"Maleficia Lamiah"

By Earthdog

For many doom fans the home of doom is and always has been the UK and with good reason. The amount of doom bands coupled with a long and colorful history of bands pushing the heavy envelope has been well documented. You may have heard of a little band from the early 70's called Black Sabbath that started it all. But it 's not only the rich history of the UK scene, it is also the quality factor. There is a certain class that most UK bands have that bands in the rest of the world struggle to meet. Pombagira have now released 5 albums in the 8 years of their existence and like so many UK bands, they don't seem to be able to do anything wrong. One of the key ingredients to the continuing high standard this band keep on attaining is their colorful, progressive, space-rock and psychedelic influences that seamlessly interweaves between their crushing doom riffage and suffocating atmospheres and moods.

While the band is well and truly a "doom" band, they also have the psychedelic and proggy elements perfected. This album is extremely heavy, no question, but there is also an English quirkiness that is closer to early Pink Floyd, King Crimson and even Caravan than it is a Electric Wizard or a Moss. The band is a heavy-duty doom act and are far from an easy listen - this release only has 2 tracks 'Maleficia Lamiah' and 'Grave Cardinal' and both are around the 20 minute mark! The band have all the distorted LSD-drenched guitar riffs that many other stoner-doom bands have but that is where the obvious elements end. This band mixes stoner-doom with sonic experimentations and a jam-rock sensibility that is soaked in atmosphere. The album may have 2 tracks but it seems like it is more like one track split into 2 sections. Often times with this album it is easy to forget where track one ends and track two starts as the two effortlessly bleed together.

This is certainly a "headphone-lovers" delight with orgasmic guitar textures and a wonderful layered sound. There is nothing repetitive about the album which is another bonus when you have tracks as long as these two and the vocals are a melodic wonder. The album in some ways is an enigma. On the one hand it is as crushing in its guitar, distorted heaviness as one would expect with a band like Pombagira but at the same time it has a warm, mystical quality that reminded me of some of Uriah Heep's more ethereal moments. Name dropping aside, this band is very original and while there is a serious 70's hard prog flavor to this album, nothing about this seems like it has been recycled from somewhere else.

Along with the crushing guitar work, there is organ that washes over the listener (another reason this sounds great through headphones) and the entire album seems concise despite its trippy improvisations. Fans of the band won't find too many surprises but it is not just more of the same either. The band seems able to come up with something fresh with each mind-blowing release and so this is another must-have from a band that shows no signs of slowing down. Great album.....9.5/10.