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In a Bizarre Dream


Artist: Blacklab
Label: New Heavy Sounds
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 19 August 2022

New Heavy Sounds releases In a Bizarre Dream, the third album by self-professed Doom Witch Duo from Osaka, Black Lab. If the debut album from Yuko Morino (guitar and vocals) and Chia Shiraishi (drums and percussion), Under the Strawberry Moon, was reminiscent of Black Sabbath riffs, and their follow-up, Abyss, was lo-fi Hardcore Punk – this third offering sees the band finding its feet with a Doom/Hardcore/Sludge/Stoner combination incorporating all of their influences. It is released as a two-colour blue and yellow cosmic swirl deluxe vinyl version, with full colour sleeve and lyrics, as well as on CD and for download/streaming...

'Cold Rain' leads us into a Doom-laden heavy fuzz, with both screamed and clean vocals. The riff is straight out of the Black Sabbath hymn book. It even has the allegro moment which Sabbath did with such aplomb. 'Abyss Woods' maintains that bass and riff-driven sound, but ventures in an unusual direction courtesy of the female clean vocals. There is a purposefully discordant brief guitar solo. This one has more of a groove. 'Dark Clouds' is the perfect single, fast and ferocious, with plenty of distorted guitar and a mix of vocal styles. Simple but enjoyable. 'Evil 1' begins with atmospherics and a beating drum which the rest of the instruments join as a show riff. It shortly turns into a chugging tempo and then a much faster pace, with nice drums. Black Lab’s other influence, Stereolab (yes, you heard that right), joins the fray from this point. We would assume 'Evil 2' to be a continuation of the previous song, but it’s quite different – a more moderate and restrained piece with heavy Sabbath influences again. This is easily the best example thus far.

'Crows, Sparrows and Cats' actually feels like the beginning of a different album, prominently down to the Rockier beat and the Indie Pop vocals. It features Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab. This is much more fun than copying Sabbath, a band no one’s likely to justifiably emulate with any success. 'Lost' continues the more upbeat and energetic sound with a Sludge genre song that manages to be both low and dirty and yet catchy. 'In a Bizarre Dream' is a brief instrumental interlude or introduction to 'Monochrome Rainbow'. There is an Electronica opening to the latter and, again, the drumbeat is the first instrument to introduce this fuzz-laden slow stomp. The last third proves to be the most engaging with much more of a galloping beat. It’s a shame the vocal style doesn’t change with the change in direction. 'Collapse' is the final offering. Electronica approaching from afar gives the guitar opening more atmosphere. When it suddenly turns traditional Black Metal, it’s quite disconcerting whilst being a welcome change. Much of the melody is lost in the ultra-low bass and overdriven guitar sound.

It doesn’t seem that long ago when I was reviewing Dark Lab’s previous album. This is a strange one to quantify. Many of the same tactics are employed, but every now and then something pops-up to surprise you. 'Evil 2' and 'Crows, Sparrows and Cats' are examples of completely different styles, and are the stand-out tracks.


Ty Power

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