Wikipedia calls the two-man bass-and-drums OM a “stoner metal band,” but as the Good God is my witness, they don’t sound that stupid. Trying and esoteric, yes — if you’re looking for rough noisy explosions, move on, and the Beach Boys’ Mike Love, who understandably couldn’t make which-way-is-up out of Van Dyke Parks’s “columnated ruins domino” (hint: “domino” marks the verb), should keep at least one American state away from this one with lyrics the likes of “Cadescent glow of Atman-Sovereign/ Carry on O seeker/ Indweller of the particle formed systems/ Mechanics now perceived.”
Steve Albini bestows crispness to Emil Amos’s percussion and an appropriate loftiness to Al Cisneros’s voice, the implacable diction of an acolyte sealed within a pyramid’s secret chamber, measuring his worshipful cadences until the oxygen runs out.
You can write them off as a joke or a sadly misshaped outgrowth of playing too much “Empire of the Petal Throne” (“Negates now illusorics ascendent to the cleric school”). But “Petal Throne”’s creator started working on his game, and its world, and its languages, before he was 20. On a similar dedication level, I see by his photograph how Mr. Cisneros sports some kind of text on, or around, his left forearm down by his wrist. I can’t imagine how that must have felt to have laid on with a needle.
I’m not saying that complexity and devotion make something good. I’m saying that in a slacked-off eyeblink media culture, we do well to observe and practice complexity and devotion. And stillness. And slowness. OM beckon from the roadside, beseeching us to stop, throw away the dope, and absorb.
Album title: God Is Good (2009)
Label: Drag City
Songs: (1) Thebes (2) Meditation Is the Practice of Death (3) Cremation Ghat I (4) Cremation Ghat II