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Kardashev – The Baring Of Shadows EP Award winner

Kardashev
The Baring Of Shadows EP
by Andrew Graham at 11 May 2021, 9:51 PM

I do love it when a new genre is birthed. People argue so incessantly about genres and labels (I go by the affectionate nickname ‘Label Gimp’ at Metal Temple) that it’s easy to get lost in (if you’ll forgive the phrase) intellectual masturbation. I feel I can confidently proclaim, however, that Florida-based nerds KARDASHEV have made a unique contribution to the metal world. Move over, blackgaze, there’s a new trendy kid on the block: meet deathgaze.

“A Frame. A Light.” Takes us slowly into this emotionally deep musical meditation. Gentle guitar notes ease us in before the doors slam open on this brutal piece of introspection. Gorgeous clean, almost crooner, vocals from Mark wrap around our ears and soothe the soul. “Snow – Sleep” displays the most extreme of opposites – fierce and uncompromising death metal brutality and deep introspection. This is no gimmick, however. This is an album that deals with grief, and as such the pairing of such extremes of mood and emotion are entirely appropriate and relatable.

This is particularly well expressed in “Torchpassing”, which really captures the agonising part of grief that leads to one figuratively (or in this case, literally) screaming at the universe for answers to questions such as “why?”. Truly this is a well-observed study in grief and its associated emotional states. “Heartache” feels, in a way, like a kind of acceptance and closure (a key part of the grieving process) but with tangible emotions left unresolved – isn’t this always the way with grief? The second half of this release is comprised of instrumental versions of the four tracks. They are no less beautiful standing by themselves, though undoubtedly the full effect is achieved with Mark’s extensive variety of voice and emotive power.

There are so many rich textures and layers on display here that it would be easy for a lesser act to degenerate into an overpowering wall of noise. This, however, manages to weave together a richly detailed patchwork that one can genuinely become lost in, and still manage to pick apart the layers. This in itself is a hefty achievement. Combine this with the quality of the music itself and the emotional maturity and understanding of the material and you have something that is truly great.

This EP is simply gorgeous. It’s clever, introspective, thoughtful, and deeply melancholic. Frequent readers will know how much I love the melancholy feel! By their own admission: “Metal can be brutal, we think it can be beautiful.” This aspiration is certainly achieved here, The Baring Of Shadows is undoubtedly a beautiful record. This demands to be listened to; it is metal for the thoughtful who feel very deeply and revel in emotional turmoil. Their recent signing to Metal Blade Records is definitely justified. KARDASHEV are an act to keep a close eye on. At a time when there is widespread cynicism that “everything’s been done”, they have succeeded in creating something utterly unique and that is, quite simply, a triumph.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

Score: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. A Frame. A Light.
2. Snow – Sleep
3. Torchpassing
4. Heartache
5. A Frame. A Light.
\[Instrumental]6. Snow – Sleep
\[Instrumental]7. Torchpassing
\[Instrumental]8. Heartache
\[Instrumental]
Lineup:
Nico Mirolla – Guitars
Mark Garrett – Vocals
Alexander Adin Rieth – Bass
Sean Lang – Drums
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
     


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