OM - Advaitic Songs
OM have, since rising out of the ashes of previous stoner kings Sleep, latched onto the far more meditative elements of the genre and set about crafting some exquisitely hypnotic, rhythmical rituals. With album number five Advaitic Songs, the use of strings and keys has become much more prominent over the core bass and drums that was the entirety of their earlier output, lending to the music a much richer, deeper feel.
That is not to say that the OM of old is completely forgotten, as ‘State Of Non-Return’ brings back Al Cisneros’ distinctive fuzzy bass with a real sense of drive and monumental power; the difference this time is the rising and falling of these recent additions pulling the listener backwards and forwards in a tumultuous descent into the subconscious. Emil Amos is as busy as ever behind the kit, a barely-controlled tempest with a jazz-like expression bringing a huge variety of colour to every section.
But the music of OM has always been about that ritualistic chant, the sense of ceremony and ethereal beauty, and Advaitic Songs has that aplenty. Right from the angelic female vocals over the opening ‘Addis’, this is as close to a religious experience as anyone will get within the extreme music community; the album is a serene and blissful exploration of the existential possibilities without ever being dogmatic – a study of the ideas and music minus the patronising preaching ruining the enjoyment.
The sense of antiquity present throughout Advaitic Songs appears to lend the record a gravitas and solemnity befitting the subject matter, the seamless integration of the traditional instruments with the very modern notion of heaviness. There is, rightly, a lot of love for their earlier albums, but objectively Advaitic Songs is the finest offering yet from OM, a phenomenal distillation of their unique and wondrous sound.