Kardashev are a progressive death metal band out of the blazing desert land of Tempe, Arizona. Their sophomore full length, Liminal Rite (Metal Blade), is an epic journey overflowing with atmosphere, beauty and bone crunching, head rattling metal. One moment you find yourself in a tranquil trance, the next your ears are pulverized with viciously biting brutality.
The album begins its journey quietly with the instrumental opener, ‘The Approaching of Atonement’, after which Kardashev offer up the beautiful melodic ‘Silvered Shadows’. The vocals start off clean and have an almost dreamy feel that blends in well to the rest of the track. Don’t worry; there are plenty of traditional death metal growls included that helps balance the perfect blend of rage and atmosphere.
Continuing with more complex and mood setting music, ‘Lavender Calligraphy’, is a lighter song with plenty of peaceful and tranquil moments, with a few blasting and heavy passages. The lead single, ‘Compost Grave Song’, is a heavy-laden doom inspired song that thunderously plods along and offers a few eye searing blast beats to keep things interesting. What really makes this a stand out track is the beautiful blending of both clean and harsh vocals.
‘Glass Phantoms’ relies on the heavier sound of Kardashev with a hard opening thanks in part to the thunderous and inhumanly fast drumming. In between the blast beats are layers of melodic guitars and some of the highest vocal work on the album. The album closes out with ‘A Vagabond’s Gambit’, an eight-minute opus with a solemn and melodic sound with plenty of awesome guitar passages, and ‘Beyond the Passage of Embers’; opening softly with ambient and dreary tones the slow lead in is flipped halfway through to a full on assault with harsh vocals and intense riffs. Spoken lyrics add to the epic and eerie feeling of this song making it a perfect way to end the album.
Liminal Rite is one of those albums that takes multiple listens to truly appreciate it. There is a lot to unpack here. It’s complex but it is not overbearing. The album ranges from solem to uplifting, light to heavy and plenty of impressive musicianship to hold it all together.
Buy the album here: https://kardashev.bandcamp.com/album/liminal-rite?label=2130303334&tab=music
9 / 10