Abra Kadavar

Written by: AP on 01/07/2013 21:57:25

Despite an immense amount of touring across the European continent last year in support of their self-titled debut LP; Berlin, Germany based heritage rock trio Kadavar somehow managed to crunch in two weeks for writing and recording a successor to that album - one which saw an official release date in April, just one year in its predecessor's wake. That effort is entitled "Abra Kadavar" and it attempts to capture the live energy that has sent Kadavar on a meteoric course for cult stardom by virtue of songs recorded almost exclusively in one room as a trio, with the amplification knobbed to the max as is customary in their concerts.

Now, discarding the possibility that "Kadavar" was recorded under similar circumstances, the decision to ramp up the volume here pays off, because the pressing lack of low-end punch that I felt was the only real hindrance to a truly flattering grade, is no longer an issue. Naturally, the production remains analogue (or at least mimics it) giving "Abra Kadavar" a characteristic raw tone and rustic feel that begs for a spin on a vinyl deck. But above all, is it the improved song-writing that lifts this sophomore effort above "Kadavar"; it is a manifest impression formed by the opening duo "Come Back Life" and "Doomsday Machine”, both of which are intrinsically more memorable than even the catchiest picks off the self-titled LP. Kadavar achieve this with the simplest of means, with well-defined hooks - both vocal and instrumental - and a clear focus in terms of structure, so that the songs aren't permitted to meander unnecessarily. Though the psychedelic aspect is still a heavy presence, Kadavar have moved significantly in the direction of a more straightforward take on classic rock in a way that sees them closer to such acts as Graveyard and Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats than, say, Black Sabbath or Pentagram (both of whom nonetheless remain influential in shaping Kadavar's sound). Listen to the simple, yet devilishly catchy interplay between bass and guitar in "Come Back Life", for instance; or the massive groove that introduces Christoph 'Lupus' Lindemann's Ozzy inspired crooning in "Doomsday Machine - the rewards are instant.

Even so, "Abra Kadavar" is no mainstream rock record, whose singles will be spun to withering on the airwaves; the depth and texture of each song is much too immense for casual listening. Songs like "Black Snake", a trudging, sizzling, whiskey drenched odyssey into the American South; the Sabbath worshipping doom rock piece "Liquid Dream"; the contemplative space-gazing of "Rhythm for Endless Minds"; or the raucous instrumental mushroom-fest "Abra Kadabra" are much too retrospective and... well, unpolished in their sound to appeal to the masses. Fans of the Sabbath school of rock, however, will doubtless derive plenty of pleasure from them - a fact which, given the growing popularity of the genre, is certain to catapult Kadavar into much wider recognition than at present. Certainly "Abra Kadavar" is a leap upwards from the solid, if somewhat inconsistent debut album in every imaginable facet, and a must-own in any heritage rock connoisseur's library. And it may just be the best album in the genre this year, too.

Download: Come Back Life, Doomsday Machine, Black Snake, Liquid Dream, Rhythm for Endless Minds
For the fans of: Black Sabbath, Graveyard, Pentagram, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats
Listen: Facebook

Release date 12.04.2013
Nuclear Blast Records

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