2012 Debut of the Year: Kadavar, Kadavar

There was a point over this past summer at which it seemed like every single day brought another exclamation of Kadavar‘s righteousness. A relatively recent trio from Berlin, their self-titled debut full-length epitomized vinyl-revival ethics front to back, brought to public conscious by Tee Pee Records in the US and This Charming Man in Europe. In a straightforward 34 minutes, the six-track outing made almost every moment a highlight — with vehement allegiance to vintage tones (and looks) and well-crafted heavy grooves, Kadavar honed probably the best retro stylization to come since Witchcraft made their opening statement eight years ago.

Engaging, burning-tube guitar tones and semi-blown out vocals that in a different context wouldn’t be so different from what Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats brought to their landmark Blood Lust last year made a cut like side B opener “Goddess of Dawn” as vital musically as it was accessible for the niche audience to whom it was speaking. Songs throughout Kadavar‘s Kadavar were catchy and rife with hooks, and the response they got was suitably massive, but from the launch of “All Our Thoughts” (streaming here) to the bizarre psychedelia of eight-minute finale “Purple Sage,” the album earned the hyperbole to which it was treated and made a strong entry for Kadavar into the crowded European retro market.

And for a debut to be so cohesive stylistically and have such a clear sense of purpose only makes it more impressive. Kadavar would have thrilled as a band’s third album, never mind their first, but for guitarist/vocalist Wolf Lindemann, bassist Mammut and drummer Tiger, the LP and the huge success of their aesthetic and songcraft seemed as natural as the recording itself. Without a doubt, there was huge potential to be heard throughout songs like “Black Sun,” the swaying “Forgotten Past” or the bass-driven penultimate “Creature of the Demon,” but already Kadavar have hit the mark their first time out, and Kadavar is not only 2012′s most essential debut release, but also one of the best albums of the year.

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