Pombagira Interview with Pete Giles: Extremity of Varied Forms

Posted in Features on April 11th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

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:

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audiObelisk: Pombagira Stream Title-Track from Maleficia Lamiah; Pre-Order Now Available

Posted in audiObelisk on February 5th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Clocking in at over 19 minutes of multi-movement progressive doom exploration, Pombagira‘s “Maleficia Lamiah” is essentially an album unto itself, with a complete linear flow and fully realized psychedelic mysticism. The band’s fifth album, Maleficia Lamiah, is now available for pre-order from Black Axis Records ahead of its March 18 release date.

Maleficia Lamiah is the follow-up to 2011’s single-track full-length, Iconoclast Dream, so they’re no strangers to long-form work, and their wanderings seem to find direction even as they get willfully lost along the way. The title cut opens with a few minutes of layered feedback, and then the husband/wife duo of Pete (vocals and guitar) and Carolyn (drums) smoothly introduce and work their way through varied presentations of thickened, darkened ritual psychedelia. Their drone-ready sprawl is given just as likely to open space rocking as it is to doomly crush, and in its peaceful moments, “Maleficia Lamiah” enacts some of its greatest threats.

The album can be pre-ordered in three different versions from Black Axis. A limited black and yellow marble swirl 2LP also includes a t-shirt and three bonus tracks, and there’s also a regular vinyl edition and the CD. Rest assured, all three contain Pombagira’s gloriously heavy wash and richly progressive take. It’s my extreme pleasure to host “Maleficia Lamiah” for streaming in advance of the record’s release. Some who’ve encountered Pombagira‘s rawer past works may be surprised at some of what they’re doing here, but rest assured, their sound remains their own.

Please find the track below and enjoy the trip:

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Pombagira‘s Maleficia Lamiah was recorded at Foel Studios and Earthworks in the second half of last year and can be pre-ordered now through Black Axis Records at this location. For more on the doomly doings of Pete and Carolyn, check out Pombagira on Thee Facebooks.

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New Pombagira LP Maleficia Lamiah Due in March

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 16th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

I’ve been waiting for British doomers Pombagira to release a new album to basically give myself an excuse to finally get acquainted. It’s a name I’ve seen kicked around for more than the last couple years, and it’s high time I got to know the band better. Their fifth album, Maleficia Lamiah, is set for release in March on Black Axis Records with preorders going up the first week in February.

The PR wire has details. One more to be stoked on:

Pombagira to release profoundly epic new album Maleficia Lamiah

Pombagira have emerged from the gloom with their most profoundly epic album to date MALEFICIA LAMIAH.

Comprising two songs ‘Maleficia Lamiah’ and ‘Grave Cardinal’, their fifth album in as many years pushes the very boundaries of experimental, psychedelic, down-tuned, mind-expanding music. The album was recorded in June 2012 at Foel Studio and then finished at their favourite recording haunt Earthworks in Sept 2012. Maleficia Lamiah finds the band in a paisley ebullient mood given their success at breaching the suffocating expectations associated with belonging to a single genre.

No longer being sharply defined as a doom band, Maleficia Lamiah reflects a certain maturity which comes from Pombagira’s intent on concentrating solely on composition rather than playing live shows. While their retreat into silence, although missed by many, may have initiated whispers of disbandment, Pombagira have steadied their intent to unleash something so monstrous and so exciting, that many will be surprised if not shocked when they hear this new tome.

Although the departure from previous releases will be evident, there are of course the anchor points to ease the listener into their new epic corpse-scape style. Amps rage and soar with a focussed endeavour to draw the crossroads onto your flesh while the drums breathe a new life, reviving the Haitian cascading rhythms which nail the point for your ingress into their world.

Pombagira have drawn on their deep respect for the past. By acknowledging their influence to bands like Amon Duul II, Pink Floyd and Caravan this album stands as a testament to their ability to embody and innovate these past masters. For embedded within both ‘Maleficia Lamiah’ and ‘Grave Cardinal’ there rest tales of journeys into the world of the Pombagira as witch, while ‘Grave Cardinal’ asserts the majesty of their critical mass as a moment of transgression where the dead meet the living. But this is no Hammer House of Horror ‘cheap trick’ reference, rather a reflection on Pombagira’s involvement with the occult, academic writing on history and otherness, while also providing insight into the hypnogogic world where dreams and reality merge.

Resplendent in its intent, vibrant in its intensity, beautiful in its introspection, Pombagira may this time have really found the portal between the visible and invisible worlds. A magnificent psychedelic down tuned progressive behemoth Maleficia Lamiah will after due process expand your mind. Pombagira’s fifth album deserves to be acknowledged as one of the greatest progressive feats in the last decade or more. As a result the band don’t promise an easy ride through their paisley tinged sound scape, but like anticipating a gathering storm, the gradual shifts and turns build to a crescendo before Maleficia Lamiah finally makes landfall on your body.

It’s a journey fraught with trepidation but it does ensure that once you step aboard you will never be able to depart from their vision again.

Released on 18 March on Black Axis Records. The LP version is limited to 500 copies will be available for pre-order at www.blackaxisrec.co.uk from 5 Feb. This version will contain three extra bonus tracks.

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