Kadavar - Rough Times (Nuclear Blast)

Rough Times address the dark uncertainty that lingers in our modern times with a raw heaviness that drags the listener from catharsis to peace.
Release Date: 
29 Sep 2017 (All day)

Rough Times opens in a whirl of strangeness that makes you pause, and hints that you’re about to be dragged by the hair deep into the raw depths of Kadavar’s cathartic vent at the dark uncertainty of our modern times. Kadavar have brought all the heavy rocking psychedelic-influenced grooves you know and love, but have loaded Rough Times up with a new raw energy that brings a dark-edged brightness to their sound.

That opening title song, Rough Times, is full of energy, full of deep fuzz slapping bass lines but with a slightly uncomfortable synth and tempo changes to keep you off balance. It warns you from the start that this album is going to be rough, it’s going to be raw, and it’s going to be unforgivingly groovy. Into to Wormhole starts heavy and stays heavy, with a deeply vibrating slapped bass creating a slow walking bass that drags the song forward to prevent the slower doomy tempo from dragging. A simple melodic solo gives the perfect edge to this darkly psychedelic anthem.

Skeleton Blues steps up with higher energy, without racing too quickly away from the steady slow tempo of Into the Wormhole. Smooth 70s-style rock style riffs allow the guitar to shine through. The chorus brings effective use of the wah-wah on the intro and then short delays on the vocals which enhance the flow of the melodies into a tune of rebellion recorded with passion. The first single off this album, Die Baby Die speeds things up again with rock’n’roll infused with the signature Kadavar blend of psychedelic sound, and just a hint of far eastern influence around the solo.

However, a real standout on this album is Vampires. The verses are pared down into a slow climb with drums and bass before the song floods forward throughout the chorus before dumping you unceremoniously back at the bottom to start the slow climb up again.  One of the best solos of the album comes in the last third to knock you off your feet and sweep you back into that flood of a chorus.

The sweeping synth intro to Tribulation Nation gives no hint of what you’re in for as it lures you forward with steadily building guitar riffs. The bass drum sits forward in the mix to drive the riffs into the catchy chorus that just begs to be sung along with by a bouncing crowd. I can see this one quickly becoming a steady fan favourite for live concerts. Words of Evil has an upbeat tempo, with a Black Sabbath influence breaking through on the guitar riffs. Rock drums hand in hand with flying metal riffs, Kadavar drags the classic 70s metal sound kicking and screaming into the contemporary times.

It’s here that the album starts to crawl steadily out and away from the depths of the rough rawness you were dragged into. The Lost Child steps in lightly with a high floating synth, before a crash and pause. An unsettling organ riff throughout the song carries the same darkness as the rest of the album, but with a haunted edge that hints at the darkest twisted edges of psychedelia. At times as the song drifts towards the end, it hints of the strange darkness The Eagles brought in Hotel California. Finally resplendent with hope, You Found the Best in Me is Kadavar's new lighters raised classic 70s rock ballad, the first dance at the wedding of your cool friends, and the perfect antidote to the heaviness of the majority of Rough Times. 

A L’Ombre Du Temps (In the Shadow of Time) is the outro-song you finally drift off to sleep with at the end of the album when you try to go to sleep with an album playing. It’s not boring; it’s meditative and peaceful. Given the catharsis of the start of Rough Times, this is where you finally put down the last of that lingering rage at modern times and walk away with some hope.