Kardashev
Liminal Rite


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sunnyvale STAFF
June 11th, 2022 | 177 replies


Release Date: 06/10/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Kardashev are here to stay, ladies and djentlemen

The self-described “deathgaze” band Kardashev essentially stand alone. I’ve always concisely described them as the “djenty band for people who don’t like djent”. Indeed, as I’ve mostly lost interest in that subgenre in recent years, Kardashev remain the band that I just can’t quit. Mainly, this is because the group embraces a complex style melding a number of compelling aspects. Their incorporation of essential ambient and shoegaze textures add an atmospheric and emotional touch, while the more brutal moments are impressive and eased by a well-executed prog edge. Through it all, the group’s obsessions with sci-fi themes, while essentially a cliche in metal circles at this point, have always been engaging. In short, what’s not to like?

Another thing that has set Kardashev apart is their propensity for EPs over LPs. Indeed, despite the group being in existence for over a decade, Liminal Rite stands as only their second full-length, following two truly excellent shorter releases (2017’s The Almanac and 2020’s The Baring Of Shadows). While this new record arguably suffers from a few flaws which might be expected from a band more accustomed to crafting EPs (more on that later), it’s also a beautifully-crafted concept album which keeps alive Kardashev’s impressive reputation for quality.

Depending on the listener, it may or not be important that Liminal Rite is a full-blown concept album. After all, most of the vocals on this record are largely unintelligible, either guttural death growls or blackened shrieks, and even the periodic clean singing is often hard to process while shrouded in grandiose musical backdrops. Without following the story, Liminal Rite is still remarkably engaging, full of rich soundscapes, pummeling moments of heaviness, and a satisfying ebb and flow of different elements. All that being said, though, it should be noted that, as someone who has often been allergic to over-the-top metal concept album attempts, this record’s storyline proves quite successful, an exploration of the appeal and dangers of “living in the past”. At times, it approaches the poetic, and again shows Kardashev’s success in utilizing emotion in their music, itself a rather under-appreciated asset in the world of metal overall.

On its own merits, Liminal Rite holds up quite well even to the high standards provided by Kardashev’s previous output. Tracks like the soaring “Apparitions In Candlelight”, the distraught “Compost Grave-Song”, and the epic closer “Beyond The Passage Of Embers” are fantastic, and there are really no tunes which are less than great. Kardashev come across here as a group which could create an engaging song in their sleep, showing a great mastery not only of their instruments but also of how to arrange a lengthy track without losing the listener’s interest. There’s melody, brutality, and variety, all in spades. That said, there are a few gripes to be made. First, Liminal Rite does come across as a bit overlong. Its fifty-nine minute and fifty-nine second runtime might not be excessive in the grand scheme of things, but I do feel that the record would hit harder being slightly trimmed down. Partly, this might be due to being used to the band’s two recent slight-but-powerful EPs. This feeds into the second complaint, which is the periodic spoken word sections. While certainly not the worst of their ilk, and arguably necessary for advancing the album’s story along, these often stray into cringe-adjacent territory and distract from the release’s more brilliant qualities.

These few critiques aside, this is a rock-solid effort from one of the most consistent bands in recent years. Kardashev are firing on all cylinders here, and their well-crafted mix of styles make this album worth checking for music fans with an interest in basically any form of metal. Liminal Rite is a richly-textured portrait of loss and regret, plumbing the depths of very real (if unpleasant) aspects of human experience. It also “goes hard” and “slaps”. In short, this is an album which simply works, regardless of how much investment you put into its animating ideas.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2022


3926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules! Wrote this rather quickly as I found the time today and my IRL week will be very busy, so hopefully the review reads well.





MonumentsOfParalysis
June 11th 2022


549 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review! Cool dudes that put out some creative tunes, looking forward to listening this weekend on some good headphones.

Digging: Artificial Brain - Artificial Brain

parksungjoon
June 11th 2022


44637 Comments


“djenty band for people who don’t like djent” = meshuggah lol


>Their incorporation of essential ambient and shoegaze textures add an atmospheric and emotional touch, while the more brutal moments are impressive and eased by a well-executed prog edge


sounds a bit like cloudkicker mayhap altho that was more post-rock/post-metal than shoegaze idk

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2022


3926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks @MonumentsOfParalysis!



@park, haha, Meshuggah also fits the bill...Cloudkicker is also great, I'd characterize that project as more post-rock ish though.

Flugmorph
June 11th 2022


27048 Comments


based band, vocalist is mad good and has a great reaction channel. also gives vocal lessons.

Digging: Enslaved - Vertebrae

Sowing
Moderator
June 11th 2022


41314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wonder if I'd like this. This seems intriguing to me for some reason.



Good review as usual.

Digging: Shinedown - Planet Zero

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2022


16581 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good to see that the guy from the Great Dismal album cover is getting more work

Digging: Roseville - something about a fig tree

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2022


3926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sowing, I'm not entirely confident but i could see you digging this, particularly the more epic sections

BallsToTheWall
June 11th 2022


50826 Comments


Rules. Got a Devin vibe to it roo

sizeofanocean
June 11th 2022


2661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Woah there is Deathgaze now? Need to czech



A year ago I asked if anyone knew something comparable to atmospheric black metal in death metal but I thought that such a thing didn't exist. Deathgaze wouldn't at least be so far from it

sizeofanocean
June 11th 2022


2661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First listen of the first proper song reminded me of the Post Rockier sections from Exoplanet (which is a standalone style in a way too). Nice!

tyman128
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2022


3469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review! lovin this record

MonumentsOfParalysis
June 11th 2022


549 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Exoplanet vibes? Hell yeah babay

sizeofanocean
June 11th 2022


2661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm liking it!

Purpl3Spartan
June 11th 2022


4090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Has a great reaction channel (2)

cloakanddagger
June 11th 2022


546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Superb album. Definite aoty contender for me although it's contending with the new white ward album so that competition is pretty tight.

valtinho
June 11th 2022


20 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Very disappointed to see this as the best death metal album of 2022 as of June 11. This is a very soft sound with some blast beat drums and occasional cookie monster vocals just to classify it as metal. It is progressive rock or sludge metal at best, with mostly alternative rock vocals and very delicate instrumentals. This will leave you as puzzled as the Skin Tension Omni album, which refuses to go down in ranking merely because of the novelty of the long duration.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2022


17284 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

I bumped my rating up twice on this album. So good.

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2022


16581 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@valtinho check michael jackson

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2022


3926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hate to break it to you, YoYo, but Michael Jackson is also sludge metal at best...



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