Review Summary: A fleeting journey through the ravaging secrets of the Universe.
There is something strongly alluring about The Almanac
's cover, some flowers covered by ashes, a subtle portray of decay represented with a simple but stunning color palette, an unyielding sense of surrender to something brought by overwhelming destruction instead of pure and simple abandon. It is a simple and beautiful artwork for Kardashev's newest release, an album that continues the story of their 2013's EP Excipio
, and that, according to the band: "It follows an unnamed traveler as he journeys through time and space. It is a story of discovery, humility, and rebirth."
Dashing, isn't it?
Kardashev may be a well-known name for atmospheric and progressive black metal fans. The Arizona troupe is not new to these grounds, something that they already showed with their previous statement, Peripety
, and that it’s made very clear as soon as The Almanac
starts. A fantastic intro kicks things off featuring what seems to be a language written specifically for the album called "Alunea" in the opening "Prologue" while radiant synths and female vocals hover over an hypnotic and distant guitar arpeggio.
Soon after, the first track, "Beneath Sea and Sky", ominously approaches and falls like heaven on your shoulders while pounding faithfully over the initial display of clean vocals. A harmony that soon is to be consumed by threatening grumbling and screams alike, ruthless double kick and cosmic guitar bravado. (Think of a heavier version of Tesseract or The Contortionist thrown into space in a gigantic probe.) The substantial difference in quality in comparison to Peripety
is astonishing. Not only the production feels meatier, but the melodies, the structure of the songs, everything in The Almanac
represents a more mature, confident and worked out Kardashev.
The balance between enticing cleans and growls is counterweighted in a spirited manner. There is plenty of sheer brutality in The Almanac
but it is quickly levelled with ambient passages like "Beneath Dirt and Stone" or with generous post-rock layers of guitar, keys and comforting voices.
The scope of every song is massive, relying sometimes a bit too much on merciless reverberation, which drowns some passages in a pit of interstellar weightlessness, but the constant flow between melodic sections and unwavering ferocity combined with the fair length of the 5 tracks that form The Almanac
, benefit the album greatly, resulting in a marvelous aural journey into the depths of outer space.