Underground Sounds: Zaum – Eidolon

Label: I Hate
Band: Zaum
Origin: Canada

I saw Zaum play once in an obscure basement in Tilburg. The air was choking thanks to an uncanny cigarette smell and the location was ill fitted for the band that was playing. Still, Zaum was convincing and crushing thanks to their transcendental doom sound, that just takes you to another place.

Where previous album ‘Oracles’ spoke of places like the Red Sea and Parthia, also showing a desert landscape and a foreboding city on a cliff near the sea, this one takes us further into the middle-east (though the cover made me think of Maya/Inca society). The cover is a tell tale sign with Zaum where they may take you on their hypnotic journey. The title ‘Eidolon’ refers to an apparition of a spirit like being, something you’ll find in the Djinn haunted Assyria plenty

Still, their oriental favors are clear from the title ‘Influence of the Magi’. Magi traditionally refers to Zoroastrianism, but the lyrics make clear we are now in Assyria. After an almost religious chanting, the voices shift to more unearthly sounds. Everything becomes more foreboding, even before that first, threatening riff is layed down. It takes a while for the chanting to be substituted by crushing, slowly cascading riffs and hypnotic vocals. 21 minutes both tracks last, but they are epic journeys, that make you hallucinate slightly, tripping through the mysterious past.

There’s those oriental themes in the music, also thanks to the use of a sitar. That helps with the atmosphere, which is layed down thickly on ‘The Enlightenment’. The song is, as I sort of wanted to say earlier, a transcendental experience of mysterious atmosphere and tones and a playful expression with rare bursts of guitar work. Zaum brings the listener into a trance on this majestic track. When the band really hits it off, it is monumental. Crushing drums and that typical heavy, solid experience. Though I loved their previous record, this really takes the cake. I can listen to this forever.

 

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