Alabaman riff merchants Embr have been cranking out heavy grooves since 2015, but the release of their ‘1823’ full length on the New Heavy Sounds label really helped to elevate their profile. The album’s selection of intense riffs combined with a clean-ish female vocal presented a brilliant contrast between pure doom and great melodies, suggesting talents that could not only rival the UK’s own Witch Charmer, but possibly even help fill the massive void left by the much missed Black Moth. A filler free forty minutes, ‘1823’ is the kind of metal album that deserves to be heard by everyone.
The close of 2020 brought something of a surprise when, completely out of the blue, Embr shared a covers EP via Bandcamp. ‘Idolatry’ brings together four classic tracks from four classic 90s bands – a couple of which can be heard with new ears once redressed in Embr’s heavier clothes.
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.
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.
BlackLab are a sludge, doom and fuzz metal duo from Japan. Their album ‘Under The Strawberry Moon’ was released in 2017 in a very limited pressing. Recognising their potential to appeal to an overseas audience, UK indie label New Heavy Sounds remixed the album, beefing up the overall sound and subsequently gave it a broader distribution. The resulting ‘Under The Strawberry Moon 2.0’ isn’t just heavy. It isn’t just doomy. It’s positively devastating.
We’ve reached the end of 2015. It hasn’t been as thrilling a year for new music as 2014 had been, but there has been plenty to entertain. We’re still waiting on the proposed deluxe edition of Prince & The Revolution’s classic ‘Purple Rain’ (we could be waiting a long time) and those promised UB40 deluxe editions. Another year has passed without the arrival of Real Gone favourite Mick Terry’s second album. Lots of people in the UK have been (over)-excited by Steven Wilson’s ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase.’, but most of what’s impressed us the most at Real Gone – as is so often the case – is often just a little more underground.