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OM: Advaitic Songs

Inner peace in the Middle East from drone-metal champs.

You can’t hurry the path to enlightenment. Advaitic Songs’ five tracks sprawl over three quarters of an hour, as California’s OM thoroughly explore their inner space. Their roots may lie in recently revived stoner metallers Sleep, but on their fifth album these drone-metal overlords wade into ever more psychedelic waters.

With a strong Middle Eastern flavour, they weave a trance-like state from mournful strings, echoing basslines and pattering showers of tabla. Despite moments of crushing heaviness like State Of Non-Return, it’s a multi-dimensional experience that refuses to be pinned down, finding a common ground with the likes of Earth perhaps.

Their hypnotic, monotone, monk-like chanting remains, but opener Addis adds a whole new dimension to their sound. Its unsullied female vocals are allowed to shine as a crystal-clear call to prayer; East meets West to stunning effect via a deceptively simple piano and cello motif.

This feels like a very private album. OM’s music is dedicated to meditation and aural exploration. Advaitic Songs was made for playing through headphones, and for drifting off to far-away lands.