Friday, December 28, 2012

OM's Adviatic Songs

Adviatic Songs
more or less picks up where God is Good left off. This is truly inspirational music. OM is another one of the Giant Squid's or Bloodiest's or SORNE's of the world... the music is just so different it's hard to put into words. Those familiar with OM know their music is classified as "Middle Eastern psychedelic doom metal," or something like that. It's similar in structure to "Tibetan and Byzantine chant," as Wikipedia points out (I'm not familiar with those genres of music so I can't confirm, but it sounds correct enough). "Om" is the Hindi symbol known for the natural vibration of the universe. OM is a very religious inspired band. They've written music that touches on religious and spiritual themes from Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism, and in the past they've explored the similarities between these religions. And here we have a picture of John the Baptist himself on the cover of the album - an important figure in many different faiths, especially Christianity - so it seems OM is still using interwoven themes, and on this record they seem to be predominantly Christian and Islamic. The lyrics... I'm going to try to dissect some of them (and the song titles), but they're so oblique they're borderline incomprehensible, kind of like Saturnalia Temple's lyrics except with religious connotations instead of occultist.

"Addis" is in Hindi, and not even in Sanskrit, but in the Pinyin equivalent of Sanskrit (I don't know what the name is for it in Hindi), so we'll skip over this track. I'll just say it opens with clean female chanting and we start to hear Indian tabla drums.

"State of Non-Return" seems to start at the beginning with Adam & Eve's expulsion from Eden which represents the start of man’s journey outside utopia and his induction into knowledge:

Light trickles through the adjunct worlds, the soul galleon prevails
Liberates in wisdom, to complete state of negation
The five roads subsumed by grace emancipates from dream

"Gethsemane" is the name of the garden in Jerusalem which is said in the gospels to be where Jesus and all his disciples (except Judas) spent their final hours before the Crucifixion. It was here where Jesus sweated drops of blood, and came to terms with his fate in conversation with God:

Nocodemus awaits in vigil weeping
The Arahat rising and the healing ghost descends
Lamentations cease enter rarefied light prevails

Nicodemus being the pharisee that showed favor to Jesus.  I'm unsure of the total lyrical relevance to the song title, but Lamentations cease enter rarefied light prevails seems to represent the lifting of anguish off the shoulders of Jesus by God. Jesus did after all pray to God to spare him of the suffering.

"Sinai" is of course where Moses was given the ten commandments. The lyrics from "Echoes," on Paramaecium's last album, read:
As I climb the long pathway of repentance, towards the peak of Sinai in the still dark hours of the morn, I yearn for the daylight which will tame my hesitations.

This more or less summarizes what comes to my mind when I think of Sinai. The mountain represents the end of trepidation, and the enlightenment to come.

Walk Melchizidek shrine descender
At Lebanon - priest ascending
And back toward Lebanon priest ascending

Melchizidek being the king during the Abraham narrative in the Book of Genesis. He must have climbed Sinai.

I don't have a clue what the lyrics in "Haqq-al-yaqin" mean, but I do know when you throw the song title into Google Translate it comes out as "the reality of certainty," which is the third degree of the classical Yaqeen Sufi doctrine. It's a three level hierarchy of human identity, like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but identity: scholars, gnostics, and lovers. With the most latter being the most important. The Yaqeen (تيقب) phase of Suffism (صفي), and yes I actually typed those in on an Arabic keyboard using my mad Arabic skills, is an ascetic sect of Islam in which one can, as the head of the Shadhiliyah brotherhood basically said, "purify himself from inner filth by excluding his inner being from everyone but God and travel into the presence of the divine." In this phase - the last phase - the liberation cycle is finished. And the reality of certainty is where experience becomes the object of certainty. Knowledge is transferred into experience and vice versa, and it becomes revelatory to the one experiencing it.

As for the sound, I mentioned it's inspirational. That's kind of a disservice. It's hypnotic (in a different way than Black Math Horseman and Giant Squid and bands like that), embellishing, blissful, and transcendental. The use of cellos, flutes and tamburas have become integral parts of OM's sound. There are mantra-like incantations. The bass tone is unlike any other I've ever heard. There are moments on every great album that stand out... moments of not just greatness, but distinguished greatness. The cello/violin outro in "State of Non-Return" is that moment on this album, and one of 2012's finest moments. I can't recommend this album enough, just damn. Listen to it. This band truly brings spirituality to music, and if you let it his album will do absolutely incredible things for you.

Originally written for my 2012 End-of-Year List on