Pombagira – Baron Citadel   7 comments

**** Please welcome a new writer to Doommantia.Com, Marilena Moroni or Mari as she is known to her friends is no stranger to those of us that visit the Sludge Swamp Blogspot regularly. Her taste and knowledge in all things Doom is going to be a valuable addition to this website so please show her some love by adding some comments to her reviews or just simply say hello. You are going to love the way she writes reviews. This is her debut article for Doommantia.Com, a review for Pombagira’s Baron Citadel….Here is Mari..****

The new creature by UK doom entity Pombagira is out. The album came out in late August 2010 on the label Withered Hands, one of those small but valuable underground labels that put a lot of care in the choice and in the support of their (heavy) bands, in the production of the sounds as well as in the packaging of their releases. I proudly own several of the Withered Hands’ releases.

Formerly a trio, Pombagira is a heavy, heavy, heavy couple, Pete Hamilton-Giles on vocals and guitar and wife Carolyn on drums. The band never changed its attitude towards heaviness since the mammoth debut back in 2008, when they released the double CD The Crooked Path, almost 90 minutes of first-grade fuzzy “total doom”.

I was charmed by the origin of the curious, exotic band’s name. It is explained on myspace and in some interviews, where the band’s couple explained their involvement in non-conventional religious experiences. The name stems from the Afro-Brazilian religion of Quimbanda, where the feared and revered female spirit or goddess PombaGira is the protectress of the downfallen, prostitutes and the weak. PombaGira is wife to Exu, a trickster spirit sometimes mistaken for the devil. She is benevolent with the good but she can unleash a surge of destruction against the bad and the traitors, and is made manifest through the medium of sound.

Equally charming and crushing is Pombagira’s blend of ponderous doom, sick sludge, and drony, esoteric psychedelia.

The tunes, the lyrics and the cover art, all contribute to build up Baron Citadel, the new homage of the doomy couple to esotericism in general, and to exotic, dark, occult religious cults like Voodoo, in particular.

The four long tracks of the new album are nothing less than overwhelming monoliths of sound.

You enter the Voodoo rite with track Causeway Charred, where Pete’s scary, bellowing roars periodically emerge from the thick carpet of distorted guitar and pulsing drums. The sound is simple, only occasionally riff explosions interrupt the hypnotic meandering of the distorted guitar base which reminds me of a work-like monster eating its way deeper and deeper through the ground. It is the frenzied evolution of a trance-induced dance …

In general there are not so big differences between the tracks in terms of pace, and I think this contributes to an overall hypnotic, numbing effect. Incredibly, monotony is avoided by adopting not accelerations but periodical down-tempo intervals to almost silent parts lead by a soft reverberating to clean guitar thread. In the second track, Baron Citadel, rhythms slow down in the central part and give way to a soft, groovy, almost bluesy core, before the mass of sound starts again.

The third, monumental track, Seals Of Grace, is almost completely instrumental. It is longer than 24 minutes but it’s varied and flows like water. It’s undoubtedly “heavy” but it unexpectedly starts in a subdue way. Moreover it hosts several slow-down parts where Pete’s experiments on pedals occasionally create magic, psychedelic sonic arabesques before the leading theme starts again. The relative calmness of the third track is reprised by the start of the last track, the equally monumental Corporeal Altar. The fourth track starts out in a psychedelic mood, through the soft, reverberating guitar sounds which develop in a crescendo, a surge, together with the drums. For a moment you expect an explosion. No explosion takes place but the distorted, fuzzy, meandering sound that lead the whole album starts again and grabs you and draws you back down a vortex again till the next down-tempo intervals that progressively increase towards the end of the track. It’s as if the trance-induced frenzied dance of the Voodoo adept is experiencing the last pulses, the last surges of energy and then gradually dies out and leaves the adept panting lying on the ground …

It’s amazing how such a dense, gloomy and deep-to-the-gut type of sound can be made without the intervention of bass, although I’ve read in Pombagira’s interviews that they devoted a lot of work and experimentation on amps, pedals and frequencies.

Pombagira have quoted and/or have been variably compared with a number of bands. I read somewhere that Pombagira have been stigmatized as a “riffy” version of Sunn O)). Affinities with Sleep and Om are apparent and welcome by the duo. Similarities on the psychedelic/occult doom side may also hold for Electric Wizard and Reverend Bizarre, although darkness in Pombagira sounds probably more dramatic and less “stoned”. Comparisons with Suma may fit for this dramatic character in Pombagira’s sludgy doom. Listening to Pombagira also reminds me of the new super –heavy style adopted by the Jucifer couple. And Pombagira’s psychedelic experience recalls Bibilic Blood to me, in spite of obvious differences. Psychedelia is so much present in this album, side by side with heaviness. As a matter of fact, more than to unavoidable Black Sabbath, the band declared a devotion for the sonic ambiance embedded in the psychedelic rock from the 60-70s.

Baron Citadel album is distributed by both Withered Hand Records and Black Axis Records.

Pombagira are now on tour and are selling their newest limited edition LP split with Eagle Twin, out on Mordgrimm Records. The same label will release two more LP splits of Pombagira with Coffins and with The Wounded Kings. And in an interview a split with Jucifer was also mentioned.

If you read what I wrote you’ll have realized that I enjoyed this album very much. Single tracks taken separately are fine, but for me this is an album to be heard in its entire development in order to catch, or at least to have a glimpse of the mind-blowing sensations transmitted by an esoteric ritual during its development. 9/10
Review Written By Mari ( Sludge Swamp Blogspot )

Pombagira Myspace

Withered Hand Records

Black Axis Records

Mordgrimm Myspace


Posted October 13, 2010 by doommantia in Pombagira

7 responses to “Pombagira – Baron Citadel

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  1. Give it up for Mari, fantastic job!!

  2. OMG, what a toxic avalanche! I should learn to write less, lol …

    Ed, thanks for the warm introduction and compliments. It's a honour for me!

    Regarding my “taste and knowledge”, well, on taste I can't do much, but on knowledge there's still much work to do, hahaha …
    The Swamp has been and is a great school and a great place and big fun. But I'm sure more fun will come from here as well!

  3. Thanks Mari, I look forward to reading a lot more from you in the future.

  4. Hello Mari. Nice one.

  5. Well, well. Look who we have here. Auntie Mari. It would seem as though we have quite the family growing in our little corner of the underground. There is an awesome growing community supporting this type of music, involving so many people from so many places. A lot of the same people working for multiple sites. It is great to see.

    Excellent review Mari. I LOVE this band and especially this album.

    \m/ \m/

  6. Well, well. Look who we have here. Auntie Mari. It would seem as though we have quite the family growing in our little corner of the underground. There is an awesome growing community supporting this type of music, involving so many people from so many places. A lot of the same people working for multiple sites. It is great to see.

    Excellent review Mari. I LOVE this band and especially this album.

    \m/ \m/

  7. Hahahaha, Zodes, you found me!
    I guess that with all this blogging activity it won't be long before my mother too will discover what her daughter does in her spare time instead of playing bridge or making patchwork … 😀

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