Epic and ambitious post-rockers… to the power of three

JOINING THE VERITABLE host of excellent instrumental bands that have emerged over the last couple of decades, London-based Cabiria have been working hard to build their profile over the last three years. With a self-confidence bordering on hubris, the trio self-financed and self-released their debut album, the ambitious and expansive Rust & Grey, in 2021. Blending elements of post-rock and prog metal with brooding atmospherics and fragile ambiance, they even found space for the organ of Brecon Cathedral (courtesy of special guest Jon Pilgrim). Although still in their mid 20s, the bandmates’ self-assurance comes, in part, from working together over a number of years.

“Me and Kye [Phillips, drums] have known each other since we were tiny,” explains guitarist Rory Padfield from the band’s recently installed home studio, “and we were the resident metalheads at secondary school, learning Metallica songs, Trivium songs, all that.” Padfield then met bassist Stu Harris at university: “Kye and I were in a thrash metal sort of band and we ended up getting Stu to play bass and we found out that we had a love for the same sort of music.” Drawing on initial influences such as Russian Circles and Toska, the band have concentrated on what works for them as a trio. “We’ve been working to strip away as much of the fat as possible and focus on writing in the room with each other, as opposed to having something that’s sort of incoherent in a live context.

Otherwise, it’s just riffs and time signatures and technicalities,” reflects Padfield. They’ve also taken on wider influences, as Padfield says, “There’s a thriving jazz scene [in London] so we’re trying to take as much from that as possible. We know a lot of singer-songwriters, a lot of folk artists… it’s just trying to combine all that: melodies, harmonies and songs”. Did they become an instrumental project by accident or design? “It never crossed our minds to try to find [a vocalist] really. We wanted to write stuff that was for guitars, drums and bass,” admits Harris. Phillips expands on this, “We realised that it was super-fun and super-challenging. How can you engage someone who doesn’t really listen to music without vocals?” Although, as Padfield reveals, “Funnily enough, we’re having vocals on the next record.” “Just for the one song!” clarifies Harris.

This leads conversation to the subject of that second album. “It’s all written,” Padfield states, with a tentative release around the start of this summer. “It’s more diverse [than Rust & Grey]. Our playing’s probably got better as well. It’s been another year of working with each other. Hopefully I’ll be able to experiment a little bit on the drum kit and do stuff with sounds that we haven’t done before,” Phillips adds. Guitarist Padfield is also looking at the sound palette: “One goal is to make stuff more colourful and work with different effects, textures, sounds, and a lot of making pedals do stuff they weren’t supposed to do.”

From "Limelight - Cabiria" Prog Reprinted with permission.

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