of realized that's heavy, too. I've realized that there are different ways to be heavy rather than just pummeling a riff into the ground and it having to be, like, all minor and all completely dark."

Look for the Kannon disc available in gatefold LP, CD and digital formats on Dec. 4. Check iTunes and Amazon to pre-order the effort.

Once again, congrats to Sunn O))), as Kannon has been voted by Loudwire's readers of the December 2015 Release of the Month.