OM “Advaitic Songs” | Drag City
Philosophy/Religion. Heavy ascends to a level it would have been impossible to foresee, decimated by sheer imagination and expansive quality.
OM are one of those bands whose tenacity for drone and a muscular weight have given them a reputation for jaw dropping live performances and a handful of album releases that have changed the way genres can be merged. This years Advaitic Songs enlarges the sonic scope of the band and allows for a sound reminiscent of Temporary Residence Limited band Grails and Constellation Records Godspeed! You Black Emperor to flourish. Having picked up Grails drummer Emil Amos in 2008 with the departure of original drummer Chris Hakius, the band has come a long way in scope and vision. Drag City announced the arrival of Advaitic Songs earlier this year and finally in the last week of July OM released this masterpiece.
With small doses of eastern influence that connect their traditional drone metal parts, OM expands their voyage for what could be one of the bands most worldly and dynamic outings. High velocity speaker levels are traded in for very relaxed, spiritual and ancient sounding modes for most of the album, separating it from anything the band has ever done. The bass and drum work remains raw and unhinged in most areas but a shifting of the guard has taken place in the journey OM has been taking music listeners on for many years now. Strings, piano, bass and drums are a dominant feature of the record and give the album a very natural feeling. The heavy state of the bands legacy remains intact thought. “State of Non-Return” is one of the heaviest pieces of the album with a really huge bass sound that you can only get from a band like OM.
Only five tracks in length, the opening track “Addis” comes from a very ancient source of influence and sets the tone for how far into the past this record goes. Sounding very spiritual, the vocalist in the beginning sets the mood into a transfixed state and as the percussion and as strings take over, the opening piece enters into a really beautiful state that stretches their sound far beyond where they have taken it before. With a lot of identity in an eastern mode, “Addis” is a really strong composition in every aspect imaginable. The last piece of the album, “Haqq al-Yaqin”, ends the LP with a very similar system of sound, bringing the album full circle from its deviations into an ancient cosmic state of being that rises in the beginning and falls in the ending of the album.
The dark and slow burning side of Advaitic Songs comes in the piece “Gethsemane”. Beginning with a really exotic intro of a very spiritual nature, drones create a really deep feeling instantly. You can feel a darkness waiting right around the corner from how the music transforms when the rest of the music enters in. The bass leads the introduction into the main section of the piece and the level of interplay becomes euphoric. With a constant drone that rests under everything, this hypnotic aura of elongated notes becomes a landing point for every transition. This track reminds me a lot of Grails, especially with how the drum work is approached and how the overtones hover in and out with the main lasting voice of the strings. As the melodic and rhythmic components phase out around the 3 minute mark and only the drone is left, the drums charter back in with a really loose and free feeling. The bass is at it’s lowest and heaviest point of the entire record, letting out what seems like earthquakes every line.
“Sinai” is one of the most unique pieces on the album and becomes a lot like “Gethsemane” in its second section. Filling in the first five minutes with a minimal display of drone and vocals that are processed through an effect, “Sinai” is created with two very distinct sections that are a yin and yang to one another. The intro of the song has a really bright and positive feeling surrounding it and as the bass enters, the transition of the light being taken over by the darkness takes immediate affect. The rest is history as the group pushes into the new frontier of the bands sound with many elements of their past still intact.
Advaitic Songs on Drag City Records is a record I am really glad to get my hands on and something that has really given OM a new road to travel down. I can’t even imagine what they will have planned in context of special live performances and tours. 2012 continues to be a ground breaking year of releases from all over the vast network of music communities and Advaitic Songs is definitely in our list for the best of 2012.
Order from Drag City HERE