A setting that’s always entranced me is the deep jungle. Full of life with plenty of secrets held within both made by man and nature Herself, there’s plenty to find. It’s not often by any means that I find myself coming across a band that can bring in something to illustrate such a thought in stunning detail and beauty, yet that’s exactly what I think of whenever I listen to Zaum. Without question, this was an album I’ve been hotly anticipated for almost a year now, but I try my best to not let my expectations get the better of me. And, fortunately, we’re given an album that’s as rich in exquisite detail as it is in immaculate craftsmanship and staggering quality.
The soundscapes of Zaum are the sort of thing that hasn’t been strictly limited to the dense overgrowth as it’s with their debut, “Oracles”, that we got more of a Middle Eastern theme, but it was with their previous effort of “Eidolon” (still near and dear to my heart to this day) that we saw Eidolon stride into a more Aztec focused sound that was just as deliciously immersive as its predecessor. Yet, Zaum expanded upon their sound and, thus, quality by miles with “Eidolon”. I truly felt that Zaum was going to head to a different setting with “Divination”, but I was wrong and I’m not upset about it by any means. Throwing us yet again into a realm of deep, forgotten lore and where the ruins are covered in the reclamation of nature and where the deep chants can be heard through the tree, Zaum has created yet another stunning display that’s stunning in just about every feasible way.
If you’re anything like me, seeing a more than capable act like Zaum tackle songs that travel well over ten minutes is the sort of thing that gets you really excited. And it’s with “Divination” that we got that for two out of the three tracks with the outlier still being a respectful near-9 minute helping, and it’s in this 40+ minute helping that Zaum shows us once again their expansive world where the physical and metaphysical merge into a form that can be meditated upon to great length. Zaum’s signature mantras make a beautiful comeback in “Divination” that actually does allow these three tracks to become meditative in their own rights, but it’s once again through the various instruments that this record shines. In just three songs, “Divination” boasts the use of a jaw Harp, didgeridoo, singing saw, dilruba, saz, brass bells, brass bowl, and finger cymbals. Fuck me sideways, that’s a lot of unique instruments to balance. Yet, as immaculate as they’ve ever been, Zaum dominates such a task with utmost ease to create a sound that mixes with a beautiful and haunting atmospheres, riffs that penetrate right to the soul, vocals that always know how to make the perfect strike at the most opportune moment, and a massive level of craftsmanship that makes it near impossible to not lose yourself in “Divination” as it takes you on a journey the likes of which only Zaum can manifest.
I had a really good feeling going into this album, and it goes without saying for me that this is already one of my favorite albums of the year by absolute miles. Forgetting about my past experiences with Zaum and my anticipation for this album, there’s virtually nothing about “Divination” that isn’t fucking immaculate down to the very core. Everything you could want out of a unique act like this has come around with these three tracks to produce an experience that is just as addictive as it is awe-inspiring. Doom often strives to reach places like this, but it’s only through rare bands like Zaum that we get truly exceptional pieces like this, and it’s with “Divination” that such a sound has reached a new peak.
“Divination” releases on April 26th via Listenable Records!
LISTEN to an advanced track from “Divination” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Zaum on Facebook here.
FOLLOW Zaum on Twitter: @zaumdoom