Saturday 22 August 2015

KADAVAR - Berlin (Album Review)

Release date: August 21st 2015. Label: Nuclear Blast Records. Formats: DD/CD/Vinyl

Berlin: Tracklisting

Lord Of The Sky 4:28
Last Living Dinosaur 4:05
Thousand Miles Away From Home 4:53
Filthy Illusion 3:45
Pale Blue Eyes 3:28
Stolen Dreams 3:57
The Old Man 4:05
Spanish Wildrose 4:30
See The World With Your Own Eyes 4:07
Circles In My Mind 3:47
Into The Night 4:30

Band Members:

Lupus Lindemann - Gesang & Gitarre
Simon „Dragon” Bouteloup - Bass
Tiger - Drums


Kadavar is a band that needs no further introduction. Over the cause of the last 3 years they have released two highly praised and critically acclaimed studio albums and a live album plus a split with Aqua Nebula Oscillator from where their current bassist originates.

Kadavar got renowned from their unique take on that über cool late 60s/early 70s style psych retro rock, with soaring riffs, thick as lave bass-lines and intense Ginger-Baker like drumming. Another thing that had helped catapult the band into famousness is their over-the-top live performances, and one could argue that you have not truly listened to Kadavar, if you haven’t experienced them live. Luckily I have done that once, and I'm looking to do so again this autumn. It is this true ‘vintage’ sound, great musicianship coupled with strong live performances with a now-a-days seldom seen thing a jamming on stage that justifies labelling as the Cream of our time: A trio super-group in a confined space limited by genre labelling and archetypes.

From the get go ‘Lord Of The Sky’ opens the ballet with a bang bursting with high energetic riffing, driving drums, thumbing bass-lines and Lupus Lindemann’s signature vocals. This is Kadavar like we know ‘em, and love ‘em, so faith in genuine rock is restored. But something has changed, this is not just another retro-rock album by the Germans, this is a different kind of monster.

So what does a band that, taken its fairly young age in consideration, has done and seen almost everything and have made two albums that any self-proclaimed rocker would sell his own mother to have written and played? Well, either you rehash old material and rewrite all the killer riffs from earlier outings, OR you could just try to expand your sound and the musical landscape covered…

And that is exactly what Kadavar has done on Berlin. Gone are the true ‘vintage’ sound in favour of a slightly more polished and clean sound, still without losing vitality, playfulness or that sense of “hey we just recorded it all live in the studio” kind of vibe. Berlin gives way to a more mature and streamlined string of songs, that although more varied in their individual expression together presents a well-structured album.

For Berlin Kadavar brought in mixer Pele Gunnerfeld and that may explain the change in sound, but I for one don’t mind a change in wind direction, because Berlin is damn well near perfection, and this genre needs a gush of fresh air from time to time.

An example of the new tricks at play here is clear from ‘See The World With Your Own Eyes’ that has a cool hint at some Rolling Stones when they were rocking out the most and with a distinct Charlie Watts kind of drumming. Well played. 

Despite a more varied musical array there is still plenty for the puritans to enjoy, and tracks ‘like Last Living Dinosaur’, ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ and ‘Into The Night’ offer in abundance the trademark Kadavar vibe and groove. 

So to sum it up, Kadavar more than succeed in branching out and broadening their sound and musical aesthetics to cover more than “just” a narrow strip of proto/retro hard rocking 70s worshipping psych rock and with Berlin they have delivered not just the highlight of this year so far, but maybe the best musical testament to rock in general for years to come.

Words by Niels Fuzz Bartholdy