Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Zaum - Oracles

Normally this would not be my cup of tea since it seems rather minimalistic on the surface. Zaum play epic doom with more than a few twists. First, and foremost, there are no guitars anywhere on this album, therefor no riffing. They use bass, keyboards and sitars (of all things) create the melodies and the atmosphere on this album. Looking at the album cover it immediately brings to mind a middle eastern feel and after listening to it I was never more right. As I said, under any other circumstance I would have turned this off after 5 minutes, if I was able to stay awake at all. However, there is a magic here than keeps me listening. I'm not sure what it is but it's there and I'm kinda digging it.

I guess what really hooked me in was the psychedelic atmosphere and the middle eastern vibe that this album gives off. It's like I am immersed in a harem and smoking hash from a hookah. At the same time the bass that drives the rhythms here is heavy as fuck making any guitars obsolete. The bass has a little distortion to it making it part of the rhythm section as well as provide part of the melodies. The album is only four songs but clocks in at almost fifty minutes but for some reason it keeps me interested all the way through. The lyrical themes are middle eastern entirely and the subject matter seems to take place during the pre Christian biblical era. With a song title like "Zealot," which opens this album, anyone in the know would see exactly what this band's influences are for this album. The vocals are actually soothing to listen to and sound seriously 60s with the reverb and echo of something that my parents used to call "acid rock."

"The Red Sea" starts off with sitars are psychedelic vocal melodies and then leads to some classic sounding organ parts mixed with that heavy fucking bass. This song actually has riffing, albeit done by the bass, the riffs are cool and the vocals sound chanted. The song does kinda meander on a bit but the epic feel that it gives off keeps me listening. The song picks up the pace a bit at the end with more vocal chants. I think it's actually the weakest song on the album because then you have a song like "Omen," which is longer in length but has more going on to keep me interested. There is this distorted sitar sound starting the song but then it builds up to more of those heavy "riffs" that the bass play with the vocals being almost spoken as if you are being told of impending doom by a prophet. The psychedelic sounds and the chants are cool and the keys have that almost pipe organ sound to them in places adding more atmosphere to the song. This song really has an eerie feel to it which fits the title of the song perfectly.

I'm not supposed to like this. I'm not the biggest fan of the slower, more meandering doom metal. And the fact that this doesn't have any guitars and is not really displaying the metal riffs, there is something that draws me to it. It's interesting, to say the least. This may not be my go to when I'm in a doom mood, but I will revisit this album.

Special thanks to I Hate for the promo.


No comments: