It is 2015 and people are panicking over Windows 10 and the Kardashians and what Facebook cause they should get behind this week. Right, feel that anxiety rising in your chest? Feel the need to get away from it all? Take a trip in the time machine that is Berlin by Kadavar and join me in an astral plane ruled by Cosmic warriors dressed in kaftans fuelled by riff juice!
Kadavar, a three piece from Germany are unleashing their volcano of rawk and spewing molten riffs on the world for the third time this summer. Named for the city they call home “Berlin” is 12 tracks of wah wah driven retro cool (I mean proper cool not hipster cereal “cool”) guaranteed to gird your loins and make your hips quiver. I have been looking forward to this since the first time their last album “Abra Kadavar” finished assaulting my ears.
Whereas its predecessor saw the band adorning the cover looking like they stepped off a commune from ’72 Berlin sports a cracking, black and white shot of a woman wearing some truly magnificent shades which offer two images of their own via reflection. Less Kaftan and more Corman. Love it.
The music does not disappoint either. This album is full of groove and hook which I had expected. New bassist Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup has been allowed to unleash all over the 12 tracks and the resultant blend of psych rock sounds more vibrant than ever.
The two opening tracks “Lord of the Sky “and “Last Living Dinosaur” will make any lava lamp bubble bounce. This is a band that like to inject a little funk and boogie into their sound.
“Thousand Miles Away” starts with a little Zeppelinesque melody before fuzzing the fuck out and letting loose a stomper that wipes it’s dirty platform boots all over ya mum’s best rug. This band sound as though they are having a damn good time, which is surely what this rock and roll thing is all about no?
I have had many discussions regarding this new/old, retro psych thing that Kadavar, Uncle Acid, Orchid, The Admiral Sir CLoudesley Shovell are offering up in the 21st Century. Some may argue that this is the emperor’s new clothes but not I. When hoary old thrash and death metal acts are offering up the same recycled riffs and lyrics decade in and decade out it is refreshing when a young(ish) crop of bands take a classic sound and inject enthusiasm, talent and spunk into it and blast the MP3 addled masses with it. “Filthy Illusion” is a great example of this. A track that soars and bursts into my brain with a familiarity but still seeming so fresh and exciting. Christoph “Lupus” Lindeman likes to lay down the leads and let the rhythm section follow him which Dragon and Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt on drums do willingly. “See the World With Your Own Eyes” sounds like The Who at their most epic, full of swagger and grease. For a band to be channelling such a classic rock sound on their third album is a great achievement. “Stolen Dreams” and “The Old Man” keep the feeling going – there truly is no let up on this LP. Nothing papers the cracks cos there ain’t any.
Closer proper “Into the Night” puts some proto metal in the mix a la Blue Cheer with a chorus that reminds me a little of “Doomsday Machine” from Berlin’s predecessor.
As a bonus track Kadavar pay homage to fellow Teutonic artiste Nico with a cover of “Reich der trauma” (Realm of Dreams) . This gentle slice of Warholian art rock shows a different side to the trio.
Kadavar have shown with Berlin, that they are not a flash in the pan hipster tribute. These guys offer up enough groove and passion to keep any discerning rock fan, metal head, bell bottom wearing doomster happy for months. Something to get “psyched” about! As “Stolen Dreams” states – You can’t get out, you can’t get in. You will believe!
(8/10 Matt Mason)