• Holly Nicholson

Kardashev's The Baring of The Shadows, an emotionally poignant masterpiece.

Kardashev's The Baring of The Shadows sits somewhere in that sweet spot between crushingly heavy and ethereally beautiful, evoking the essence of both black metal and progressive rock. It is true that beauty can arise from profound suffering in the form of music. This album speaks to the loss in all of our lives and serves as an important reminder to cherish the present.

As the album opens with A Frame. A Light. The listener is enveloped in a portrait of deep sadness, loss and longing. The vocal tones are gentle, reminiscent of those of Daniel Tompkins (Tesseract) or Neige (Alcest.) As the track builds, that loss gives way to anger as the vocals are juxtaposed with low and cathartic screams. These are cooled by the ambient immersion of the instrumental soundscape, existing in a space between rage and sorrow, of waiting for someone who isn't coming home.

Moving forwards into Snow-Sleep, the theme of loss carries over into that of abandonment. The song cries out, a lament to a mother lost. This hits the listener deep. In the intense fire of the double kick, a wall of sound. You can feel the anger and frustration of loss and the sense of catharsis that comes with release. The etherial harmonies speak to the soul. "This is my fault" resonates with the self blame within all of us.

Torchpassing feels like a shift towards coming to terms with loss, a need for letting go. The gentle vocals again give way to screams. These screams are primal, instinctual, a release from pain. These are matched by the intensity of the drums. There is a moment of vulnerability here, the lines that stand out for me here are "The trees won't sing without you" "I would sit in your forest forever." The symbolism here is heartfelt and strikes deep.

The emotional poignance of the album culminates in Heartache, as the listener suddenly realises the gravity of all that was lost. The pain in this track is tangible, it makes you hold your loved ones close.

The Baring of Shadows is an album of both pain and beauty and is a truly heartfelt masterpiece. It resonates with loss in all its forms and brings about a feeling of catharsis.

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