Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pombagira: Maleficia Lamia (2013)

Not Short But Sweet

Review by joanismylover, the third metal attorney.

"Balance, Daniel-san." So stated the sensei in Karate Kid. Yin and Yang. Love and Hate. Studio output and live shows. Each of us needs to have a little variety, and "balance" in life, and by extension, his music collection. It's all well and good to have the fury and thunder accounted for - Slayer, Mastodon, Clutch, etc. But there's a place for introspection and breadth, and composition. It's not a big place, for me, anyways, but there's a place for it nonetheless.

Every year I try to expand my horizons a little bit and get something a little bit out of my comfort zone. Otherwise, High on Fire and Iron Maiden and Motörhead and the aforementioned bands might be the only thing in my collection. Pombagira - no idea what that means - apparently were a doom metal band at some point. I've never heard them before that release. But I'd not label them doom, and if there's metal here, it is in the margins. But does that make it a bad release?

Check out the following quote from the promo materials:

"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."
So the emphasis here is on creating a work for a recording, and not necessarily to play it live. That's probably for the best because I'm not sure I'd want to see it live. Maybe I'd sit through it. This is muted and understated "jams", although I'd hesitate to call them that, because although they are long, I don't get a sense of meandering. There is a flow that reflects traditional structures with a climax. Each of the two songs has a yearning and almost a hope to the psychedelia, even though the vocals are fuzzed. It's a neat effect and one that struck me initially and stayed with me. On further listens, especially with headphones, there is a lot more going on, and not in an "aren't we clever" kind of way. More of layering effects like birds singing into the songs. I did not bang my head but I did groove and enjoy the ride. All in all it was a satisfying ride and one I'll take again.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

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