Om ‘Advaitic Songs’ – album review

Om ‘Advaitic Songs’ (Drag City)
Rleased 24th July 2012

Om have their roots in stoner/drone/doom rock; they formed from the ashes of stoner legends Sleep who disbanded back in 1998, since then the three members have travelled along widely differing musical paths, Mike Pike departed to explore his metal background with High On Fire, whilst Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius immersed themselves in the rhythmic patterns of Sleep and eventually re-emerged as Om, since then they have released four albums each one exploring patterns and rhythms built around specific instruments ”“ Fast forward to 2012 and OM have drafted in Emil Amos on the drums and have with a number of guest musicians quite simply created one of the most intriguing albums of the year.

Over just five pieces Om will transport you across an entire world of sound ranging from mediaeval to Byzantium chanting, to some of the most syrupy bass lines you are ever likely to hear, whilst exposing you to the sheer power of more regularly associated with the doom/drone genre.

Opener Addis commences purely with the female voice singing in an unidentified language, before a lilting cello subtly joins proceedings, than simple piano patterns instantly evoking images of African possibly Eastern dens of iniquity; in parts its a mix of Shelia Chandra and perhaps Coil/Stephen Tibet, that builds into a hypnotic rhythm though this only lulls you before ‘State Of Non-Return’ reminds you of Om’s past, an immense earth shaking bass sludge with layers of treatments adding to the intensity, though the cello once again comes to the fore before leading us via violin through the darkness; this is truly mesmerising.

‘Gethsemane’ is a near eleven minute haunting symphonic masterpiece; the lyrics are at times oblique, snatched words of ‘€œRedemption’ and referencing Ezekiel the prophet who foretold of the destruction of Jerusalem, all of which has the effect of drawing you further into the actual music, the bass of which will literally wrap itself around you dragging you down into the mists Om have crafted.

‘œSinai’ like the landmass itself serves as a bridge, the desert linking the African and Asian continents, the music weaving African drone with Eastern Tablas, again the lyrics are largely impenetrable though Cisneros can be heard referencing both the ‘Red Sea and Lebanon

By the time the eleven and half minute ‘Haqq al-Yaqin’ rises forth you will be utterly ensnared; once again that warm snake-like cello weaves its spell, time being kept by a metronomic cymbal beat, as Cisneros voices lyrics in semi spoken tones.

Advaitic Songs’ is an engaging composition and sees OM succeed where their earlier releases have fallen short; Om have produced a hazy hypnotic, and even transcendental album that, whilst this sounds overblown, is at times bordering upon the spiritual, the lack of navigable lyrics force the listener onto a journey of sonic exploration that both enriches and rewards in equal measure – yes, it really is that good. No matter what your favoured musical genre is, abandon your preconceived views and allow Om to expand your horizons; you will be thankful you did.

Om have announced a series of European dates to promote ‘Advaitic Songs’ – Tickets are available now.

15/09/2012 Iceland Reykjavik Gamli Gaukurinn

17/09/2012 CZ Prague Klub 007
18/09/2012 HUN Budapest Durer Kert
19/09/2012 HR Zagreb Nkc Park
20/09/2012 IT Treviso Altroquando
21/09/2012 IT Misano Adriatico Boulevard Rock Club
22/09/2012 IT Torino Mito festival

23/09/2012 FR Lyon Le Sonic
25/09/2012 UK Birmingham Rainbow Warehouse
26/09/2012 UK Leeds Brudenell Social Club
27/09/2012 IRE Dublin Twisted pepper
28/09/2012 UK Glasgow Stereo
29/09/2012 UK Bristol The Cooler
30/09/2012 UK London The Scala

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


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