11th July 2017 – LSDR Records
03. Aral Sea
Releasing post-rock in EP form seems counter-intuitive for a genre that leans towards expansive, gradually unfolding ideas. With a shorter track time to fill, logic often leans towards one 20+ minute song. In many cases though, there are benefits to economical releases; in the case of Cegvera‘s Creations EP, the short-form has allowed them to present a more focussed, concise version of their approach to the genre.
Cegvera’s sound introduces the thunderous qualities of doom to a mercurial post-rock song format. Without vocals in the mix the guitars are centre-stage, responsible for the thick textures as well as the explorative, ponderous riffs; they’re also responsible, as they have been on previous outings, for the nuanced moments such as the especially gorgeous textures of “Aral Sea“.
This may seem slightly standard fare for doom experimentalists, but Cegvera’s sound is haunted by politicised news segment samples, which add an unsettling edge to the monolithic riffs. This feels particularly timely given the current state of everything, and is vaguely reminiscent of Vodun‘s sample-heavy doom. Here they’re used to augment some really spectacularly sinister doom/post-rock textures. Additions like this can sometimes feel like bands decided they desperately needed a USP; fortunately that’s not the case here, where the samples feel organic and add to the spooky atmosphere.
A few things stick out: firstly, the productions values have improved since the debut full-length, Fractals. Everything is warmer and smoother; furthermore, the songwriting is tighter and more concise. This is likely as a result of the shorter EP format; there’s a discipline to their new material which wasn’t present in Fractals. Trimming what little fat they had has led to a clearer, more defined sound and has amplified their nuances.
Cegvera fly close to their influences sometimes; they’re very much writing in the Pelican/Red Sparowes/Russian Circles vein. It helps that post-metal encourages and celebrates invention, and there’s certainly nothing stale here. It’d be a lazy conclusion to outline that this is a consolidation from Fractals despite the improvement; this is a great post-metal/doom release in its own right as well as the foundations for more releases.
Ultimately this ticks a lot of boxes for dedicated post-metal fans. Cegvera are certainly distinctive enough to stand out in a field of similarly-minded experimentalists; what Creations does especially well is showcase a drive and a subtle, precise anger than a lot of post-metal groups lack. A shimmering, sinister offering.