Zaum was a form of sound symbolism utilised by Russian futurist poets. I’ll leave you to look that up.
It was also a Tool side project of sorts that only released one demo in 1996. It was apparently also an Atmospheric Black Metal band from San Diego that existed for a short while in the early noughties.
This Zaum are a Canadian meditative doom collective from New Brunswick, Canada. They consist of Kyle Alexander – vocals, bass and textures (?), Christopher Lewis – drums and percussion and newly recruited Egyptian – Canadian performer Nawal Doucette – visual performance art and ambience. Divination is Zaum’s third full length release in their 6 year existence. The band are currently on a 3 week tour of Europe and it is in the live arena that I think folk will get the full impact of their intentions.
There are three tracks on this album – lasting a total of 41 minutes of mystical otherworldliness. A plethora of traditional instruments from around the globe have been used to layer on the textures. Singing saws, Jaw harps, didgeridoos brass bells and finger cymbals amongst others, can be heard during the epic soundscapes. The mission statement of Divination is to depict a dense and vivid dreamstate and it achieves its aim. Massive riffs, haunting melodies, big drums and mystical grandeur pepper this dramatic release.
Divination is at once soothing and provocative using pace and bombast to alter the aural pictures and affect the mood of the listener. This is not an easy album to review. To fully appreciate would mean a full immersion into the music. To let oneself go and meditate along with the melodies which then wash over rendering other thoughts difficult to comprehend.
I can only imagine, that live, the movement of Nawal will add a wonderful accompaniment to the music as well as anchoring the listener to this realm.
If you have 40 minutes to spare and fancy taking a trip without lysergic acid or funky fungi then Divination could be for you . Beware though – final track Relic has some freaky monstrous sounds in there so keep one foot on the floor at all times.
(7/10 Matt Mason)