By Dave Pehling

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — German hard-rock favorites Kadavar play their first Bay Area show in four years when they headline the Bottom of the Hill Friday night with like-minded local bands Older Sun and Psychic Hit.

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It’s easy for bands to get lost in the shuffle amid the seemingly endless wave of proto-metal obsessed groups that have emerged in the past decade paying homage to the classic sounds of the late ’60s and early ’70s. But Berlin power trio Kadavar has risen above the masses over the course of nearly a decade of making music. Founded in 2010 by guitarist-vocalist Christoph “Lupus” Lindemann and drummer/producer Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt, the group issued a raw, eponymous 2012 debut that sounded like an unearthed relic recorded decades ago in a dingy basement amid hefty bong sessions and a heavy rotation of Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath.

Kadavar parted ways with their original bassist as they completed work on their follow-up effort Abra Kadavar — the band’s first for Nuclear Blast Records — but the group quickly rebounded with the addition of friend and former member of the Oath and Aqua Nebula Oscillator, bassist Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup. The band toured extensively, traveling through the U.S. supporting Texas metal band the Sword as well as headlining their own U.S. jaunt and teaming with fellow retro rock group Wolfmother for a string of dates.

After issuing the concert document Live in Antwerp that showcased the band’s incendiary onstage prowess, Kadavar delivered another stomping dose of focused doom anthems with their third album Berlin in that put the group in the same class of label mates Graveyard. The album also featured a languid, deeply psychedelic cover of the Nico song “Reich der Träume” that marked a departure from the band’s usual sound. Now established as a festival favorite, the trio spent more and more of its time close to its home base in Berlin, cultivating its European audience.

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The group returned with it’s fourth studio effort Rough Times in 2017, collecting a batch of tunes that spoke to the uncertainty of the modern world and mankind’s precarious place in history with the propulsive “Tribulation Nation” and the stomping rager “Skeleton Blues.” A few months ago, Kadaver announced its forthcoming Nuclear Blast release For The Dead Travel Fast that is set to come out in October. The band recently returned to the States for the first time in ages to play the massive Psycho Las Vegas festival this past weekend and is playing select West Coast dates prior to returning to Germany.

For this Friday night show at the Bottom of the Hill, Kadavar will be joined by San Francisco hard-rock outfit Older Sun. Making riff-driven monolithic tunes indebted to the classic ’60s and ’70s sounds of Cream, Free and Montrose since 2012, the band released their debut album last year on Anchorite Recordings after issuing a pair of singles for Valley King Records. That album marked the end of a chapter for the band, presenting its last songs recorded with departing lead singer Chris Wagner. The group has since expanded to a quintet and is now fronted by new singer Kelsey Guntharp.

Opening act Psychic Hit is an Oakland band featuring members of several notable prog, psychedelic punk and space rock bands including Queen Crescent, Pins of Light, Nik Turner’s Hawkwind and Ovvl. The group has build a solid buzz with its blistering live shows and a sound that draws on classic Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and early Scorpions and Judas Priest while injecting an element of expansive prog rock to great effect. Psychic Hit recently released a limited vinyl edition of their first demo recordings through Netherlands-based DHU Records that quickly sold out.

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Kadavar
Friday, Aug. 23, 8:30 p.m. $20-$25
The Bottom of the Hill