Liminal Rite, the stunning new studio album from Tempe, Arizona-based deathgaze practitioners KARDASHEV, is out TODAY on Metal Blade Records!
Arguably the leading proprietors when it comes to the niche deathgaze genre, KARDASHEV has, since inception, manifested a distinct combination of death metal, shoegaze, and other flavors, evolving with every release. Their latest full-length, Liminal Rite, further pushes the boundaries, delivering an offering that is as ruthlessly heavy as it is delicate and fragile. “As far as we know, there aren’t a lot of other bands leaning into the deathgaze tag as much as we are, and it seems to give us a unique sound that is hard to find,” states guitarist Nico Mirolla. The album also asks some deep questions. “What does it mean to live in the past? When does nostalgia become obsession, and guilt, a prison? Liminal Rite explores how the past can both wound and seduce, leading us down a path of self-destruction.”
Liminal Rite boasts eleven deeply rousing, poignant, and musically grandiose tracks. Opening with the gorgeous drones of “The Approaching Of Atonement” before launching into the densely layered, surging “Silvered Shadows,” an air of tragedy looms over much of the record’s proceedings demanding an emotional response at every musical turn. The record follows a narrative laid out by drummer Sean Lang’s spoken word parts.
As is always the case with the output of KARDASHEV, Liminal Rite is lyrically deep and complex, focusing on emotion above all else. Drawn to the concept of liminality, the transitional stage of a process, each song references a simple object that creates a visual framework for the overall story. Going into the record they were inspired in part by the reaction to The Baring Of Shadows, which connected powerfully with their fan base. “When we wrote The Baring of Shadows we had the goal of writing music that actively helped people,” explains Mirolla. “So, we focused on offering catharsis. We wanted to break people’s hearts in a helpful way, allowing them to expel pent up emotions that were holding them back and thus feeling thankful for the life that is around them. Mark wrote these lyrics primarily because he often finds himself ruminating on the past, thinking about how much more sure and certain life was, and feeling overwhelmed by the chaos of the present. As a result, he sometimes gets stuck in a spiral of nostalgia that gets to be a bit obsessive. This led us to gently hint at dementia through the album.”
Liminal Rite is available on CD, digitally, and LP on the following color variants:
- Misty Rose Marble (US exclusive)
- Light Gray Marbled (US exclusive)
- Pale Blue Grey Marbled (EU exclusive)
- Crimson Marbled Marbled (EU exclusive – ltd to 300 copies)
- Clear Ochre Brown Marbled (EU exclusive – ltd to 200 copies)
- Pastel Blue Marbled (EU exclusive – ltd to 200 copies)
- Clear Lilac Marbled (EU exclusive – ltd to 200 copies)
Preview and purchase the record at metalblade.com/kardashev.
With drums tracked in Lang’s home studio, KARDASHEV returned to Endless Gate Audio in Arizona to track guitar, bass, and vocals. They then gathered at The Sound Lair in Tennessee — the first time this lineup has ever been in the same room together- – to work with producer/mixer Miah Lajeunesse. The album was mastered by Ryan Williams. The band also brought in Bohren & Der Club Of Gore’s saxophonist Christoph Clöser — which was a life goal checked off for Mirolla — to add an extra flavor to haunting, epic closer “Beyond The Passage Of Embers.” Additionally, Christopher Blaney added some piano parts alongside those of bassist Alex Rieth. The members also pushed themselves into new territory: Garrett recorded his own vocal harmonies rather than relying on a vocoder as on previous releases, Rieth recorded some piano parts, and Lang penned and recorded the spoken word story that haunts the record. The album comes cloaked in the cover art of Faith Veloro.
Forged in 2012, KARDASHEV’s mission statement could best be described as, “Attempting to create the most beautiful, heavy music through themes of love, loss, and altruism in the metal spectrum.” The band dropped their debut full-length Peripety in 2015 and have since focused on short form concept records, most recently 2021’s stirring The Baring Of Shadows. Rarely approaching the creation of a record with any preconceptions or plans as to what form it will take, they work until what they generally envisaged manifests itself.
“Proponents of ‘deathgaze’, they mix death, black and post-metal, shoegaze and ambient into an intoxicating brew that is muscular and violent while graceful and almost painfully beautiful, reference points showing here and there but impossible to pigeonhole… There really is no overselling how good Liminal Rite is, and how much it stands out from the crowd. This is a record in which to lose yourself. 5/5” – Kerrang!
“Liminal Rite is an album unlike any I’ve heard before. KARDASHEV combines familiar elements in an unfamiliar way and really the only band than comes close to this is Ne Obliviscaris, but these guys embrace Ocean-like slow passages more. This record is fucking sick.” – Metal Injection
“…an emotional odyssey of a masterpiece that will be endlessly discussed for years, even decades from now alongside other landmark metal albums.” – Everything Is Noise
“…a contender for AOTY for sure. Liminal Rite is both one of the most brutal and aggressive metal albums you have heard this year, but also one of the most sublime. 10/10” – Metal Temple
“KARDASHEV haven’t abandoned their ruthless side, being able to incorporate it into an unhurried pace on songs like ‘A Vagabond’s Lament’ and ‘Beyond The Passage Of Embers.’ These two close the album with a spectacular creative statement that signifies the legitimacy of the band’s ‘deathgaze’ style.” – Heavy Music HQ
“One moment you find yourself in a tranquil trance, the next your ears are pulverized with viciously biting brutality…The album ranges from solemn to uplifting, light to heavy and plenty of impressive musicianship to hold it all together. 9/10” – Ghost Cult
“…amazing upon first listen. Mark’s vocals are bone chilling and the writing is spot-on.” – Sputnik Music
Nico Mirolla – guitars
Mark Garrett – vocals
Alex Rieth – bass
Sean Lang – drums