Sunday 10 May 2020

BlackLab - Abyss (Album Review)

Release date: May 8th 2020. Label: New Heavy Sounds. Format: CD/DD/

Abyss – Tracklisting

1.Insanity 08:25
2.Fade And Melt 04:59
3.Weed Dream 04:06
4.Amusement Park Of Terror 02:54
5.Forked Road 03:12
6.Chained 04:39
7.Sleepless Night 05:40
8.Sun 07:17


Guitar/Vox - Yuko Morino
Drums - Chia Shiraishi


Abyss is the 2nd full length album from Japanese Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal duo BlackLab and follows their acclaimed debut album Under the Strawberry Moon released back in 2018. There heavy bleak and blackened doom outlook on life was a great record showcasing a band who weren’t afraid to create heavy bleak monolithic soundscapes with some epic distorted Doom/Sludge Grooves to match.

Abyss follows where Under The Strawberry Moon left off with heavy distorted bleak Doom based grooves with a menacing flair to then that has direct influences such as Black Sabbath, Sunn 0))) and Electric Wizard being used a point of reference and this is where the fun starts as BlackLab run amok with Psychedelic sounds that move onto the next batch of heavy riffs to demolish your hearing with.

Opening song – Insanity – is a heavy nightmarish experience of aggressive Sludgy guitars and distorted riffs that move along at a not so comfortable place as the talented duo of BlackLab pay homage to Black Sabbath on this song but with a more Drone based sensibility to their music. The vocals are bittersweet and demonic at different stages of the album. As the gloomy atmosphere even allows the band to play moments of Fuzz Rock, Shoegaze and Punk Rock with deeply satisfying gloomy results.

Second song – Fade And Melt – gets straight down to business of seeing the band continue playing their bittersweet/demonic personas with heavy down-tuned doomy guitars and glitchy sound effects to match. The song is dangerously exciting with the guitar and drums of Yuko and Chia respectively having a true Punk Rock sound despite the band belonging in a totally different style of music as well. Yuko’s vocal impressive range is excellent with Yuko being all sweet-natured one moment and then truly demonic the next.

Third song – Weed Dream – a sinister sounding Weedian nightmare with BlackLab embracing a more “Stoner” outlook with their music. As the music is more fast=paced and less doom-centric compared to other songs on the album. The guitars are fast-paced and quite off-key in places but there is a subtle charm and brilliant heaviness that makes everything work.

BlackLab continue with their bewitching style of Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal with the rest of the album. As the album only continues to become more sinister and heavier with BlackLab being confident with the wide range of different musical styles they employ on this album.

Standout songs include: Amusement Park Of Terror, Chained, Sleepless Night and Sun.

BlackLab proved on their debut album that they were a very hard band to categorize and define and ABYSS is no different with the band perhaps playing heavier sounds compared to their debut album. Expect the unexpected with ABYSS. As BlackLab have a few tricks up their sleeves to standout from the crowd and play some truly original Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal sounds of their own.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Simon from For The Lost for the promo. Abyss is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl from New Heavy Sounds.