Music, like all art, seeks to evoke within us a certain emotion. What that is can differ drastically depending on the music: the lethargic, pleasant sway of Beach House creates a sense of satisfied joy, the downtune groove of Pantera brings with it a sense of angry energy, and the ferocious blasts of Emperor have a sense of claustrophobic terror, like being trapped in a forest in the dead of night.
Kardashev are no strangers to creating these feelings within people. Since their inception, they’ve been heavily focused on using synths to bolster the atmosphere of their music; a heady, technically-minded brand of progressive deathcore, their riffs hit hard as the synths lilt through the background and bring an enormous sense of scope to their music. They’ve released two EPs, the last one just a hair over two years ago, and now, they’re releasing their first full length, Peripety, today.
The first post-intro track on Peripety, “Sopor”, bears it all for the audience: starting off with a bang as the guitars rocket towards the sky and the synths climb ever-higher into the stratosphere, the track quickly calms down into the typical Kardashev fare – crushing midtempo grooves and reverberating, washed out arpeggios – and the vocals rain down fire like meteors from on high. On “Sopor”, one immediately gets a sense for what is to come. The hugely wide sound of the album is the hallmark throughout; the best comparison here would be what Fallujah went for on The Flesh Prevails, mixing synths and high-pitched clean leads onto the top of their heavy-as-hell riff salad. Although the core of their music hasn’t changed, Kardashev’s shown a huge growth since Excipio came out in 2013, using their synthwork much better now to complement the guitars, and vice versa when the focus changes. It’s a great combination, and the combination serves well to give whole album a huge sense of escalation: up until the last couple tracks, where the climax is, the entirety of Peripety feels like it’s building into a moment of sheer bliss, and when the first riff of “Conscium”, the penultimate track, hits, it’s easy to tell that this is where it’s going to pay off. And pay off it does; the final two tracks absolutely kill with the weight of the entire album behind them. Think of the whole thing in the same manner as, say, the Vomit Comet: everything builds and builds and builds to a point of utmost tension, and then, at the perfect time, you find everything you’ve experienced being torn away and replaced with a sensation of utter bliss as you hurtle violently back towards the earth.
The production, however, could manage to become a real point of contention: everything is wide and reverberating, creating a fantastic atmosphere, yet also placing some of the instrumentation just outside of one’s reach. Peripety is definitely the kind of album that requires multiple listens to fully grasp, and it’s easy to be turned away the first time around. That being said, those that keep cracking away at this will grow to enjoy the way the production serves the record’s atmosphere and overall aesthetic.
Emulating the feeling of space with only aural input is a hard, hard task, but it seems that Kardashev have taken it in stride and succeeded. On their debut album, they show an apparent ease in mastering the cold reaches of the universe and conjuring them up at will for the listener; the combination of this sense of grandiosity and the groovy deathcore riffage is an enrapturing mix. Peripety begins with a band poised to go nowhere but up, and by the album’s end, it’s clear that that is, indeed, the direction they’re heading.
Kardashev – Peripety gets…