Friday, July 20, 2012

Kadavar Has All Our Dusty Thoughts

Kadavar never talked about the style of music they wanted to make before they made it. They just walked into the practice room and starting turning out a heavy dose of hazy psychedelic that channels the 1970s heavy rock scene as if it were today.

But that doesn't mean saddling the band with a throwback moniker really fits either. They sound better than any retro project. The music is fresh, with a hint of krautrock. Every song rolls in like a blanket of smoke and hangs in the air.

Kadavar's self-titled debut lingers long after the last note. 

The album, cut in the studio owned by the drummer and recorded on analog, carries a classic blues-laden heavy rock jam rock that effortlessly grooves and chugs along in whatever direction feel natural. Expect to hear plenty of comparisons to Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Sir Lord Baltimore, and everybody else critics can tag on to stories. None of the comparisons fit, even if the band would have fit into these band's lineups.

There's much more going on here than layering distorted guitars over a bass line that serves up some melody as much as rhythm. Much of it has to do with the way Christoph "Wolf" Lindemann balances his guitar riff and vocals, giving Rivoli bassist Javier Mammut more room to bridge the space between himself and Ted "Tiger" Tinski's impulsive drums. 

A rundown of what to expect from the brilliant debut album.

The album kicks off with All Our Thoughts, a four-and-a-half minute jam that introduces their powerfully convicted sound. The Berlin trio eases everyone into a hypnotic groove before breaking into a seafaring rock fable about an endless quest. Lindemann's vocals are relaxed; his guitar solo toward the end bristles.

Aside from the opener, the most chatted up track is Creature Of The Demon after its video debut. The song, loaded with guitar riffs, is exactly what you think it might be — a woman with all the seductive prowess of a succubus. She might haunt your dreams, but the reason isn't pretty.

The vintage film clips used to make the video help set the vibe. It was edited together by Lindemann, keeping the band temporarily true to their DIY attitude. It's in their roots, much like playing "the German way" has become the band mantra. Everything is relaxed, confident, and purposeful.

Black Sun has a masterful touch of doom rock, with Lindemann singing about those things in the dark reaching out for you at the edge between worlds. It's a convincing witness song with some of the finest guitar riffs on the album. I heard the demo last year; the polish improved every aspect of it.

Forgotten Past carries sound that's more raw than much of the album, with Lindemann's vocals a bit too distorted and some of the change ups occurring with a jolt. Goddess Of Dawn smokes, a creepy sacrifice song of sorts. And the 8-plus minute Purple Sage is a brilliant masterwork, brining in some space rock.

It is also the only song on the album that invited a fourth member. Their friend Shazzula Nebula, who guests in many bands (White Hills and Farflung among them), joined in to play the Theremin. She does it perfectly, creating many of the eerie space rock effects. It's the centerpiece of the open and end.

The Theremin truly sets the tone for this long play jam session. It also hints at something that doesn't always come across overtly in the album but is very much a part of Lindemann's passion for music. Atmosphere is just as important to him as riffs, lyrics, rhythm, or any other part of a song.

Overall, this is a must-have album for anyone who enjoys some vinyl-ready heavy rock. It's also a good reminder that music some people consider part of the past can be refreshed easily enough. There is plenty more to be mined from any genre with the right progressive approach.

Kadavar's Self-Titled Debut Shatters 8.9 On The Liquid Hip Richter. 

Add Kadavar to your watch list. What's especially great about the band, even as a three piece, is that it doesn't feel like Lindemann is strained when he balances vocals and guitar. And to Mammut's credit, part of the reason is pushing the boundaries of the bass.

The self-titled album Kadavar is available on iTunes. You an also find the album on Amazon. If you can splurge for vinyl, do it. There's an additional layer of warmth that makes Kadavar even better.
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