Drummer Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt explains, “The process of making this record was quite intense I kind of went through my inner hell. Working all day, you’re fine but at night all these things were torturing me. The new songs are crazy and absurd sometimes, but also serious and very personal. It’s the ambiguity that holds Rough Times together. Every song evolved from a certain strong feeling.”
Kadavar consists of band members Christoph “Lupus” Lindemann (guitar/lead vocals), Bartelt (drums), and Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup (bass guitar).
With a sound that familiarises itself with psychedelic rock from the seventies, the opening title track ‘Rough Times’ sets the tone for what is about to follow throughout the album. The instrumentals truly carry Kadavar’s sound, especially the guitar work of Lindemann, who packs some riffs that will send you on a trip that your auditory senses are going to absolutely love. His vocals blend through the chords smoothly, perfectly complimenting the overall sound of the band. They’ve started the album off strongly with this showing.
‘Into The Wormhole’ is aptly named, as the track sends you on a vast downward spiral into obscurity, and submerges you entirely beneath the band’s sound. The bass-heavy track packs somewhat of a ‘grungy’, underground punch that will smack you in the jaw and leave you mesmerised from start to finish. The overall sound might not win everyone over, don’t get me wrong, but the instrumental work within this track is brilliant, and Lindemann’s vocals needs to be applauded.
‘Skeleton Blues’ returns to a more upbeat direction of tempo, showcasing more prominent riffs like we saw in ‘Rough Times’. The vocals of Lindemann hold somewhat of a possessive power, which pull you deeper within Kadavar’s sound, holding you eagerly until the very end. However, it’s his hypnotising guitar work that is the hero of track, transcending it to a completely different level.
‘Die Baby Die’ is the debut single from ‘Rough Times‘, which has quickly brought some acclaim to the upcoming album, amongst their supporter base. With a chorus line that’ll have you singing along, combined with similarly catchy riffage, it’s not hard to see why Kadavar elected to have this as the first single track. It’s brilliant from the opening second, right to the last. Prepare yourselves, because this song just might make you fall in love with Kadavar!
‘Vampires’ slows the tempo direction of the album right down, from the instrumentals to Lindemann’s vocals. It’s a slow build towards the bridge-lines and chorus, which picks up in both momentum and volume, before returning to the more sombre tones. ‘Easy listening’ doesn’t even begin to cover it – close your eyes, and allow Kadavar to wash over you completely.
The psychedelic rock tones of Kadavar come through clearly in the opening of ‘Tribulation Nation’, through use of sound effects to create another-worldly ambiance. The instrumental work within the track is solid, with Lindemann’s guitar work at the forefront, yet again, with strong support from Bouteloup on bass, and Bartelt’s drum work (which has been great throughout!). There isn’t much going on ‘lyrically’, but that doesn’t hinder the track whatsoever, if anything the simplicity makes it all the more enjoyable.
The opening riff of ‘Words of Evil’ will hook you right through to the bone. Absolutely brilliant! Lindemann’s guitar work has been somewhat masterful throughout the album, combined with his smooth vocals that hit that sweet spot, he’s the complete package. The bass work of Bouteloup, and drum work of Bartelt, come through with solid performances also, rounding out this track as what I believe to be one of their stronger performances of the album.
The guitar work of ‘The Lost Child’ is stripped right back (in comparison to the tracks before it), allowing the bass line and drum fills to stand at the forefront, as well as allowing Lindeman to demonstrate his true vocal abilities. The absence of over the top riffage isn’t missed in the slightest, showing the true depth of Kadavar’s abilities, with the more sombre sounding tones providing somewhat of a calm amongst the storm that we’ve undergone thus far. Brilliant.
‘You Found The Best in Me’ opens to a similarly slowed down tempo, combining the trio’s instrumental talents perfectly. You don’t always have to have over the top, gut-busting drum fills and face-melting solos to create musical brilliance, and Kadavar have proven that throughout ‘Rough Times’. This being of personal opinion, Kadavar have created some of their strongest showings through their more stripped back approaches. Lindemann’s vocals, again, showcasing both range and diversity. They’re winding the album up for a huge finish!
‘A L’Ombre Du Temps’, which translates to ‘In the Shadow of Time’, is a combination of psychedelic ambiance and French spoken word. It catches you off guard completely, because of how extraordinary it is; who’d have thought this is the way they’d round out the album? Surprisingly, I loved it. It’s calm, and grounding, returning you from the state of euphoria that Kadavar have created throughout the album, and returning you back to the real world. Proving, yet again, that a track doesn’t need to be pack with over-the-top antics to pack a punch.
‘Rough Times’ is a solid delivery of psychedelic rock, blended with Kadavar’s own flair. With tracks demonstrating huge riffs, head-banging drum fills, soothing bass lines, and smooth vocals, combined with more sombre tones, Kadavar have ticked all boxes in their execution of producing this album.