Embr – “1823” (New Heavy Sounds)
Battle Helm Rating
Hailing from Alabama and playing doom metal with psych tinges, it comes as little surprise that Embr also have plenty of soul to their powerful music. With 3 EPs already to their name, “1823” goes deep into your heart, not in the least as it is dedicated to a deceased young lady aged between 18-23 whose kidney was transplanted into grateful drummer Eric Bigelow, who had been waiting 4 years for a donor. As such, the 7 songs on this debut all have a heavy melancholia of death about them, but equally a beautiful serenity conveyed through the incredible, trance like vocals of Crystal Bigelow. Complemented by a massive, droning fuzz sound commendably coming from just 2 guys in the form of Mark Buchanan (guitar) and Alan Light (bass), and not forgetting the weighty drums of Eric Bigelow, Embr is a machine to contend with! Opening with fine Southern soul on ‘Stranger’ superbly contrasted by Buchanan’s huge power riffs, the hypnotic effect of Crystal Bigelow’s ethereal vocals and wails is nothing short of possessive in both its emotional depth and resonating power. Crashing in with dark, distorted doom riffs, ‘Eyes Like Knives’ slowly creeps along as Bigelow’s angelic voice and accompanying church organs have another wonderous effect that few new bands could pull off, not just in the perfection of the alignment of the contrasting styles, but the actual reach of the music into your mind and body, which is nothing short of spell bounding. Closing with crushing, down tuned riffs, ominous church bells and male background roars, ‘Vines’ takes Crowbar’s leaden sound a psychedelic step further thanks to Crystal Bigelow’s calming vocals that are like the cold touch of death itself as they embrace your spirit. Truly impressive, Embr are definitely gonna be a band to watch out for!