Review: Pombagira – Iconoclast Dream

The aspect of Iconoclast Dream that most explicitly demands praise is, without a doubt, the production. The track is an impeccable document of the band’s worship of sludgy, girthy low end, harnessing a real sense of rehearsal space rawness, while leaving enough clarity to bring immediacy to Pombagira’s tectonic heaviness. Riffs feel on the edge of crumbling under their own weight at points – left to ring out, and subsiding into rumbles of bass frequencies. Not unlike the guttural powerchords of Sunn 0)))’s Stephen O’Malley.

Thankfully, the composition itself feels worthy of such a solid execution. The first 15 minutes run off of a fluid, self-generative energy that brings to mind Sleep and Electric Wizard, with riffs buzzing and morphing around mercurial, anchoring drum grooves. Sections drop back and return again, sounding ever more powerful in their repeated resurrection, and no more so than during the final blast of the track’s most prominent motif: a thick, steady chord progression, featuring the album title hollered through vicious vocal rasps.

Clean sections make an occasional appearance – subtly nodding to the shimmering reverberations and moody melody patterns seen in post-rock – and do well to break the track up without fracturing it into incoherent segments. These patches of quiet work best when adhering to the slow, earthly movements utilised throughout the rest of Iconoclast Dream. Just as the track seems to be losing its edge in an increasingly meandering stretch of downtime about halfway through, it’s thankfully saved by a sudden distortion break-in, reintroducing the band’s sense of conviction in one fuzzy 10-ton slab.

And it really does leave an imprint. Pombagira provoke a feeling of significance through this 42-minute piece. It’s not a long track for the sake of making a long track – it thrives off of its duration, forever burrowing deeper to uncover greater secrets about itself. While I was a little disappointed with the delay pedal noodling that occurs during the closing stages, the rest of the album really lingers in the mind, with the monolithic vibrations of those down-tuned riffs humming through one’s head hours after listening.