Rough Times (Nuclear Blast)
Sonics can be a powerful thing. The thundering sound of this triage when mixed with a slow burn can turn monumental. Add power chords that take every bit of real estate of your fingers to pull off, blend in dynamics that amplify an intensity, and add a heaping pile of turbulence. This is the creative level that comes out of Germany’s Kadavar.
Simon ‘Dragon’ Bouteloup’s bass on these songs stirs in a pot of bone-crunching stoner rock, it is his bass work that stands out. I have been on airline flights that feel like “Into the Wormhole.” I would love to hear a track that isolates his bass and just listen to the roar of that beast because it makes the song rumble. Even though it’s 2017, and they treat the production as so, Bouteloup, Christoph ‘Lupus’ Lindemann (guitar and vocals), and Christoph ‘Tiger’ Bartelt (drums) look and sound like they are hip deep in 1973.
If you stop and realize just how loud Rough Times is, try to imagine what these songs sound like live. Not even earplugs can save you from the electricity jostliong your insides around. They may look like members of the Mothers of Invention or *insert favorite long-haired ‘70s band here,* but they sound like total metal Gods. And that is their intent.
Kadavar: Christoph ‘Lupus’ Lindemann, Christoph ‘Tiger’Bartelt, and Simon ‘Dragon’ Bouteloup
Somewhere in a parallel dimension that pairs Black Sabbath on one side and The Misfits on the other, we feel the effects of their stoner rock as much as their horror antics. “Die Baby Die” may only take from The Misfits in essence, the joyride professes lyricism like Dave Vanian speeding by in a black herse. I started from being astonished by the ferocity of the bass to being mesmerized by the guitar lines. This song gives the guitar work the respect it deserves.
I cannot think of a song more apt to suck the foundation out of early ‘70s rock like “Words of Evil.” In your mind, you can almost overlay Sabbath’s “Paranoid” on top of this song and make sense of it.”Words of Evil” drifts in and out of that spectrum. It’s a motive for time travel and longing for a darker time in rock history that is apparent from their musicianship to aesthetics. There is believability to a song like this. It also allows the band the flexibility to wind down with an interlude like, “A L’Ombre du Temps,” that leads into their cover of “Helter Skelter.”
Kadavar has shown the positive elements of volume and with The Beatles song, they prove where it gets sloppy. They have a powerful intent to extrapolate the derangement of the song. Conceptually, it makes a statement. But the output is like ringing the song through a wet mop.
Their point is made and my ears still ring. Rough Times is not an album you can easily forget.