Above Band Photo by Maren Michaelis
Coming off the heels of the stellar Abra Kadavar album, German power psych rock trio Kadavar have returned with Berlin. I was such a huge fan of Abra Kadavar and I was curious to see if Kadavar would even come close to the magic that they created on that album. Well, with Berlin, they didn’t come close to that magic. Kadavar created a whole other kind of magic with Berlin. As a matter of fact, Berlin is nothing short of lightning in a bottle.
With Abra Kadavar, Kadavar wrote that album in 10 days. The band stated that this time around they weren’t going to do that. Kadavar wanted to take their time and focus on the songwriting this time around and the result was more focused, mature, and thought out songwriting. Even the performances on this album have Kadavar sounding tighter than ever yet still maintaining that fluid looseness that fans of this band have come to love. I also felt that them taking the time to truly craft Berlin resulted in a collection of songs that pulled from a much wider range of influences than the band’s previous two releases.
“Lord of the Sky” opens things up sounding more like a lost Who classic than anything. The groove in this song is so infectious that if you’re not moving the minute it kicks in you need some serious therapy or something. “The Last Living Dinosaur” had almost a kind of Alice in Chains meets Led Zeppelin influence which right away grabbed me and pulled me even deeper into their world. “Thousand Miles Away” was my personal favorite as it opened with a sort of melancholy guitar piece only to shape shift into a massive psych rock juggernaut. “Circles In My Mind” has this kind of old school Aerosmith groove to it while “Into the Night” is a powerhouse epic that is like a massive rock n’ roll tornado just ripping up everything in its path. The real surprise here for me was the bonus track, “Reich Der Träume” which was a sonic, ethereal, psychedelic electronic masterpiece that closed the album like a long, drawn out sigh after an intense, sonic, psych rock ride.
After four listens (I’m currently on listen #5) I can honestly say that Berlin is not just Kadavar’s best album to date but it is a solid psych rock masterpiece in its own right. Berlin is 13 songs of pure, unadulterated, psychedelic, guitar driven face rock that is chock full of riffs that would make Jack Bruce and Cream jealous. This is the kind of album that I can only hope that many, many years from now some kid will unearth only to be shown that despite what the elders say about the 2000’s that rock n’ roll was still very much alive and kicking.