A concert by Om feels more like a religious ritual than a music show. Their music is often classified as “Stoner Rock/Metal” or “Doom Metal”, but that hardly gives an idea of what they sound like: yes, there are some elements that are classically found in those genres, but the long clean, repetitive parts feel like some oriental prayers. The band led by Sleep’s Al Cisneros is, after all, inspired by that as the name Om suggests, and the religious references in all their artworks confirm.
In Stockholm, they played a sold-out Slaktkyrkan which was quickly filled with people wearing shirts by Om, Sleep, and the likes, a small (the venue’s capacity is of around 200 people) but passionate crowd.
As the three musicians got on stage they were welcomed by warm applause, immediately followed by a deep, respectful silence. The band started playing an intro that led to “Gethsamane”: while Om’s discography is not particularly vast, their long songs set a limit to how much they can explore it, and for this gig, they chose to focus mainly on the last two albums. Going in reverse chronological order, they proceeded to play “State of Non-Return” and “Sinai”, other two songs from their last album, “Advaitic Songs”. After that they went to the previous album, “God is Good”, which they played in its entirety before concluding the show with “Bhima’s Theme”, the only song played from “Pilgramage”, and the only song that was originally recorded by a different line-up than the one seen on stage in Stockholm.
The interaction between the band and the crowd is minimal. Al Cisneros only thanks the audience a couple of times in between songs and mostly focuses on playing. He is quite static, staying almost still behind the microphone for most of the show, eyes closed, head tilted up, completely immersed in the music. Robert Lowe plays his keyboard and tambourine laying a hypnotic background to Cisneros’ bass, while Emil Amos hits his drums keeping a relaxed tempo to which the people in the crowd slowly sway their heads, mesmerized by the mystical sounds coming out of the amps. After almost two hours the show ends, leaving the audience dazed and surely happy for this powerful experience.
All Photos by Davide Sciaky