In terms of split releases, this EP is very impressive. It ticks all of the boxes that a great split should in that, firstly, it introduces listeners to two great bands they might have missed and, secondly, it pairs some interesting original material with some well chosen covers.
What would happen if you took passages from The Bible and applied them to some of the slowest and heaviest sludge metal riffs ever? Chances are, you’d end up with something so sacriligious, it’d stir up entire American States, amuse teenagers supposedly “going through a phase” and confound a lot of other people…
BlackLab’s 2018 album ‘Under Strawberry Moons’ really pushed the limits of how much noise a duo could make. Their long-awaited follow up, ‘Abyss’ (due for release digitally on 8th April) presents the band in an even noisier frame of mind, if anything, sharing heavy riffs that are so distorted that you might even believe your speakers have blown.
Since their arrival on the metal scene, zhOra have worked hard in forging a sound that takes sludge metal into more adventurous places than most. Armed with a relentless sound that mixes a hardcore crunch with the pure technicalities of progressive metal, the smatterings of death metal and a crushing doom element, their work isn’t for those who seek instant gratification. Their fourth album, ‘Mortals’ really reinforces any ideas that the band often values weight and heaviness over any genuine accessibility, yet at the same time, it is a truly impressive release.
When it comes to extreme metal, the Scandinavians have a long and rich history. Quite often, their extremes are rooted in the black metal sphere, but sometimes a more gothic approach will rear its head with interesting results. In the hands of Iceland’s Vofa, the latter definitely applies since their debut album comprises of three very lengthy, title-less pieces that explore the heaviest end of the funeral doom subgenre. In many ways, it sounds almost exactly how its sleeve art looks.