Saturday, 7 February 2015

DOOM CHART: Top 25 Albums of 02/07/15

Top 25 Albums
#). artist - album title
  1. Alucarda - Raw Howls
  2. Crowned in Earth - Metempsychosis
  3. Zoltan - Tombs of the Blind Dead EP*
  4. Occultation - Earthbound EP
  5. Kabbalah - Primitve Stone EP
  6. Pombagira - Flesh Throne Press***
  7. Goat Wizard - Self-Titled
  8. Strange Broue - Various EP's
  9. Phantomass - Self-Titled
  10. Hands of Orlac - Figli Del Crepuscolo**
  11. Widow & Children Self-Titled
  12. Patrick Bruss - The Gorgon's Gallery
  13. Spectral Haze - I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains*
  14. Galleon - Self-Titled
  15. Burning Saviours - Unholy Tales from the North*
  16. Evil Spirit - Caulron Messiah**
  17. Misty Grey - Grey Mist
  18. Orb - Womb**
  19. Ooze [ИЛ] - Black Swamp [Чёрная Топь]**
  20. John Carpenter - Lost Themes*
  21. Cryptrip - The Great Magmatic Leviathan
  22. Maze of Roots - Two Chapters**
  23. Howling Black Soul - Self-Titled
  24. Doomraiser - Reverse
  25. Stone Cadaver - E.P.
*Album available on itunes
** Streaming only
*** Pre-order

ALBUM Spotlight on:
POMBAGIRA – ‘Flesh Throne Press’
Photo by Vic Singh [image source]
Pombagira's sixth album won't be released by Svart Records for another month and a half, so maybe it's a bit early to start the hype train rolling. But if this confusing and poorly-worded early review from The Sludgelord is any indication, that train's already picking up speed. Okay, full disclosure: I wrote the article linked above and I meant every poorly chosen word of it ... but I might have a few words left in the bag, so bear with me.

'Flesh Throne Press' is Pombagira's second double album, the first was their May 2008 debut 'The Crooked Path'. The band has evolved remarkably in the ensuing seven years. The debut threw heavy slabs of doomy riffs and gruff heavy metal vocals atop an aggressive attack. As ambitious as a 5-song double album debut truly is, one could pigeonhole that band into the stoner doom category. The new album is miles away from what nearly anybody else, anywhere is doing. The closest band I can think of in terms of similarity or resemblance is the incredible Aleph Null who use considerably more traditional structures and ideas.

As heavy as Pombagira was in their infancy, banging and crashing, they are now leagues heavier, deeper and darker both sonically and emotionally.

'Iconoclast Dream' [image source]
Of course, the evolution started much earlier, arguably on the band's fourth album 'Iconoclast Dream', a 42-minute single track that heralded the coming direction. That unbelievably heavy guitar tone was already in place, the band was discovering a moodier approach but the ideas present in the piece were still very much couched in the trappings of stoner metal. Nothing wrong with that approach, but Pombagira seem to have left it behind like an old mate that just won't grow up on their two subsequent releases, including this new one.

When comparing 'Iconoclast Dream' to 'Flesh Throne Press', it becomes apparent that much of the mood Pombagira projects as a band comes from drummer Carolyn Hamilton-Giles. Guitar snobs make note, the drums are a real instrument. Carolyn has traded heavy impact for a slightly muted approach making for a more overall psychedelic / shoegaze-y direction for the band. She's not invisible back there, but she invisibly weaves a blanket of order on what could otherwise be a chaotic affair. She uses tom patterns in lieu of crashing beats where appropriate, and her performance runs the gamut of power and subtlety. Her presence is absolutely essential to holding the ideas, mood and textures of the album together, by not calling attention to herself, the mind focuses on the deep modulating guitar tones creating a semi-hypnotic state for the listener.

So there you have it, if you've checked out the Sludgelord link then you get a double review for a double album. 'Flesh Throne Press' is 13 songs and 86 minutes long and will be released on double CD and double LP by Svart Records on March 23, 2015.

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