Om - Pilgrimage
Southern Lord
Stoner Drone
4 songs (32'21")
Release year: 2007
Om, Southern Lord
Reviewed by Alex

I guess it would be only most appropriate if after reviewing cult Asbestosdeath last week, I dedicated this week’s space to the latest project of Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius, namely the stoner drone outfit Om. When talking about other two-man bands, one or both of the members are handling multiple instruments. In the case of Om an answer is given to the question of how the music would sound if created only via bass guitar and drums, plus some vocal lines. And the thunderous answer is – this is thick and daydream inducing, even in the absence of a guitar.

To steal from the band, Om is Hindu syllable, synonymous with the natural vibration of the universe often used as mantra. Basically, one can fall in the state of trance while repeating “om” many times, subject to various rhythmic inflections. The music on Pilgrimage is very much in accord with the band’s moniker and its aforementioned definition. The listener is taken on a time and space transcendent trip, somewhere to the feet of Himalayas. The compositions do not crush with heaviness, stun with technicality or suffocate with feedback. Instead, by using only two instruments, Om is very outspoken without saying much. This is a journey, beginning with quiet determination and dedication, fraught with peril, but ending with a peaceful bliss.

Slowly building up unhurried tribal beat begins the opening title track, little skips and hops in the rhythm messing with your head just as much as bells and tambourine-like cymbals. Al’s clear voice crawls in subconsciously, adding another layer to the steady snare and calming acoustics. Unitive Knowledge of the Godhead whips out the heavy, pulsating bass lines playing the prominent theme of risk and hazard one encounters on the long journey. Bhima’s Theme takes its time to rock out with the heavy sedating groove, very reminiscent of the Om’s disciples Grayseon. The end of Bhima’s Theme sees the drone aspect of the music increasing, the traveler falling under a spell, only to be brought back from under it by the title track reprise, elsewhere totally redundant, but completely fitting here.

I am not a spiritual person, and this piece of art is a lot more appropriate for people who have more respect for spiritual healers than that demonstrated by one famous Seinfeld episode (George turning eggplant purple having tasted the concoction which was supposed to rid him of his tonsils). But even I enjoyed this 30+ min quiet ride in my headphones while digging from under the recent 10” snow dump. It would be entirely interesting, almost provocative, to place this in front of a Buddhist monk, or even Dalai Lama himself, to see what they think. A crazy idea, I know, but Om’s vocal chants certainly have that spirit. The cover art is almost Russian Orthodox instead of Buddhist, but the hell.

Killing Songs :
Trust me it will be all or nothing for many
Alex quoted 75 / 100
Adam quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Om that we have reviewed:
Om - Advaitic Songs reviewed by Koeppe and quoted 90 / 100
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