Winners of my favourite album art for the year, please say hello to Blacklab, an Osaka local band who make barely decipherable evil. With a few of the layers in their musical trifle consisting of fuzzy texture, they top everything off with a big helping of doom. The lo-fi production and noisy carelessness that sums up Under the Strawberry Moon is indicative of their unflinching, uncompromising attitude. Cool.
- LP £14.49
- Sold out.
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- NHSLP024 / Indies only 2 colour Black/Orange half and half vinyl LP + CD on New Heavy Sounds. Edition of 300 copies
- Includes download code
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Slays, doesn’t it? Aside from having maybe the coolest photoshoot-as-album-art I’ve seen in a good while, this doomlord duo have crafted an absolute gem of heavy, taking in portions of Melvins, Sleep and even some of the harder stuff on their route to ruin. Initially released in a short run in Japan, ‘Under the Strawberry Moon’ has received a little ante-upping through the remastering of Wayne Adams, who wanted to do the duo justice and have their fuzz and sludge heard.
Now both ominous and optimal, the record is an absolute treat, an exciting grab bag of chuggy riffs, doomy breakdowns and brooding vocals. Even the psychedelic works: used as a pinch of salt seasoning something bigger, the wahing solos of “Hidden Garden” feel perfect, a lucid interlude between the classic stonerisms of the song’s first half and the dissonant skramz of its ending. The charred guitars of “Spoon” and its slowly descending drum patterns make for another massive, unholy epic, the trembling riffs that follow suggesting the disquieting force of Thou.
It’s rare that there’s a lot going on in a stoner rock record; even more rare is that a duo are gonna give you that special record. ‘Under The Strawberry Moon’ is a fantastic bit of growl churn and we should all be grateful Blacklab shredded their way across the continents.
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