A headphone record in the truest and most engrossing sense of the term, Pombagira‘s Flesh Throne Press is set to release internationally on March 27. The album is the UK duo’s seventh overall since 2008, but it’s a landmark as well for being their debut on Svart Records, and they’re doing it up in style accordingly. Following the path they began to lay out on 2013’s Maleficia Lamiah (review here), guitarist/vocalist Pete Giles and drummer Carolyn Hamilton-Giles delve even deeper into melodic, tonally blissful psychedelics, crafting a rich, warm swirl that permeates the album’s extended 86-minute/2LP course. At times minimal, as on the interlude “Soul Seeker” near the end of the first of two CDs, it can also move with abstract shoegaze melody, as on the prior “Endless,” or unfurl a doomly roll, as on the later “I Curse I Pray.”
There are consistent elements throughout, and it’s certainly possible to put on Flesh Throne Press, nod out and experience it as one massive unfolding, languid, live-sounding psychedelic experience — no doubt that was at least part of the intent — but disc two seems to be even more exploratory and experimental than its predecessor. Opening with the 15-minute “In the Silence” (Pombagira are no strangers to extended forms; see also 2011’s single-song full-length, Iconoclast Dream), the two-piece float between airy minimal builds and the pedal-stomped consuming fuzz of earlier pieces like “Sorcerous Cry” and similarly-minded album opener “The Way.” Pete‘s vocals are a major factor in tying it all together, and his performance on Flesh Throne Press is also his boldest to date in Pombagira, confident enough to wisp through the spaciousness of “Blessed are the Dead,” suitably ghostly, or come to the fore à la Mad Season on “Ash to Flesh” after the particularly folkish interlude “Time Stone.”
Shifts in vibe between individual tracks are more of a factor with Flesh Throne Press than Maleficia Lamiah, but I’d just as likely chalk that up to where the experiments led Pete and Carolyn than any master-planned intent — the master plan being “experiment,” in other words — and while some of disc two’s shorter pieces could’ve hit the cutting room floor in order to make the album a single disc, it would’ve required a double-vinyl anyway, so enhancing the atmosphere with “Time Stone” or the closer “Yesterday’s Tomorrow” makes a kind of contextual sense in keeping with the overarching fluidity of the material, which is brought to a head on the molten, gorgeous and weighted “Cold Descent.” Penultimate on the record, it is the arrival point to which the journey leads, one of the album’s most resonant movements distinguished by a memorable riff progression and ambitious, accomplished vocal presence that speaks not only to how far Pombagira have come, but how far they can still go.
Because that’s the thing about Flesh Throne Press. It doesn’t just make Maleficia Lamiah seem transitional in context — it reaffirms the same thing about everything Pombagira does, including itself. “Cold Descent” moves into an instrumental jam in its second half and comes around to a sort of grunge-gaze apex, but the duo don’t take the easy way out and click back into mega-thick fuzz. Instead, a quick bout of swirl and then onto the epilogue in “Yesterday’s Tomorrow.” It shows that, even at what would seem to be a crucial moment, Pombagira are willing to hold back and restrain if it best suits the atmosphere of the album overall, which, of course, it does.
And while there’s little likelihood that whatever Pombagira do next will make it seem primitive, “Cold Descent” and Flesh Throne Press as a whole demonstrate that as they get closer to the completion of their first decade as a unit, Pete and Carolyn remain firmly entrenched in a sense of sonic adventurousness.
Please find “Cold Descent” on the player below, followed by info off the PR wire, and enjoy:
Pombagira return with their sixth album since their inception in 2007. Flesh Throne Press sees the band expanding on themes covered in their previous double album release Maleficia Lamiah . Recorded in July 2014 across two intense weeks the band put down over 80 mins of material all of which will be made available on the double CD and double album, both of which will be released by Svart Records in March 2015.
Musically, this album projects the band forward with a mind-expanding purpose for exposing the body to a varied compositional range. When it is heavy, it obliterates in an avalanche of riff making, and when in full tilt, it is only matched by the orchestral quality produced by tracking six amps and cabs for every guitar take.
More concise in its delivery than Maleficia Lamiah , the overall cerebral effect upon the listener is apocalyptic. It will not only rattle you to the very core of your being, but it also wills the listener to a plane where an inner meditative pose can be sustained. This is accomplished by way of the heaviest songs Pombagira have written to date, and by injecting stripped down undistorted constituents to the proceedings. Surfacing in standalone songs as well as being interspersed amongst those heavier tracts of progressive expansiveness, the band this time around present to the listener their most exact example of musical uniqueness. Coursing with the undulations of textural juxtaposition, Pombagira make firm their claim of being a truly original band without compare.
Retentive themes regarding the dead and the necromantic discourse for conversing with ancestors both forgotten and the fallen is here enfleshed. In many ways this album solidifies a connection between the written word composed within Peter Hamilton-Giles’ soon to be published “Grimoire of the Baron Citadel” through Three Hands Press, and the ongoing ritual work to serve the forgotten and fallen. Flesh Throne Press actually refers to the visceral experience of the grave dirt which presses in on the flesh during the initiatory procedure.
Embodying both aspects of ingress and egress, this new album will present a more psych-o-delic side to Pombagira’s music, as they find innovative ways to evolve their sound. In an attempt to bind the sorcerer to the spirit entourage that comes from taking every deviation, Flesh Throne Press explores the ‘nightside’ like no other.