Review Summary: Peripety is an amazing record, perfectly blending brutality and atmosphere into a unique sound
If recent history has taught me anything about metal, it's that it's rather difficult to sift through a lot of fairly mediocre bands and find a real gem. There certainly are some fantastic bands out there, though, who are willing to test musical boundaries, whether that be boundaries of technicality or the metal genre itself.
Kardashev is a good example of the latter. They are a relatively new project who blend the extremities of death metal with the ambient atmospheres of post rock. Their debut album, Peripety, flows seamlessly as it progresses from track to track, beautifully combining these polarising opposites into a unique sound.
They certainly aren't the first band to attempt to blend these two genres, by any means. I could think of a dozen bands that have done this sound, some successfully too (Aegaeon, Fallujah). However, what stands Kardashev out from these bands is that the atmosphere and the metal are both entwined with one another, rather than the atmosphere being a beneficial addition. On top of that, they do more than simply combine death metal with post-rock. They have taken influences from a wide scope of music and blended it into a well-packaged, seamless debut.
The results are something special. Right from the eerie sound of the introduction you know you're in for a treat, and then track 2, "Sopor", kicks in with absolutely ferocious drumming and black metal-esque screams over the top. This is an album which constantly builds and releases musical tension and seldom disappoints, but the resulting sound is strangely beautiful at the same time. This is perfectly shown in track 3, "Somnus", possibly the best song on the whole album, as well as track 6, "Lucido".
The musicianship on this album is definitely worthy of praise. The album's lyrical concept is very well written and the vocals are also executed extremely well. Whilst mostly consisting of high screams and death metal growls, there are the occasional clean vocals, which are spacey harmonies somewhat reminiscent of those found on Focus by Cynic. There are some well-executed guitar solos here and there (See track 4, "Somnium"), but overall the guitar work never gets too excessively technical. Whilst some may suggest this to be a negative in a progressive death metal album, it works in this album's favour, as it balances out the sound nicely. The bass provides a good foundation for the entire sound and there are some moments where it shines through the guitars, such as on "Aurora" and "Umbra".
Perhaps the only thing that lets this album down slightly is the production. Whilst the guitars, bass and vocals are all produced and mixed very well and are all audible, the drums, whilst being solid, are fairly quiet and sound programmed and artificial. Although a minor gripe, the lack of power behind the drums can sometimes make the album feel a bit guitar-dominated, lacking the full driving force it needs.
Overall, though, Peripety is an outstanding record which perfectly blends brutality and atmosphere into a unique sound. Kardashev is definitely a band to keep an eye on over the next few years, and this is an album to listen to on repeat. It certainly won't get tiresome after a few listens.