Album Rough Times
Release Date: 29 September 2017
Label Nuclear Blast Genre Hard Rock | Psychedelic | Stoner Rock
Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Christopher “Lupus” Lindemann, drummer Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt, and bassist Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup, Berlin-based retro rockers, Kadavar, will release their fourth studio album, Rough Times, on September 29, 2017, via Nuclear Blast. With a good dose of Beatles-meets-Cheap-Trick-esque harmony, downtuned Black Sabbath-type riffing, a steady Led Zeppelin-like backbone, a Misfits sense for the macabre and style, and, you know, that retro tone made new by the likes of Ghost and Ancient VVisdom, Kadavar delivers a psychedelic, blues-based rock that’s mostly hard and heavy, but also trippy, haunting, and serene at times. But no matter what you take away from it, or what influence you find in it, it’s brilliant and honest.
On the whole, the album is a journey, not only in the tempo of the songs and the general vibe that the album delivers as it progresses, but also in the song titles… but seeing this might require you to tap into your inner poet and project your own meaning to those titles.
Unfortunately, as the album attempts to set the stage of its own progression, the first few songs tend to sound a bit too similar to one another. Because of that, potential listeners may lose interest. Don’t get me wrong, the title track comes at you hard and furious, even with a mid-track shift towards sludge, but it lacks a hook. But that hook isn’t what Kadavar is about, as Lindemann implies:
We used to put ourselves under a lot of pressure. We didn’t want to be just another rock band, we wanted to be the best. Now we are free from the idea that we need to hit the charts or fill big halls to become happy. To get to that point everyone involved needs mental maturity, and this satisfies me more than any full arena.
Nonetheless, that hook comes on the next track, “Into the Wormhole,” which is a fuzzed-out, doomy, bluesy, shoegaze number. And the chorus demands that audiences chat, “Into the Wormhole!” The track features the album’s first true breakdown, which dives in like the band is preparing for a drawn out jam session suitable for the stage at Woodstock.
“Skeleton Blues” sounds like a modern retro track, and by the time I was here at this album’s point, I felt like this album wasn’t going to go anywhere else. I was about done, but thought that the album deserved more listening. So, “Die Baby Die” was next — and what a pleasant surprise. Yes, it definitely shares beaucoup elements of tone with Ghost, but it’s also very punky in the Misfits sense, and it has a huge hook. What a rockin’ track that could go on any party mix.
“Die Baby Die” also hints at the psychedelic rock that will permeate throughout the rest of the album, and get a bit spacey in parts, and even finds its way into a ballad.
Rough Times closes with a cover of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter,” and it’s not as polished as say the Motley Crue cover, but a truer version that seems to try to be as close to the original as possible. Kadavar might have tried too hard to match the tone and mixing of the original, because in the end it sounds even less hi-fi than something that was recorded in the ‘60s.
How long an album like Rough Times will stay in rotation on your playlist ultimately depends on your musical tastes or your general mood. But there are definite party tracks contained within and the album, in whole or in parts, warrants repeated listens.
Rock Hard \m/