I still remember the day I discovered OM. SLEEP's "Dopesmoker" was one of my favorite albums at the time and after the split, HIGH ON FIRE just didn't do it for me in the same way. When I found out that Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius were going to continue on as a rhythmic duo in the vein of "Dopesmoker," I was quite the excited one. Their debut album "Variations On A Theme" was an impressive piece of work, showing just how much one can do with the admittedly very limited drum, bass and repetative vocal line format. Their songs were more mantras than anything and it was very easy to get lost in the swirling, droning mass of fuzzed out bass. The production was a bit weak, which ultimately hurt the end product, but I could overlook that.
Now, with "Conference Of The Birds," OM is back and even better. Much, much better - which is saying a lot, because "Variations On A Theme" was great in itself. This time around, the songs are more dynamic (which is, of course, not to say that they are dynamic at all) and each track takes on more of its own character than before. "At Giza" is a very mellow, introspective affair, a huge departure from the band's previous work. This mellow quality works very well with the band's aesthetic, though and makes "At Giza" my favorite thing that Al and Chris have done since "Dopesmoker." "Flight Of The Eagle" is more to the tune of "Variations On A Theme," but somehow more poudning, more droning and more meditative than before. On top of that, the production this time around is vastly improved, giving the band the full sound that they deserve.
Any fans of SLEEP, THE MELVINS, or Drone acts such as EARTH or SUNN0))) need to check this band out. If you're already a fan of the band and enjoyed "Variations On A Theme," rest assured that this one is even better. This is a very minimalistic and simplistic release, but therein lies the beauty. Put this on, sit back, close your eyes, relax and remember: rise aviator, sun will follow. (Online June 23, 2006)