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Om
Pilgrimage

Company: Southern Lord Records
Release: 2007
Genre: Doom, drone
Reviewer: Etiam

  • By striving to be somber they fail to be interesting



  • Drone and doom are two genres that have long carried the torch for minimalism in metal, a genre often characterized by its chronic lack of restraint. The cleverly titled Om is one such act. Since splitting from the influential sludge/stoner act Sleep, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros and former drummer Chris Hakius formed this introspective duo that is far removed from their rollicking days of yore. 'Pilgrimage', their third LP, continues to explore themes of repetition and structural economy. (Since this recording, Chris has left the band and been replaced by Emil Amos of Grails.)

    The instrumentation is refreshingly sparse, consisting of percussion with plenty of air and reverb, drop-tuned bass, and one voice. The vocals and bass are low enough that they could be shifted up an octave or two and still sound fitting for sludge metal. Still, this is not sub-aural noise; these tempos are fast enough to nod to, but not quite fast enough to be infectious. 'Chant' is a word often used to describe Al's vocals, and it is technically true: monotonous, ritualistic declamation. But his voice is a little reedy, his demeanor understated, and the result sounds less momentous in actuality than "chant" would suggest.

    And that's the problem, in that all of 'Pilgrimage' is less momentous than it is made out to be. 'Pilgrimage' just ends up sounding incomplete, like a sketch of ideas that rarely gels. A better take on minimalist sludge would be UFOmammut, who can turn single note riffs into ghastly behemoths that quake brains from stem to cerebellum. To be fair, Om are going for a much more introspective and even peaceful state of mind--quasi-religious instead of psychedelic--but by striving to be somber they fail to be interesting. Om is a respectable and professional outfit with credibility to spare, so one cannot write them off based on this questionable exploration. Besides, 'Pilgrimage' does have some quality passages that hint at what this form has to offer. Hopefully Om will break through this phase of minor mysticism, or at least perfect it, and produce more substantive material.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: OM
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    PilgrimageOm
    2007
    Etiam3/9/2011


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