Kadavar – “Rough Times” (Nuclear Blast)
I’ve always wondered why this Berlin trio have monikers like ‘Lupus’, ‘Tiger’ and ‘Dragon’. Well, on this 4th release it all becomes clear right from the cover of a skull imposed on some sunshine girl’s face – not to mention the album title itself! If predecessor “Berlin” celebrated groovy happiness that you could funk out to, then “Rough Times” flips that right on its head to go much deeper into the darkness of the soul as well as adding more heaviness and indeed, some doom aspects into the 11 tracks here. The title track is super stoked stoner with reverb drenched guitar, pig fart bass and smashing drums making for one bad trip maaaaaaannn but as ‘Into The Wormhole’ rips into your skull for some super heavy psych doom it’s clear that the magic circle the band used to spin has now become a black hole consuming your sanity! As the screeching feedback brings forth ‘Skeleton Blues’ complete with screaming wah and moog sounds, Lupus hits some notable highs for the ultra catchy chorus on this superb track that mixes space rock with High On Fire! Still with their garage sound, the avant garde punkish ‘Die Baby Die’ sounds like a Berliner’s version of the Misfits while ‘Vampires’ only adds to the darkness – not withstanding the hippy vocals – and the upbeat ‘Tribulation Nation’ brings in raw shoegaze riffing and a new wave sound. Not forgetting metal, Kadavar go for the fast gear in ‘Words Of Evil’ with its haunting Ozzy vocals and Metalli warbling n fast chopping riffs and in complete contrast, head right back to their roots on the acoustic blues rock of ‘You Found The Best In Me. Although a 3 piece rock band, ‘The Lost Child’ sees a heavy use of prog psych keys reminiscent of The Doors Ray Manzarek to create a dark n deep atmosphere contrasted vividly by some raw Rush like guitar crashing in, along with a catchy yet powering chorus. With the psych ambience continuing on ‘A L’Ombre Du Temps‘ complete with spoken word in French, Kadavar couldn’t have picked a better note to end on than a cover of The Beatles ‘Helter Skelter’ in what has truly been one helluva ride.