BlackLab – “Abyss” (New Heavy Sounds)
Battle Helm Rating
If lo-fi, shit heavy down tuned mantras form your sacred utterances, then prepare to revel in the punk stoner rock doom of BlackLab, the dark witch doom duo from Osaka, Japan! Made up of Yuko Morino (Guitar, vocals) and Chia Shiraishi (Drums) who, judging by their name, are as influenced by Black Sabbath as they are the avant-pop of Stereolab and stoked by heaps of riot grrrl attitude, the feisty duo might be devoid of a bassist although it’s hardly noticeable thanks to the tons of reverb drenched, fuzz deep guitar dishing out punk raw savagery and space age psych noise backed by colossal drums. Mixed once again by Wayne Adams (Pet Brick, Green Lung, Cold In Berlin) who did wonders in bringing to life (as well as the wider world) the re-mixed majesty of their debut “Under The Strawberry Moon”, this sophomore is nothing short of a piledriver, although not lacking in that femme touch of tasty hooks, catchy melodies and tons of rolling groove resplendent in the 8 tracks here. Opening with ‘Insanity’, the uninitiated might well think they’ve entered a mental abyss as the droning riffs, dark warbling and feedback give way to a massive dirty, groove driven by heavy drums although it is beautifully offset by the gentle femme vocals and teasing girlie harmonies (all to a Japanese accent) until Morino hits the Hiroshima horror screaming pedal as this 8 minute track trips and rips to intense physiological effect. Chugging in malevolently on ‘Amusement Park Of Terror’, the gargantuan Godzilla style riff and dull thudding drums exploding occasionally like his demon breath make this instrumental unforgettable especially after more space age sounds and Japanese noise are added in to make this another memory crusher. Ending in the feedback drenched ‘Sun’, this 7 minute mammoth noise giant mixes dark Celtic Frost riffs with black metal screamo that are suavely offset by ethereal vocal charms and trippy psych guitar wailings, while not forgetting the matching intensity of Shiraishi’s drums. “Abyss” is a dark, looming void that summons the listener to dive in – if they dare.