You’re sitting in your Volkswagen Type 2 cruising down Route 66. The weather outside is baking. You’ve just seen Lynyrd Skynyrd at Funochio’s and now you’re off to Santa Monica to catch Alice Cooper. It’s a long ride, but it’s 1973 and you have no idea what’s going to happen next and that’s the whole point of your road trip. A hot blonde sits up at the back, looking like she has just awoken from a Rolling Stones gig circa 1969, life is good. You pop in Kadavar’s new album ‘Rough Times’ and life just got better. Except it’s not 1973 anymore, hell you can’t win them all.
The era reference when talking about German band Kadavar is significant because this band take you back to a moment in time, perhaps not as far back as flowers in your hair, but certainly to the mid 70s where musicians thought they could live forever only to drop like flies. What Kadavar do best is that they lay the land right out in front of you, from psychedelic rock to progressive and then pull the rug from underneath you, because this band can turn heavy and loud quicker than a VW T2’s brakes when the cops pull you over for nothing more than a broken taillight….
‘Rough Times’ is Kadavar’s fourth album and their first since 2015’s acclaimed ‘Berlin’. The threesome; Christoph ‘Lupus’ Lindemann on vocals and guitar, Christoph ‘Tiger’ Bartelt on drums and Simon ‘Dragon’ Bouteloup on bass have made a very unique and refreshing record even if you can easily go and line up their heroes that influences their sound, the band still have their distinct way of going about their business and catching you out with a plethora of hooks and middle 8’s.
There are 10 tracks to divulge into here opening up with title track ‘Rough Times’ which is introduced to us by way of Bartelt’s pulsating drumming and Bouteloup’s bass from the depths of hell, a sweet twist mid way through and feedback giving way to more drums makes this song a keeper straight off the bat.
‘Into the Wormehole’ is one hell of a mean song with a brilliant catchy chorus. ‘Skeleton Blues’ touches on Donald Trump as singer Lindemann says ‘fake news is so confused’. A song that is laden with Lindermann’s heavy guitar reaching some sort of crescendo as his guitar appears to squeal before a battering finish. ‘Die Baby Die’ might sound like an obvious title for a heavy song but in fact is the most chilled thus far in a record that grows on you literally while you’re still taking in your first listen. There’s a lovely moment during the chorus when Bartelt ups the tempo on his sticks just when you would least expect.
‘Vampires’ and ‘Tribulation Nation’ are the most vocal when it comes to the political world in 2017 with the latter starting off with some seriously 70s spaced out sound vibes before leading into an intense finale. ‘Words of Evil’ is instantly catchy and has a superb riff that you won’t be able to shake from your head all day, don’t worry you won’t want too. ‘The Lost Child’ is arguably the bands most ambitious track, starting off eerily slowly and then followed by a wail of guitar before leading into acoustics and going out mellow. This will sound awesome live if the band so choose to play it.
Penultimate track ‘You Found the Best in Me’ is simple and stunning and the album is wrapped up by ‘A L’Ombre Du Temps’ and if my French serves me correct translates to ‘In the Shadow of Time’, which is a French spoken word piece to background music.
In the past Kadavar have admitted to wanting to be the very best band around, one that could fill arenas. For now the band haven’t quite reached that popularity, though if this record is anything to go by it could well just be a matter of time.