Signed to Nuclear Blast Records in 2013 on the back of a recommendation by Orchid‘s Theo Mindell, Germany’s three-piece Kadavar – a self-confessed ‘party band’ – put their flag down and called Berlin their home, and consequently the city is the inspiration behind their third album. Recorded in a four-month spell in a Berlin analogue studio, it successfully transfers a live band sound onto a studio album.
Their mixture of stoner/psychedelic/acid rock and proto-punk is a full-on blast through 11 tracks until the bonus track, a cover of Nico‘s ‘Reich der Traume’ (Realm of dream) provides respite from the relentless rocking fury. The top quality production has the fuzzy distorted guitars explode outwards with high-octane energy. There’s a glorious start to the album, with opener ‘Lord of the Sky’ and its riff updating The Stooges ‘T.V. Eye’, complete with similar tempo. They groove and swagger with the head-nodding inducer ‘Last Living Dinosaur’, while the acid rock-heavy ‘Thousand Miles From Home’ grooves along in fine, dreamy and trippy fashion.
The tempo never drops with the fuzzed-up guitar and garage punk of ‘Stolen Dreams’, the hard rock drive of ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ with its singalong theme of being mesmerised by another’s beauty, while the catchy 1970’s hard rock of car-driving cruiser ‘See the World With Your Own Eyes’ provides an enjoyable addition to an upbeat, freedom themed, likeable and at times thrilling album.
However, while I like the sound, spirit and drive of the album the best songs are front-loaded so it leaves a feeling that filler tracks are used to tack on at the end. And, purely a case of personal taste, the vocals lack a variety of tone so the higher pitched wail can be wearying by the end. While praise should be issued for the plentiful big riffs on offer throughout – and believe me some are huge – they occasionally recall where-have-I-heard-that-before moments. Not wanting to portray an image of myself standing arms crossed with a serious expression while riff spotting, the upbeat optimistic rocking spirit of the album is seductive and therefore allows forgiveness to the odd inadvertent riff recall.
On the whole, Kadavar have produced an energetic, enthusiastic and great sounding album with some memorable highlights, which should make the live experience worth catching.