All That Festers, Is Not Mould

Welcome to 1971 folks!

Kadavar Abra Kadavar 01Kadavar Abra Kadavar 03

Look at the dudes on the cover.  With their far-out lady fabrics and their strung-out 1000 yard stares Kadavar look like the elders of a particularly disreputable pan-European love cult, sizing up potential recruits.  Flip the gatefold open and we’re presented with a garlanded, feathered skull fetish, it’s a great photograph in the style of a 18th century still life.  Then, excuse me this is where my palms get a little sweaty, check out the buttery yellow vinyl.  Add in the fact that the LP, Abra Kadavar, has one of the best titles I’d heard in a while and you can see why I leaped on it.

Okay, needle in the groove … that’s when my problems start.  Take a look at this note on the sleeve:

Kadavar Abra Kadavar 05

I like the cojones, this is a band who can clearly really cut it live and don’t mind you peering through to the bare bones within.  However in practice on record, what this means for this three-piece is that the sound is often far too thin and wavery, particularly the vocals – making something that really sounds like it could, with the proper production, move mountains, sound like something straining to move its bowels at times.

Kadavar Abra Kadavar 04

Kadavar’s sound is very much a German amalgam of all those hoary old progressive doom stoners like Pentagram, Black Sabbath and Leafhound*.  There’s nothing at all wrong with that, it’s just that on Abra Kadavar they don’t bring enough of their own personality to the show.  I own plenty of LPs that I enjoy that wouldn’t score very highly on the Originalideaometer**, but if that is going to be the case you need to bring something and Kadavar, for all their great 60s and 70’s stylings, don’t on this album.

Kadavar Abra Kadavar 06Kadavar Abra Kadavar 02 (2)

The best track on Abra Kadavar is ‘Doomsday Machine’, where the band speed it up and heavy it out more so than any other song here.  It’s good, very good in fact:

I do like the way that the rhythm section have that Sabbath lightness of foot about them, rather than just an all-out pummeling that so many metallers adopted.  What makes Abra Kadavar a frustrating album for me is that there are a few tracks here that sound like they could be excellent, if better produced like ‘Black Snake’ and ‘Come Back Life’, as Spotify is messing me around at the moment*^ have a look at the quite groovy video to the latter – they get bonus points for having a ‘God Bless Johnny Cash’ bumper sticker:

I had hoped that one day I would plonk Abra Kadavar on the turntable and I’d suddenly just get it, but I haven’t and I don’t think I will now.  Maybe it’s a limitation of imagination and/or subtlety on my part but this really could have done with being heavied up.  It really is a shame but I need to think, groovy object or not, how much I really want to keep hold of this one.  Is one track on a lovely looking LP enough to make it a keeper?^ Hmm.

Kadavar Abra Kadavar 07 (2)

644 Down

PS: The usual 1537 caveat applies – this is a far better LP than any I’ve ever made.  They did it, I haven’t yet; they win.

*if you don’t know ‘Freelance Fiend’ from their Growers Of Mushroom LP then I don’t want to be your friend anymore!

**that’s a real thing, I have one in my garage.

*^have they joined forces with Google? who are still strangling my site, by the way.

^Damn, where’s Aaron when you need him?

30 thoughts on “All That Festers, Is Not Mould

  1. This is precisely why I never bit on this one. I’m finding the stoner/doom genre is far more full of style over sustenance. Kadavar look great, but it sounds like that’s where it stops. The recorded live with one mic thing is cool, but a lot of the times it doesn’t produce a great listening experience. Carlton Melton are one of the few that do it right. Not sure if it’s where they record, the mic, or what but their albums come out somewhat two dimensional but like this massive, psychic noise.

    Better luck next time, Kadavar. Now what’s all this talk of the original Solaris S/T and Steve Reich?? Dammit men, I’m trying to save money for music equipment. Now this?

  2. Urgh. That’s disappointing. I’ve been interested in this one for a while, but just hadn’t gotten around to buying it. Don’t reckon I’ll bother now, though.

    Bloody hippies.

  3. The Solaris soundtrack is really good, though if you look directly at it you only see your own reflection. There is also a bit of Bach organ in there that somewhat disturbs the hazy off-planet mood.

    Have Tony Conrad and Faust ‘Outside the Dream Syndicate’. Full on. Really, full on.

    The Leafhound album is great. Have a CD until an OG vinyl falls from the sky…

    Fun comments section. Nice one.

    1. I love the Cliff Martinez soundtrack to the newer film, that’s a good listen too. You must like Lem? You look the type.

      I’d love to inherit 4 pristine copies of the Leafhound, sadly I suspect I never will. It is a great listen, an Atomic Rooster connection too, I think.

  4. I have this album and can’t remember exactly how I came to it. I know I have listened to it a few times but it just hasn’t stuck. I’ve put it on now while typing and it might as well be the first listen; no pre-worn ruts at all from past spins apparently. I can definitely hear the thinness you cite and the vocals sound like they might just be bleed over from a party next door. All that said, this is an album and band and ethos I want to sign on to, so I’m not willing to give up yet. I have no idea what is going to change to make that happen however … Nice post!

  5. Wow, you’ve got some collection (addiction). I would have left this one in the ten pence to clear section of my local charity shop,mainly because the guy on the left, rocking the neck scarf, looks almost identical to someone that arrested me. (apart from the hair, and lack of cop uniform). He’d have given me a bad trip staring out of that cover like that. And if you want to know – he arrested me for stealing a bottle Bing. (a fruity pop local to Kent only, me thinks?) It wasn’t the fact that he didn’t let me off, with a ticking-off, that still haunts me, oh no. It was that I was totally innocent. I was only in the Silver Spring warehouse trying to steal a fork-lift.
    I got a caution… ‘don’t ever drink that fizzy shit. Ever. It’s made with the piss of beelzebub’. You and your Google conspiracy! I want to know how they got away with selling that to kids? Jimmy Saville? (He has nothing to do with it, but I’m just on a week of adding the name ‘Jimmy Saville’ to every comment I leave on blogs. So far, that’s one. WHY? Jimmy Saville. I think he may be behind ALL of the conspiracies out there. Kind of like a Time Lord of Filth.)
    Sorry. I haven’t taken someone else’s meds yet.

    1. You were nabbed by the glam rock cops?! Worth a quick Bing for the experience.

      Weirdly enough I was just reading about Jimmy’s wrestling career in a brilliant book by Simon Garfield called (Ta-da!) ‘The Wrestling ‘. He was shit.

  6. That album has been kicking around for a couple years now, I see it from time to time and it looks so cool, I heard it was good, I’ve heard most of it myself since and I feel like it’s one of those records that I’d enjoy a few times and then it would probably sit on my shelf looking cool. Maybe the next one will be a bit more produced.

    1. Hiya. If I were a single man I’d leave it casually lying around, to impress chicks that were way too cool to ever be anywhere near me!

      On another note I’ve just bought a copy of the s/t to the original Solaris film – I think that’s be way up your alley.

      1. I have an earlier one called ‘In the grey room’. I’m very interested in that.

        The Steve Reich one too … Curse you!

      2. You know it! I only have one Tony Conrad release too, a 7 incher, I’d have to look for it. I also have a good friend who took his media course years ago at University of Buffalo, where he still teaches.

      3. So, I’m sitting alone in Cairo on a Saturday evening and for no clear reason, I (finally) watch the ’72 Russian film Solaris via a YouTube stream, having had mind blown by the book back when I was in Karachi. Immediately (immediately!) afterwards, I check the blogs, find new content from 1537 (yay!), and am flustered to find mention of said film in the comments.

        Has the Solaris ocean tapped my consciousness somehow to conjure this?? (Is the S/T really good? The film really created an mental atmosphere/mood and I’m sure the music was part of that, but it must have really meshed with the visuals because I don’t remember “hearing” the music as an independent expereince.)

      4. Haha, no. I love mad coincidences like that. Following a bit of inept VHS programming I’ve only ever watched an hour of the original film, not very big on visuals was my memory. I only ordered it on a whim because I LOVE the Cliff Martinez from the 2002 (?) version and I’m feeling a bit electronic.

        I love Lem though, Solaris was a book that really made me sit up and take notice, I’d never read anything like it before. My face is The Futurological Congress, ever read that one? If not, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

        Cairo to Russia to Wales to orbit ….

      5. I have not read additional Lem, but want to. Looked up Futurological and Amazon said it was number three of a series; do I need to build to it or can I jump right in there?

Leave a Reply