AMATEUR CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY HOUR: Kadavar @ Horseshoe Tavern, April 21, 2014

Not only was this show on a Monday, but it was the day after 4/20.  Perhaps that explains why the crowd was rather sparse and unenthused.  Probably didn’t help that Kadavar had no touring support to warm us up–while Mothership and The Shrine were opening other dates of the tour, this evening’s openers, Sons of Huns, got denied at the border the day before.  Note for next time: When touring Canada, better bring a band that can get into Canada.

That said, all the bleak and dreary bullshit melted away not long after these killer Krauts took the stage.  They brushed off just about their entire discography–all two albums’ worth!–in a set spanning some 75 minutes, and still left us wanting more.  These guys have definitely hit headliner status…just maybe they could play a smaller venue next time?

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Ya gotta love Kadavar can-basher Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt. Not only has he got the fluid, octopus-armed form of Keith Moon, but he pulls it off while headbanging furiously like a frenzied frost giant:

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And speaking of giants…

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Of course, Bartelt isn’t the only headbanger–or the only Christoph–in the band:

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GUITAR SOLO!!!!

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TOP 10 GERMAN STONER/DOOM BANDS: 1. Atlantean Kodex

Let’s face it, when it comes to German metal, doom isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.  You’re probably thinking power metal, perhaps 80′s thrash, or maybe even early trailblazers like Accept or the Scorpions.  But Deutschland actually has a pretty healthy underground doom scene, even if you discount all those false, erm, “gothic doom” bands.  With Kadavar, one of the leaders of the pack, currently invading North American shores for the second time, it’s time for me to count down some killer Kraut outfits that don’t wear tunics or guyliner…

10. Aleph Null

9. Beehoover

8. Wight

7. Whitebuzz

6. Black Space Riders

5. Spirit Descent

4. Obelyskkh

3. Samsara Blues Experiment

2. Kadavar

1. Atlantean Kodex

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Alas, tis almost fitting, and somewhat ironic, that the top band on this list displays such overt power-metal tendencies.  This Bavarian quintet boasts several Middle-Earth-inspired song titles and a singer who, if not classically trained, can certainly fool the masses otherwise.  That said, they clearly don’t wear tunics, as pictured above.  And that’s not to say they don’t have their share of doom cred–Atlantean Kodex once released a split with the Phil Swanson-fronted Vestal Claret and have graced the stage at the Hammer of Doom fest, to boot.

But more importantly, their music contains clear shades of slowed-down despondency, especially on their latest album, The White Goddess.  Let’s just say that if all power metal was this punishing, I’d be a master at Dungeons and Dragons by now.  Take tunes like “Twelve Stars and an Azure Gown,” “Enthroned in Clouds and Fire” (what did I tell ya about those song titles?) or, heck, just about every song on their latest album, and tell me, what could you call that?  You might say it’s super-slow power metal, but I prefer the term “power doom,” a label I’ve also bestowed upon the likes of Vestal Claret and Argus…and even Spirit Descent, to a lesser extent, who are also on this list.

And lemme tell ya, when it comes to power doom, it doesn’t get much better than this.  Imagine if Blind Guardian put out an album where every song sounded like “The Curse of Feanor.”  You just creamed your homemade chainmail, didn’t you? ;)

TOP 10 GERMAN STONER/DOOM BANDS: 2. Kadavar

Let’s face it, when it comes to German metal, doom isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.  You’re probably thinking power metal, perhaps 80′s thrash, or maybe even early trailblazers like Accept or the Scorpions.  But Deutschland actually has a pretty healthy underground doom scene, even if you discount all those false, erm, “gothic doom” bands.  With Kadavar, one of the leaders of the pack, currently invading North American shores for the second time, it’s time for me to count down some killer Kraut outfits that don’t wear tunics or guyliner…

10. Aleph Null

9. Beehoover

8. Wight

7. Whitebuzz

6. Black Space Riders

5. Spirit Descent

4. Obelyskkh

3. Samsara Blues Experiment

2. Kadavar

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On their first two albums, this Berlin-based trio has put forth a solid example of vintage, retro, 70′s-style heavy psych, reminiscent of Black Sabbath but far from being copy cats.  Is it any wonder they’re the only band on this list to take North America by storm?  Here they are in Toronto last year–and no, I didn’t shoot this video:

TOP 10 GERMAN STONER/DOOM BANDS: 3. Samsara Blues Experiment

Let’s face it, when it comes to German metal, doom isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.  You’re probably thinking power metal, perhaps 80′s thrash, or maybe even early trailblazers like Accept or the Scorpions.  But Deutschland actually has a pretty healthy underground doom scene, even if you discount all those false, erm, “gothic doom” bands.  With Kadavar, one of the leaders of the pack, currently invading North American shores for the second time, it’s time for me to count down some killer Kraut outfits that don’t wear tunics or guyliner…

10. Aleph Null

9. Beehoover

8. Wight

7. Whitebuzz

6. Black Space Riders

5. Spirit Descent

4. Obelyskkh

3. Samsara Blues Experiment

This Berlin-based quartet is the third stoner jam band on this list.  It seems this semi-obscure subgenre is as German as apple strudel.  Alas, while they’re no strangers to 13+ minute epics, SBE is not an instrumental outfit–guitarist Christian Peters also contributes the occasional vocal, alongside sitar, Moog organ and harp.  That said, their latest album, 2013′s Waiting for the Flood, shows signs of Earthless and their ilk.  Check out the entire album below:

TOP 10 GERMAN STONER/DOOM BANDS: 4. Obelyskkh

Let’s face it, when it comes to German metal, doom isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.  You’re probably thinking power metal, perhaps 80′s thrash, or maybe even early trailblazers like Accept or the Scorpions.  But Deutschland actually has a pretty healthy underground doom scene, even if you discount all those false, erm, “gothic doom” bands.  With Kadavar, one of the leaders of the pack, currently invading North American shores for the second time, it’s time for me to count down some killer Kraut outfits that don’t wear tunics or guyliner…

10. Aleph Null

9. Beehoover

8. Wight

7. Whitebuzz

6. Black Space Riders

5. Spirit Descent

4. Obelyskkh

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Though they might appear to be a buncha scrawny post-black-metallers or something, you’re actually looking at the finest German practitioners of the stoner-doom subgenre.  (Cuz while all the bands on this list are either stoner or doom, these guys are basically both.)  While I probably couldn’t find their hometown of Fürth if you gave me a map of Bavaria, I can tell you that their third album, Hymn to Pan, has shades of YOB, Sleep, Neurosis, even a little Sons of OTIS.  And Holy 23-Minute Album-Closer, Batman!  Check out “Revelation: The Will to Nothingness” in all its extended glory below.

TOP 10 GERMAN STONER/DOOM BANDS: 5. Spirit Descent

Let’s face it, when it comes to German metal, doom isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.  You’re probably thinking power metal, perhaps 80′s thrash, or maybe even early trailblazers like Accept or the Scorpions.  But Deutschland actually has a pretty healthy underground doom scene, even if you discount all those false, erm, “gothic doom” bands.  With Kadavar, one of the leaders of the pack, currently invading North American shores for the second time, it’s time for me to count down some killer Kraut outfits that don’t wear tunics or guyliner…

10. Aleph Null

9. Beehoover

8. Wight

7. Whitebuzz

6. Black Space Riders

5. Spirit Descent

These Hamburg doommeisters brew a blend of epic doom in the same vein as Candlemass, with a versatile vocalist who can really hit the high notes.  I’ve yet to hear their new album, which was just released last month, but quite enjoyed its predecessor, Seven Chapters in A Minor.  Check out that record’s 10-minute epic “The Tragedy of Captain Scott,” as performed live in 2012:

TOP 10 GERMAN STONER/DOOM BANDS: 6. Black Space Riders

Let’s face it, when it comes to German metal, doom isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.  You’re probably thinking power metal, perhaps 80′s thrash, or maybe even early trailblazers like Accept or the Scorpions.  But Deutschland actually has a pretty healthy underground doom scene, even if you discount all those false, erm, “gothic doom” bands.  With Kadavar, one of the leaders of the pack, currently invading North American shores for the second time, it’s time for me to count down some killer Kraut outfits that don’t wear tunics or guyliner…

10. Aleph Null

9. Beehoover

8. Wight

7. Whitebuzz

6. Black Space Riders

Black Space Riders official 2014(Is it just me, or do most of the guys in this band look like Lars Ulrich?)

D:REI, the third album from Münster mashers Black Space Riders, is the band’s most ambitious effort yet–perhaps a little too ambitious.  The 13-song, 80-minute opus is a grueling test of heavy psych, groove metal and industrial rock that makes that bloated new Hawkwind record fly by like Reign in Blood.  This might be the first album to use up every last second available on a CD, though they wouldn’t be the first to issue a record on four sides of vinyl.  Let’s just say I’d take this one over Sandinista! any day…