Blacklab – “Under The Strawberry Moon 2.0” (New Heavy Sounds)
Battle Helm Rating
If you’ve not heard of Yuko and Chia before aka ‘The Dark Witch Doom Duo from Osaka Japan’ then prepare yourselves for their stoner doom with bags of riot girrl attitude and lo-fi bravado! Originally released in tiny numbers as a CD only in Japan, “Under The Strawberry Moon” was a pull together of previous tracks and new songs recorded over 2017. However, in the hands of esteemed noise guru Wayne Adams (Death Pedals, Shitwife, Vodun, Casual Nun), “Under The Strawberry Moon 2.0” is a charged to the max remix that truly do the 8 numbers not just more justice, but result in one helluva stoner doom release. More fuzz, more feedback, more distortion, more droning and even more noise that Godzilla would shit a ton for from the barrage that these 2 ladies produce! Crucially, Adams has not tinkered with the lo-fi aspect, meaning this is as close to a ‘live’ recording as a studio cut could get – I mean, right in your face as well as reverberating your eardrums so expect some serious damage here. Despite being only a duo there’s some remarkable versatility in Yuko’s vocals that use screams, growls and clean singing to impressively set the style of each song, be it crushing doom to more rolling stoner and or more feisty riot grrl. Equally, her guitar is so heavily down tuned that the omission of a bass is scarcely noticed, with Chia’s pounding drums more than making up for it. So get ready for ‘Spoon’ with its slow and weird melody drenched in feedback accompanied by thudding drums while an ethereal voice heralds the onset of pure amp power noise bursts and massive, droning riffs in all its shocking possession. Then there’s ‘Warm Death’ with its crashing cymbals and pounding drums contrasting with some plucked strings that are so low you could think its a bass, along with distant ghostly vocals soon exploding in screams as the reverb comes powering in, eventually morphing into a massive rolling groove oozing distortion – yeah, baby! If you like it garage style then ‘His Name Is’ is straight up DIY, right in your face riot grrl with its swanky femme vocals and slightly punk mixed with grungey riffs a la Mudhoney while the album closes with ‘Big Muff’ – 10 minutes of pure droning noise electrical energy with hypnotic trance effects such that you really will believe you’re on a strawberry moon. Nuff said except go check into Blacklab.