OM, Agnes Vein
Eightball Club, Thessaloniki, Greece
For the second time almost a year later, OM are visiting Greece and this time they had a stop from Thessaloniki also. Regarding the fact that the friends of music in the city don’t show much respect to the gigs that take place, and this has been proved numerous times in the past, I can consider that it was more than pleasant to see 200 people attending the show, especially in a day dedicated to a specific football match in the whole region. Knowing what to expect from the previous gig, the only thing that mattered was to see which songs they would play this time and of course, see how much fittable were Agnes Vein as a support group on this show. At the end of the night, we all left satisfied and I think that is which matters the most.
Agnes Vein is a case of band that you could easily love or hate. They don’t play easy to listen to music. They don’t play fast. They don’t show compromise at what they do and their sound is so vast and heavy that it could make your ears bleed. Their sludged doomy music combined with blackish vocals, ain’t the most common encounter that speakers could pour out. No matter what each one would think, they played very very well for about half an hour and presenting songs from their recent first full length effort called ”Duality”. Three people sounding like being five makes things always better, and they gained the honest applause of the crowd. The ground was prepared and the religious experience was about to begin, shortly after a quarter.
OM is a one off musical category on their own. How could someone label what they play? It is impossible and it could be naive also. On the other hand, even the most detailed description can’t stand a chance once Al Cisneros starts raping his four string Rickenbacker bass guitar, making it sound like it’s three rhythm guitars full of distortion. His shamanic voice is the driving force of the ritual OM offered to the attenders and I could see many trying to express themselves but only in vain, as they were totally captured by the unique atmosphere and were just left unable to mumble a single word. In such cases, not many words or comments are needed. Sitting and observing makes things easier and better, as nothing happens only by luck.
”Meditation Is The Practice Of Death” was the track that started the show, shortly before ”Rays Of The Sun/To The Shrinebuilder” started making things heavier. The last album they’ve done so far entitled ”God Is Good” (indeed) was presented with the two parts of the ”Cremation Ghat” suite, played one after the other. What followed when they played ”At Giza” was one of the best live experiences of my life. They managed to make an even slower, heavier and more distortioned version of this song, that lasted 23 minutes. Just before we understand, an hour had passed and it was time for two encores after that, but first we had to gather our jaws from the floor and find where our five senses went.
So, they returned to the stage twice, first to play ”Unitive Knowledge Of The Godhead” and then ”Pilgrimage” which set the end of the 90 minute performance of the power trio. Al Cisneros is very fortunate to have found a great partner in the face of Grails drummer Emil Amos who replaced the godly Chris Hakius in the best possible way. I still try to understand how he smashed his cymbals so easily without having to play fast. But his tribal drumming style is unbelievable and adds more groove to the already given. If OM had at least one guitar, the weight of the world would surely seem heavier to us all. In overall, it was an even better performance than the last year in Athens and I hope that if not next year, they will visit us pretty soon again. Rise aviator, sun will follow…
Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.