In 2011, London-based doomers Pombagira released an album called Iconoclast Dream. It was comprised of a single, 42-minute track, but really, they should’ve kept the title in their pocket for the subsequent outing — because as it turns out, the latest, Maleficia Lamiah, is far more subversive. The duo’s fifth LP overall, it answers the question of what comes after that single-song record, what you could possibly do after you’ve already pushed your sound as far is it can go? It’s an issue Ufomammut tackled with last year’s Oro two-parter, and their answer was to keep getting bigger, to release one album as two. For Pombagira, it wasn’t going to be that easy.
The two-piece of guitarist/vocalist Pete Giles and drummer Carolyn Hamilton-Giles would keep working in extended tracks — Maleficia Lamiah has two, its title cut and the subsequent “Grave Cardinal” — but for the latest recording, they adopted a far more psychedelic context for the sound. It’s not a complete reinvention, but for the first time in a career that goes as far back as when he played in Azagthoth with Napalm Death‘s Shane Embury in 1987, Pete uses clean singing on the songs, and the material as a result calls back to early psychedelic influences that Pombagira has adopted with striking ease as part of their aesthetic, from Maleficia Lamiah‘s deep-toned artwork to their promotional photos for the album, taken by Vic Singh, who also shot the cover of Pink Floyd‘s debut, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, in 1967.
And not only does Pete sing clean, but he works in an eerie falsetto depending on which of the album’s movements it seems to fit. The song “Maleficia Lamiah” sprawls its just-under-19-minutes in varied movements, Carolyn‘s drums backing bizarro synth and cawing crows in the post-midsection after what’s already been an alternatively driving and stupefying journey through the first half. What Pombagira make clear on Maleficia Lamiah more than anything is that they’re unwilling to be tied to expectation — even their own — and as the title-track winds up in a tempest swirl resuming the intonation of the name of the record, the only tenet Pete and Carolyn are adhering to is that which they’ve created for themselves.
Given the changes in approach Maleficia Lamiah represents, there was as you might imagine a lot to talk about. In the interview that follows, Pete discusses how Maleficia Lamiah came about following Iconoclast Dream, the band’s reticence toward playing live and how they’re handling the inevitability of bringing the new material to a stage, how the working relationship between the duo has grown over the course of five albums, where he thinks this new direction might lead them and much more.
Please find the complete 3,400-word Q&A after the jump, and please enjoy: