Written by Guest Contributor Juan Hernandez
ALBUM: ROUGH TIMES
GENRE: CLASSIC ROCK/STONER ROCK WITH SOME SLUDGE/PSYCHEDELIC ROCK INFLUENCES
So, I will admit, out of many kinds of genres out there, this is one where I will proudly say I do not know shit about and I like having a reference point so my journey was a little slow. I like bands like Zeppelin, Queens Of The Stone Age and Trail Of Dead, Red Fang but fans might just see these bands on my list the same way anyone would look at someone that is wearing a band shirt out of fashion and not likeness because I do not know if any of these bands can be mentioned on the same side as Kadavar. I do not care about looking slightly stupid but I feel I am pretty good at letting myself not look that bad, and all this extra saturated explanation is all because this is Kadavars 4TH Album so maybe this album is a departure from the bands signature sound, maybe they are doing something new, maybe I am letting this get more complicated than it should be but I liked what Rough Times has to offer and I want to give it the justice it deserves.
All of my research, everything points to Black Sabbath being the G.O.A.T in the genre or so says, everyone, I asked. So, it leads me nowhere since I only know a little of Black Sabbath’s influence and I do not have the spare time to check their massive library. Then, I remembered Ghost. I was introduced to Ghost maybe just over a year ago and while I liked what I heard I felt their sound had the mainstream polish that just does not do it for me and did not warrant more interest than a handful of videos on YouTube, I still listen to them but I just do not find myself headbanging to it, which is how I gauge longevity. So, fast forward to present day. Kadavar was thrown my way and after doing some research I began to feel a little bad. I did not want to butcher my experience with Rough Times because it’s a good album. At its core, Rough Times is a heavy ride with some short lighter tones sprinkled in that bounces between the stoner/sludge rock to the hard rock sound that makes the album sound so gritty, raw, and unforgiving. The first 5 songs hold up the album’s trippy, stoned signature sound with “Rough Times,” “Into The Wormhole,” and “Tribulation Nation” which is my favorite half of the album, except for the song “Die Baby Die” which is by no means a bad song, it just does not fit in with the album. Rough Times then transitions from the atmospheric good trip into a dark, ominous, hard rock driven sound in “Words Of Evil,” “You Found The Best In Me” and “The Lost Child.” It’s the more sober and tempered side, a little aggravated but still cool and collective, so when I eventually got to the final two songs I was so a little caught off guard but went with it. Those final songs are interesting, “A L’Ombre Du Temps” Which roughly translates to” In The Shadow Of Temp” (blame Google translate for any error), is 4 minutes and 8 seconds of what seems like a reading of a script of some demonic calling because my paranoia was kicking in. Then “Helter Skelter” jumps in and kicks you into the opposite direction and adds up the value of each song. It captures the essence of the album’s fast, angry, bass-heavy guitar work and quick drum work but with some stoner rock harmony. At 1:35 is when it starts to fuse everything and just give you that sluggish teamwork that had me rocking my head and at 2:45 onward the album just takes a leap into the black hole with some simple but solid musicianship. Everyone just suddenly drives their sound into a huge mess and it just as suddenly stops. The way Rough Times ends is literally just how the album began, sudden, and to the point. It kind of feels like at first it was trying to explode in your ears with its feelings but towards the end, it just trimmed the message until it decided to just end it and leave you with nothing to hold on to.
I enjoyed the direction of the album. Its production is solid, guitar-wise, its wide ranges fill my headphones well without fringing, and drumming is on point. There is something great going on with Rough Times and while I may not be familiar with the genre or Kadavars previous albums I can say that this is not a bad way to get into it and WILL definitely be giving me something to look forward to while I search for similar bands in the genre.
Who is this for? Well if you like heavy instrumentation but dislike heavy metal, Prog rock, hardcore style. You like any of the bands I mentioned above while adding a trippy touch to it.
Standout songs: “Rough Times” “You Found The Best In Me” and “Helter Skelter”
You can listen and buy ROUGH TIMES here:
Released via Nuclear Blast Records