Review & Track Premiere: Vinnum Sabbathi & Cegvera, The Good Earth is Dying Split

Posted in audiObelisk on November 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

vinnum sabbathi cegvera the good earth is dying split cover

[Click play above to hear the premieres of ‘Intermission (The Good Earth is Dying)’ and ‘Arrival/Colonia’ from Vinnum Sabbathi and Cegvera’s The Good Earth is Dying split. LP, CD and DL are released Dec. 10 on Stolen Body Records.]

For as long as humanity has been willing to acknowledge its existence — a substantially shorter amount of time than humanity has known about it — space has represented a reason to hope. The question of whether or not we’re alone in the universe — spoiler alert: nope — and whether we might someday wander among the stars has been a central fuel burnt by science and science-fiction alike. But nothing is apolitical, and with their new split release, Vinnum Sabbathi and Cegvera remind that at best, interplanetary exploration and even colonization can only be a temporary fix without real, substantive changes to what it means to be human. The five-track/33-minute The Good Earth is Dying paints a grim picture that only seems suitable when one looks at shifting weather patterns, melting permafrost, rising sea levels, floating garbage islands and dying coral reefs, and though there are no lyrics, in the titles of its instrumental pieces, the offering brings the two bands together to work around the common theme. A narrative arc is followed that takes human beings deeper into space than we’ve ever gone before, only to find, colonize and destroy yet another world, having learned nothing from the collapsing of earth’s ecosystem that caused us to leave in the first place.

Samples from NASA documentaries pervade Vinnum Sabbathi‘s “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre,” and the transition with “Intermission (The Good Earth is Dying)” involves both bands before Cegvera — who also see Vinnum Sabbathi drummer Gerardo Arias move to guitar to play on their portion — get underway with “Arrival/Colonia,” before moving into “Depletion/Overshoot” and the inevitable-seeming “Collapse/Aftermath.” The ease with which the two lineups come together emphasizes a central characteristic of The Good Earth is Dying, which is just how much the two bands are working toward the same ends, toward telling the same story instrumentally. Granted, the Mexico City and Bristol, UK, outfits have their sonic disparities, with Vinnum Sabbathi centering more on crunching riffage and Cegvera shifting from sludge into most post-metallic fare, but this split was born earlier in 2018 following a tour the two groups did together in Mexico, and rather than play in competition with each other as so many splits see groups do, The Good Earth is Dying — recorded, mixed and mastered by KB at Testa Studio in León, Guanajuato — demonstrates just how much the two bands work together.

Granted, for Vinnum Sabbathi, the 13-minute “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre” continues a live-recorded, should-be-compiled-into-an-LP-at-some-point-how-about-now series of tracks that has also had two prior installments on their April 2018 split with Owain and began on 2015’s split with Bar de Monjas (review here), but that song’s relation to ideas about overpopulation tie directly into the destruction of natural resources characterized in Cegvera‘s three tracks. And there’s precious little to argue with in terms of delivery from Vinnum Sabbathi either, as the band fluidly bring their stage-hewn chemistry to the studio as one would expect. Their commitment to recording live extends back through their awaited 2017 full-length debut, Gravity Works (review here), and their earlier work, and at this point it’s their standard modus. Adding samples after the fact lends further depth to the proceedings, and a studio feel is enhanced as well through the sampling on “Intermission (The Good Earth is Dying),” which ends with a recording of people laughing amid the sound of bagpipes before shifting into the quiet opening lines of “Arrival/Colonia” that soon give way to such heavy nod on the five-minute track.

Arriving on this foreign world seems to be the easy part, and things are rolling along well enough on a heavy groove as Cegvera unfold their portion of the outing, but the atmosphere only grows darker with time, and “Depletion/Overshoot” finds them exploring textures out of mournful heavy blues and airy post-rock alike before turning again to heavier riffing — some prime fuzz, that — and in what’s presumably the “Overshoot” portion in the second half of the song, an increasingly intense forward pummel. By the time they’re into the last minute, cacophony has taken full hold of the song, and they leave a final note out to hang in open space as a transition into the organ-laced final statement, “Collapse/Aftermath,” which indeed feels suitably mournful as regards humanity’s prospects for a better existence. Fair. The floating guitars that showed up in “Depletion/Overshoot” make a return over a gradually-unfurled progression that, at 90 seconds into its total 6:35, turns to a build that brings it to more densely-weighted riffing. If that’s the collapse, then the aftermath is no less engaging or heavy in its execution, and one is reminded of the ambience that Vinnum Sabbathi are able to so naturally conjure on “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre” with echoing guitars and such heft of tone.

That Cegvera would seem to be so much in conversation with “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre” — whether the songs were written out or the concept decided before the tour or not — is emblematic of how well the two groups sit alongside each other. With the bulk of the time belonging to the latter, there’s nonetheless room for both to offer a suitable glimpse at their overall approach while staying on-message in terms of the plotline being followed. I guess the only shame is they didn’t have it to take on tour earlier this year, but these things have a way of working out, whether Cegvera — now a duo down from the three/four-piece they are here — return to Mexico or bring Vinnum Sabbathi to the UK in a show-trade. Either way, the split stands as a document of their time on the road and what they were able to construct in terms of song and theme alike. There may or may not be hope for the future of humanity — again, spoiler alert: nope — but no one other than the willfully blind can say we didn’t see it coming, and though the future they’re imaging isn’t particularly bright, that they’re imagining it at all speaks to one aspect of our species most worth preserving.

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Cegvera Release Creations EP; Touring with Vinnum Sabbathi

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cegvera

It wouldn’t be quite right to call the impact of Cegvera‘s Creations EP immediate. Indeed, it’s three full seconds before opener ‘Centralia’ kicks into the full tonal assault that the Bristol, UK, three-piece will continue to unfold in “Iguala” and touch on throughout the subsequent five tracks, balancing it against a post-rocking meditative feel on “Aral Sea” and foreboding atmospherics on “Mosul” while closer “Latrun” takes a more all-out approach in terms of tempo. The band has aligned with LSDR Records for the release, which you can stream now in its rumbling entirety at the bottom of this post, and will hit the road in the UK this month with fellow instrumentalists Vinnum Sabbathi. I think once you dig into the tracks you’ll agree that’s a solid pairing.

They also get bonus points for shouting out José Saramago. Read Blindness. The EP, as well as Cegvera‘s first one, late 2016’s Fractals, is name-your-price now. Info follows below, courtesy of the PR wire:

cegvera creations

LSDR RECORDS: Cegvera – Creations (2017)

Cegvera is an instrumental band that was born in Bristol, inspired by José Saramago. The band tries to wake up hidden or forgotten feelings. Songs are stories, however it’s up to the audience to create them. Melodic ambience, atmosphere and drone are as important as the riffs. Saying that, if you are into heavy psych, doom, sludge or post-rock you should give this band a try. Cegvera are: Gerardo Arias: Guitar (Vinnum Sabbathi, Ex- Bar de Monjas, 4 ciénegas) / Aaron Scrupps: Bass /Matt Neicho: Drums

Creation Ep is the second work of this band from Bristol U.K. (the first was Fractals), was recorded by Josh Gallop at Stage2 Studios in Bath, U.K. in April of 2017. The Mix and Master were made it by Miguel Fraino at Vesubio 34 Studio in México City. The Artwork was designed by Hellbound Graphics in México City.

Tracklisting:
1. Centralia 03:02
2. Iguala 05:03
3. Aral Sea 05:31
4. Mosul 05:50
5. Latrun 05:10

Cegvera will make a tour with Vinnum Sabbathi this July:
20.07.17 – Coventry (The Arches Venue)
21.07.17 – London (The Dev)
22.07.17 – Bath (St James Vaults)
28.07.17 – Manchester (Retro Bar)
29.07.17 – Scunthorpe (Café Independent)

Cegvera is:
Gerardo Arias: Guitar
Aaron Scrupps: Bass
Matt Neicho: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/cegueraUK
https://cegvera.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/lsdrrecords/
https://lsdr.bandcamp.com/
https://www.storenvy.com/stores/823500-lsdr-records-distro

Cegvera, Creations (2017)

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