Om - _Pilgrimage_
(Southern Lord, 2007)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (9 out of 10)
When your band consists of half the line-up of one of the most legendary stoner bands ever, Sleep, higher standards are demanded; and Al Cisneros (bass, vocals) and Chris Hakius (drums) rise to the challenge. "Pilgrimage", the song, is a quieter sort of drone than what the mother band peddled, sans guitar and keeping the bass to an acoustic strum with lightly tapped percussion like a metronome in the distant background. A lengthy yet supple exercise in mellow ambiance, it builds quietly, never reaching a crescendo, never really needing one. The whole thing feels like it was recorded in a monestary between prayer cycles.

"Unitive Knowledge of the Godhead" kicks things up a notch, the vocals maintaining the same, slightly louder, monotone as before, the electricity coursing through the bass and the livelier drumming, the cymbals finally getting a workout, in it's brevity heavier, more visceral and sobering than the preceding track. "Bhima's Theme" keeps up the pace with a similar pocket groove and Cisneros' laconic vocals hypnotizing us into a trance with an almost blase, tossed off confidence.

Words like "hypnosis" and "trance" purposefully appear often in reviews of this band's music, and others like it, due to the Eastern-influence dependence upon repetition and vocals undersung like a barely discernable mantra, all of which combine to establish a state of mind led by the subconscious. The cyclical theme of _Pilgrimage_ is repeated in the reprise of the title track in closing, and indeed in a fairly lengthy acoustic segment in the latter half of "Bhima's Theme". This is prime headphone listening, y'all.


(article published 14/1/2008)

7/15/2012 J Carbon 8.5 Om - Advaitic Songs
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