Tech Death Thursday: Kardashev
Fallujah is so last year. Kardashev are the new “in.”
But before we get to that, have some tech news:
- First and foremost, Obscura have announced the February 5th release of their new record, Akroasis, with an accompanying trailer. Not a day later, they announced that guitarist Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschläger has been replaced by Rafael Trujillo, presumably because he’s younger and prettier. Obscura haven’t confirmed that suspicion yet, but this lengthy post by Fountainhead (vaguely) indicates personal tension between him and Steffen Kummerer. It’s actually refreshing to see conflicting musicians not airing all their dirty laundry publicly for a change. Regardless, the new material sounds absolutely stellar and will likely be the tech death album to beat next year.
- Fleshgod Apocalypse, who are primarily known for wearing tuxedos and going fast [artist’s rendition], have also announced a new album for sometime early next year. No new material yet, but you can check out the awesome album art for King here.
- A girlish squeal emanating from the Chicago area could be heard globally for a full minute this past Tuesday. Scientists haven’t been able to determine the source yet, but most believe it occurred the exact moment Jack Bauer discovered a new Vektor track. Correlation doesn’t always equal causation, but I’m pretty sure we can close the books on this one.
- Vipassi, featuring members of A Million Dead Birds Laughing, Hadal Maw, and Ne Obliviscaris, have released a song from their upcoming Śūnyatā EP. Check it out here for some instrumental goodness in the vein of Beyond Creation.
Kardashev first came to my attention in 2013 with their Excipio EP. At the time, they didn’t seem like anything special. They were pretty par for the course for a band signed to Subliminal Groove; melodic deathcore with some atmospheric elements (with the sole notable exception of Ovid’s Withering). The atmospheric elements were more prevalent on Excipio than on their labelmates’ offerings, but they weren’t integrated well into the overall experience of the EP, serving primarily as transitions between songs. Moreover, it was an album that was built almost entirely on moments. It had parts that were crushingly brutal, parts that were beautifully orchestrated, and sections of brilliant technical flair, but they were strung together by run-of-the-mill deathcore antics. It was a largely predictable effort and, had the band continued in this direction, I probably would have continued to write them off. As you’ve probably guessed by now, something changed.
“Peripety” is defined as a reversal of circumstance or a turning point, and thus serves perfectly as a title for Kardashev’s latest offering. As the band states themselves, they have “done away with complexity and flashiness to take root in the beautiful and minimal.” Those ambient moments on Excipio are in full swing on Peripety and mark a drastic change in the band’s sound. Gone are the aimless chugging riffs and breakdowns; in their place are soaring passages, corridors in the sky that transport you from one majestic vista to the next.
That floating feeling is, of course, entwined with some deliciously heavy riffing. The guitars and drums drive the music powerfully forth, punctuated by short moments of silence or floating bass and synth. It is simultaneously entrancing and devastating, and it’s the same mastery of this dichotomy that made The Flesh Prevails such a compelling listen. That’s not to say that Peripety is just a Fallujah knockoff. Kardashev differentiate themselves by building their songs around more clearly defined melodies and chord structures as opposed to the free-flowing feel of Flesh’s split-octave tapping leads and tremolo bar flourishes. It might be fair to say that each album treads the same ground, but they take different paths to their destination.
Perhaps the biggest thing that differentiates the two is the production. A common complaint about The Flesh Prevails was that it was compressed to hell and back, quashing some of the music’s impact. While Peripety isn’t completely free of compression, it’s much less present. The music sounds as big as the images it conjures; there’s a lot of space in the vocals and synths, and even the drums have a touch of reverb on them. The guitars still sound moderately noise gated, but not to the point where they’re choked.
Put simply, Peripety came out of nowhere and blew me away with its scale and grandeur. Kardashev’s evolution in the past two years is nothing short of impressive, and I hope to see the band continue in this new direction in the future. They have well and truly made me a fan.
4.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Peripety is out now and is available for purchase at Kardashev’s Bandcamp. It’s also streaming at HBIH if you’d prefer a better media player. If you like what you hear, check them out on Facebook as well. That’s all for this week, and until next time,