SHADOW PEOPLE – Washing In Soap Opera EP

Blending elements of metal, noise rock, art rock and pure sludge, Baton Rouge’s Shadow People bring a whole new meaning to the word “intense”. Contrasting sludgy riffs, grinding sounds and retching vocals against unexpected bursts of melody within three tracks that seem to blend into each other, their 2020 EP ‘Washing In Soap Opera’ is as a careening ten minute noise-fest. Its music is almost as frustrating and broken as the era in which it was created. …And yet, there’s something about this wanton ugliness that’s potentially brilliant.

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BLACKLAB – Abyss

BlackLab’s debut album ‘Under The Strawberry Moon’ was devastatingly heavy. With an under-produced and over-driven sound, the Japanese duo truly raised the bar in terms of fuzzy stoner riffs. The album didn’t reach a wide audience upon its first release, but a restructured and remixed version (released via the UK’s New Heavy Sounds label in 2018) went some way to giving the band an audience outside of their home country and received some really enthusiastic press.

Naturally, their minimalist set up of drums, guitars, vocals and three thousand distortion pedals never really allowed for a broad musical palate, so their sophomore disc ‘Abyss’ offers much more of the same, but if Blacklab appealed to you before, more of the same is exactly what you’d hope for… If anything is a little different, you might even say BlackLab have become even heavier and more intense, as ‘Abyss’ is a genuine skull-crusher.

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Check out ‘Forked Road’, a new track from Japanese fuzz/sludge/doom duo BlackLab

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.

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Watch: Night Goat unveil new video for ‘The Greys’

As you’d expect from a group of musicians naming themselves after a Melvins song, Night Goat worship the sludgier elements of the rock and metal spectrum.  The Ohio-based noise-makers started to create a stir with their second release, ‘Milk’, at the close of 2019, but are ready to face 2020 square on, escalating the promotion for the new record with a brand new video clip.

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MNRVA – Black Sky EP

Formed in South Carolina in 2018, MNRVA brings together the talents of Arcane vocalist/guitarist Byron Hawk and Iron Fist’s Gina Ercoli and Kevin Jennings (drums and bass, respectively) to create an uncompromising sludge metal power trio. Often showing an unhealthy early Melvins and Electric Wizard obsession, their main concern on this debut EP is taking some really heavy riffs and slowly bludgeoning their audience. As heavy as a very heavy thing, of course, that results in a timeless doomy, sludgy and sometimes uncompromising sound that fans of the style will love.

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