ZAUM
Divination


3.8
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
May 12th, 2019 | 13 replies


Release Date: 05/10/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Delving further into mysticism and mythology…

ZAUM have gradually evolved since their debut LP, Oracles, delving deeper thematically into ancient civilizations and mythologies. Several traditional instruments made their way into the compositions to represent and enhance the desired atmosphere. After 2016’s Eidolon focused on Central American lore, the Canadian doom duo decided to turn their heads towards Southeastern Asia. Thus, their latest effort, Divination maintains the familiar sonic formulas, but also contains different motifs from the respective region. Moreover, it moves at a more urgent pace than its predecessor.

Musically, ZAUM are still fleshing out, inserting details around their doom metal core. The guys started out using OM’s aesthetics, however, by now, they have encapsulated themselves in a sonic bubble of their own. The first half of the album, ‘Relic’ sums up everything they do best so far, plus adding the current themes, reportedly stemmed from ancient Burma. The dense atmosphere grows with New Age-like synthesizers, before kicking in with effects-soaked bass riffs, as well as pounding drums. Huge cymbals and bells are heard throughout, magnifying the vibe to mimic these mystic, temple-esque origins. Reverb is a key feature, being used on vocals too, which are layered most of the time. It’s nice they emphasized on heaviness too, overdubbing with distorted, low end bursts. Halfway through, the beat speeds up to enter into one of the fastest segments recorded by them so far. Hellish shouts drive the instrumental, getting noisier by the minute. Although the song is over 18 minutes long, it actually feels like one of their most cohesive epics yet. They balanced well the moody, transitional parts with the hard hitting ones.

The second half of Divination features two shorter tunes, ‘Pantheon’ & ‘Procession’. The former strips most of the prolonged, ambient moments, leaning only on shrilling musical saw and dilruba (more or less a bowed sitar) embellishments over dark bass lines. They are the most captivating instruments used on the album in my opinion, offering a very compelling vibe. On the other hand, the main motif on ‘Procession’ sounds more like a mass prayer call, topped with similar, windy drones and murky, distorted verses. The steady drum beats echo a bit ‘Omen’ from Oracles, yet there is more diversity here and a wider range of embellishments. I am curious, now that ZAUM are setting into a comfort zone with their ideas, what will they do next. Of course, they can continue down this path, however, it wouldn’t help to become too predictable. They worked on the quality of their music on their latest record and the results are great. I hope they can find that something to further complement their strengths, much like the traditional instruments from various parts of the world did so far.



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user ratings (11)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2019


4847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Another great album. They are expanding OM-like themes to really cool results



Get the album here - http://zaum.bandcamp.com/



'Relic' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-doP6ACXSO4

'Pantheon' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-qwcy7Nzy0

'Procession' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqsMZK1zn7k

Digging: Bat For Lashes - Lost Girls

Azog
May 12th 2019


237 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm slightly underwhelmed, TBH. I mean it's good, just not quite as good as I expected.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2019


4847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I think they did a great job here with the atmosphere and all the added instruments, especially on Pantheon. What exactly do you find underwhelming? Just asking

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2019


3502 Comments


damn that artwork rules

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2019


4847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Yeah, all their LPs have awesome artwork

Azog
May 12th 2019


237 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"What exactly do you find underwhelming? Just asking"



Well, for one, I haven't seen much progression since their first album. Like, at all. This usually doesn't bother me, but stagnation at this early developmental stage of their rather pedestrian signature sound, simply doesn't give much hope for the future. I hear a lot of whooosssh and boioioing for compensation. Doesn't work. Turns out, Eidolon wasn't just a temporary set back. Oracles may very well be all they've got. Also, the production on this thing is just atrocious. God damn!

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2019


4847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I agree with you there aren't new elements, just variations, but the compositions' structures often flow better here than on previous LPs. This is why I don't think they stagnated, just consolidated their strengths. However, yes, they should find complementary ideas for their future releases, in order to keep things interesting. Regarding the production, on the heavier parts things get muddy IMO.

CaptainDooRight
May 13th 2019


4103 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

as good as Eidolon

Pho3nix
May 13th 2019


689 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thank you for the review.



"... delving deeper thematically into ancient civilizations and mythologies. Several traditional instruments made their way into the compositions to represent and enhance the desired atmosphere." This is already enough to entice me into listening to them! gonna start with their debut though.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2019


4847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

The debut relies more on bass and drum interplay, with Eidolon they truly expanded the ambient parts IMO. They are cool.

rockandmetaljunkie
May 13th 2019


8357 Comments


holy shit, need to check this !!

Azog
May 13th 2019


237 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Regarding the production, on the heavier parts things get muddy IMO."



This. Reverb just is no substitute for dynamic range.



I may have been a little harsh, but don't get me wrong. This still counts as a solid album in my book.



CaptainDooRight
May 13th 2019


4103 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

actually this is a little better than Eidolon



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