Have you ever taken a moment to contemplate how many truly unique things coalesce to form a human being? Flesh, bone and muscle are one thing—an evolutionary miracle in and of itself—but being human transcends tangible tissues and fluids. The mind, spirit and soul are a different animal altogether, and although they can’t be seen or touched, they are just as crucial to the composition of a man or woman as any anatomical structure. Naysayers would disagree—claiming what can’t be seen, touched or otherwise witnessed can’t exist. Kardashev disagree, and with their latest full length, Peripety, they do what some may claim is impossible—they capture the essence of mankind and transmute it into song, portraying the collective consciousness of mankind as an amalgam of brash, blistering heaviness and otherworldly atmosphere, resulting in an album that is not just a pleasant listening experience, but intoxicating to the mind, addictive and immersive from start to finish.
Peripetyis an immense listening experience build on progressive and ambient instrumentation that stands alone atop a crowded genre. The work of studio percussionist and guitarist Nico Mirolla, Peripety manages to combine frantic speed, pointed aggression and awe-inspiring ambience without being forced or far too long-winded for its own good. Mirolla’s drumming ranges from lacerating blast beats that kickstart the release on “Sopor” to cavernous, airy passages like those in “Somnus” that rely on deep, echoing toms and bright cymbals that burst into the listener’s head like a firework but dissipate and decay like a soft mist. “Lux” is another excellent example of Mirolla’s talent, roaming between bouncy, groovy kick patterns and delicate, jazz-influenced segments easily, allowing the listener to calmly enjoy Kardashev’s varied style. Just as Mirolla’s percussion roams from hellish heaviness tosubtle serenity, his guitar work follows suit, with crystal clear tones that introduce the listener to “Somnus” and that linger throughout “Somnium” to intense, white-hot grooves and riffs. Beneath Mirolla’s prowess lurks the low but technically immaculate bass work of groovesmith Chris Gerlings. Gerlings’ work throughout “Umbra” and “Sopor” especially testify to his talent–working excellently with both drum and guitar to give the album a prominent backbone. Mirolla’s furious fretwork and marvelous diversity makes Peripetythe aural adventure that it is—in which every track seems to touch on both brutality and beauty with ease and flow. The instrumental epic “Aurora” is an excellent example of this, as Mirolla serves as the track’s voice.
With the brilliant stylings of the instrumental dynamic duo behind Kardashev, the only thing left to examine is the band’s vocal element—provided by frontman Mark Garrett. In a word, Garrett is a juggernaut—or perhaps a chimera—as his variety on Peripetyis simply incredible. “Somnus” and “Lucido” show this best, as Garrett’s range hits everything from crushing low growls to high, shrill screams—even touching on clean vocals somewhere in between. With lyrical themes that harp on the expansion and maturation of human consciousness, Garrett does the same thing with his vocals—pushing the envelope wherever he can, forcing his screams to new heights and deeper depths. Garrett simply cannot be stopped as he dominates throughout Peripety, answering Mirolla and Gerlings’ calls for perfection with an energetic and immense performance.
When it comes to progressive or ambient death metal, I admit—I’m often skeptical of hour-or-more albums that are either monotonous and dull or dense and overstuffed with content. Kardashev put those fears of mine to bed before “Sopor” was finished. While Peripetydoes seem to drone on in some parts (“Viglio” seems a bit unnecessary, especially), a great majority of it is perfectly written content that balances bold, aggressive content with peaceful, placid calm. The climactic breakdown—if you can call it that—of “Umbra” is a great example of this—with a serene, ethereal lead layered over a stuttering groove that will have the listener’s neck broken in seconds. “Conscium” and “Lux” continue these trends—especially the latter, as it serves as a breathtaking climax to the release that is an amalgam of fury and floating, drifting calm which can only be described as perfect. This tremendous death metal trio have truly captured what it is to be “human,” touching on all manner of emotions with relatively little filler and a moderate run-time that will appeal to fans of all forms of extreme music.
For Fans Of: Between the Buried and Me, The Contortionist, Fallujah
By: Connor Welsh