Only two years after 2017’s “Rough Times”, the Berlin-based trio KADAVAR is releasing yet a new studio album after renewing their contract with Nuclear Blast Records. This is their fifth studio record in only eight years (plus two live albums), which makes them an exception in times where bands release albums a lot more seldom. For me, it’s hard to be objective when it comes to KADAVAR, since they have become one of my favorite new bands in the latest years. But I’ll try my best. Being a big fan of 60s and 70s rock, I find their “retro” imagery fascinating, which becomes clear from the moment you take a glimpse at the artwork of “For the Dead Travel Fast”.
The album opens with the short and eerie track “The End”, consisting of only guitar, keyboards and Lupus’ vocals, slowly building up the atmosphere and working as a kind of introduction for the first actual song, “The Devil’s Master”. Both tracks were released as a Spaghetti Western-inspired videoclip and they merge under the same style, with plenty of psychedelic vibes, so it’s hard to conceive them as separate songs. Together, they bring up all the best elements of the KADAVAR sound: Lupus’ characteristic voice and guitar tone, Dragon’s exquisite distorted bass and Tiger’s powerful drumming. The pace is slow, the rhythm section is heavy as fudge, and the guitar work is great as usual.
Next in line is “Evil Forces”, which became one of my favorite tracks on the record from the moment I heard its first guitar riff, catchy as hell. Lupus experiments with a high-pitched voice, which sounds a bit funny but works within the context of the song. It’s a fast-paced song that reminds of seventies proto-metal, with tons of attitude and BLACK SABBATH vibes. “Children of the Night” was the second single, which also featured an astonishing videoclip (check it out below). The song works as a homage to classic horror movies and I love the inclusion of old-fashioned synthesizers, which adds a creepy feeling to it. The contrast between the dark and gloomy sections and the more melodic verses are highly effective.
“Dancing with the Dead” is kind of an odd song in my opinion, since it has all the elements to become a great track but there’s something about the mix that bothers me, maybe I miss more background noises to match the general atmosphere of the record. On the other hand, “Poison” is a total headbanger that catches you from the beginning, it’s full of energy and infectious, toxic melodies. The instrumental section at the end features great guitar and bass work. The occult ceremony continues with “Demons In My Mind”, diving into space rock territory with powerful riffs and heavy distortion. KADAVAR knows how to avoid repeating themselves, incorporating a lot of different influences and layers to their sound.
With “Saturnales”, they go into a more experimental area, featuring a very dark atmosphere ruled by strings and keyboards, with soothing vocals (is it Dragon’s voice?). You might have expected this to be the epilogue of the album, but we still have one more song before this vampiresque tale comes to an end. “Long Forgotten Song” is a dense and complex track hitting almost eight minutes, displaying some of the heaviest moments on the album, with a stoner rock stamp and a kickass drum solo à la John Bonham by Tiger. Those who purchase the limited digipack version will have the chance to check out the live performance of KADAVAR and guests (THE COSMIC RIDERS OF THE BLACK SUN) on Blu-Ray.
“For the Dead Travel Fast” is a fine collection of classic horror-inspired rock tracks, embellished by the distinctive retro elements and sonic layers of KADAVAR. Although they take a lot of influences from older rock acts, their sound still feels fresh and stimulating. With their fifth album, the Germans confirm how their songwriting skills have developed through the years, showing maturity and confidence in the crafting and execution of the songs. KADAVAR is a band that never disappoints, especially in the live setting. I hope to get the chance to see them on tour this time, since they haven’t visited Finland in a while. I might have to travel far and fast with the dead in order to catch them on the road.
Article by David Araneda
KADAVAR – FOR THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST VIDEOS
- The End
- The Devil’s Master
- Evil Forces
- Children Of The Night
- Dancing With The Dead
- Demons In My Mind
- Long Forgotten Song
|Christoph ‘Lupus’ Lindemann – vocals & guitars|
Christoph ‘Tiger’ Bartelt – drums
Simon ‘Dragon’ Bouteloup – bass