Kadavar – Berlin (Nuclear Blast)Sunday, 30th August 2015
Now that a lot of these retro/throwback rockers are on their third and fourth albums, it’ll be interesting to see how they fare now that cool/hip/happening sheen has partly worn off. Rewind to 2011 and 2012, and nothing was more hip than bands like Blues Pills, Graveyard, Rival Sons, Witchcraft, and the band in which this review is based on, Germany’s Kadavar. So perhaps in an effort to remain out front in the hip-race, they named their third album after a pretty hip city, which would be Berlin. (We’ll try to refrain from using the word “hip” from this point forward.)
Whereas the above-mentioned bands play it a bit more straight, Kadavar’s demonstrated psychedelic edge is the main differentiator here. Granted, it’s not a huge separation – a lot of the ideas Kadavar trots out are interchangeable with their peers, but point being, the rhythmic swirl to Lupus Lindermann’s riffs. The opening riff-raff-rock of “Lord of the Sky” is exactly as you’d expect it to be – vibrant, packed with a note-bending boogie riff, and Lindermann’s sing/yell. The Sabbath trotting “Living Last Dinosaur” has some immediate presence to it, particularly the effects placed on Lindermann’s vocals, while the garage rock 70’s clank of “Filthy Illusion” and Rolling Stones-inspired “See the World With Our Own Eyes” are veritable hip-shaking jams, more in line with classic FM radio rock than the metal scene they are so curiously tied to.
While it’s still very much a matter of how far a band like Kadavar can go by playing backward-looking music, the snap of Berlin is a prime indicator of the songwriting capabilities on hand. The band has yet to have a breakthrough on these shores, but in Europe, they’re totally in with the in-crowd. Far worse alternatives than Kadavar, if you think about it.