OM Pilgrimage

From the depths of inner space comes Pilgrimage, Om’s third and most succinct album. Bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros and drummer Chris Hakius mete out meticulously monastic chant rock, as opposed to their former lives as the claymore-swinging clansmen of San Francisco stoner metal forefathers Sleep. Past compositions have varied from tiptoeing metronomic exercises to mammoth bass/drum exorcisms, and Pilgrimage has an equal number of both species. The hushed title track creeps forward as if influenced by Pink Floyd’s acid trip anthem "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” and is reprised at the end of the album with a similar yet shorter version. "Unitive Knowledge of the Godhead” is no different than comparable drones from Conference of the Birds or Variations on a Theme, but the 11-minute "Bhima’s Theme” breaks the cycle with a funkier bass line and a truer doom metal structure of (almost) verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus. After the tune dies down, Cisneros’ tsunami-like bass erupts with renewed power and purpose. Though it seems underwhelming at a mere 30 minutes, Pilgrimage is pure Om, building solidly upon past templates and pithily gels the band’s vision of mantric metal. (Southern Lord)