BlackLab – Under The Strawberry Moon

On the surface of it, BlackLab are a doom metal band, and yet not completely so. Hailing from Japan, BlackLab are two Japanese women: Chia Shiraishi on drums, and Yuko Morino on guitar and vocals. A bass-less two piece, but they are (dark) light years removed from the generic boredom of the likes of Royal Blood. The track “Symptom of the BlackLab” tells you a lot about, not only where BlackLab are coming from influence-wise, but where they are going. It starts off as Sabbath’s “Symptom of the Universe” and then goes into the void, with its own sound. I really enjoyed the heavy dense feedback-drenched riffs, with the exception of the final ‘track’, which is nine minutes of drum-less fuzzy riffs, which feels more like ninety minutes, and the album would have been better served with two actual songs rather than this. But overall, I like BlackLab; their music is heavy, sincere and inventive, and on their next album on New Heavy Sounds I’m sure they’ll have established their own identity more.

(New Heavy Sounds)

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (

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