Om – Advaitic Songs
Since splintering from stoner rock legends Sleep in 2003, Om have moved, with each passing release, further towards a sound that draws upon Eastern classical music as its primary inspiration. Advaitic Songs continues this trajectory: the drone metal elements of earlier work are conspicously absent for much of the record, eschewed in favour of tabla, violin and piano. The carefully-layered 11-minute closer Haqq al-Yaqin exemplifies this, building hypnotically through the entwining of delicate melodies rather than droning distortion.
This deliberately understated approach, however, often feels less convincing in its mystical aspirations than Om’s earlier records, which married the classical elements with murky, bruising noise to great effect. Advaitic Songs, by contrast, has a stateliness and clarity about its production and arrangements that actually impedes Om’s pursuit of transcendence much of the time. Nonetheless, the complexity of these compositions ensures that what they lack in intensity is compensated for in their ornate beauty.