From crazy riffs to French films noir. In the space of 45 minutes 

Anyone who’s ever seen German three piece (although now the bass player is French, they are a proper multi-national) Kadavar live, knows what happens.

They march out on stage with a genuine and burning purpose. Plug in, and play for the next hour or so, with hair and beards flailing.

And yet, there is so much more to it than mere bludgeoning riffery.

If you haven’t seen them live, then help is at hand, because on “Rough Times” they have essentially encapsulated their ethos inside 45 glorious minutes.

The crushing, primal instincts are all over the intro to the title track, but give them a little longer and the vocals of Christoph ‘Lupus’ Lindemann have kicked in and it’s a psychedelic trip. That’s always been the point with Kadavar. They’ve always been more than they seemed at first glance.

Capable of thrilling, screeching guitars, they also possess a deftness of touch and a clarity of expression that makes “Into The Wormhole” entirely accessible from the off. In other hands, it would be some unlistenable jam,.

“Rough Times” is heavy – perhaps their heaviest work to date – “Skeleton Blues” has the huge bass to shake foundations, but it isn’t an exercise in noise for the sake of it.

“Die Baby, Die” has a playful garage rock side, as it rumbles in the shadows and the margins doing what it wants, “Vampires” is a little more blues influenced, but builds to a crescendo on the back of some real dynamics, and although there is nothing too long here, “Tribulation Nation” still so

like the sound of nightmares.

When they fancy it, though, Kadavar are just as capable of writing heads-down rockers as anyone. “Words Of Evil” comes in swinging on the back of a “Paranoid”-esque urgency, and you imagine no one involved in this will balk too much at a Sabbath comparison.

Towards the end of “…Times” it feels like they are experimenting. “The Lost Child” lurks rather menacingly, and “You’ve Found The Best Of Me” is a no-fooling southern rock ballad, complete with some Allman Brothers type harmony.

It is, though, the last song which convinces that Messrs Lupus, Tiger and Dragon are just about the most unafraid heavy rock band out there. “A L’Ombre Du Temps” is a spoken word piece, entirely in French, and it finishes a compelling and multi-faceted album in the way that only a band who was totally comfortable with their craft could.

In the build up to the record the band have spoken about the fact they are no longer obsessed about crowd size and units sold and think only in creative terms. It shows brilliantly here. Now they are free from the idea they have to do anything but please themselves, they are able to gloriously take the listener on a real trip. Not a band that ever wanted anything other than a career on their own terms, but it seems that everything they’ve done before has been a lead up to this.

Rating 8.5/10

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