The duo BlackLab scheduled a couple of performances in the United Kingdom, one of which was at Desertfest. only a few days later they performed in a more intimate setting at The Victoria.
Live Report: BlackLab + Black Shape + Wallowing
The Victoria, Dalston, London, 02.05.2022
Hailing from the South Coast of England tonight’s openers Wallowing play a ferocious form of blackened sludge. They have a twin vocal attack and with both singers hidden beneath black hats and veils they look rather like black metal beekeepers and with a sound excavated from the very depths of hades a Wallowing show is not for the faint-hearted. They set about shaking The Victoria’s foundations to their very core…and they almost succeed. The introduction of samples provides a new and interesting texture to their sound and in a scene that can often be reductive and generic Wallowing are refreshingly original.
Describing themselves as a “Two-piece comedy farce band” London’s own Black Shape are certainly no joke and if you want to know just how heavy a duo can get then look no further than this pair of aggro merchants. Stomping like a 900lb gorilla the band offer little in the way of redemption as Andrew Cleaver seems intent on pulverising his drum kit to dust while guitarist and vocalist David Burdis eschews solos in favour of a riff-heavy punch. Tracks such as Eat Shit and Die and Human Hell are as volatile as their titles suggest and when delivered with hardcore fury, they land a series of knockout blows and Black Shape’s energetic performance sets the bar extremely high for tonight’s headliners.
Following their triumphant appearance at this year’s Desertfest dark witch doom duo BlackLab play a more intimate show at The Victoria. These two gigs are the band’s very first outside of Japan and they’ve certainly cast a spell over the UK audience and many of those who witnessed their show at Camden’s Underworld are here tonight. As the band appear wrapped inside a wall of glorious feedback, they ramp up the tension to a point where it almost hurts. Bathed in demonic red light there’s something of a ritual about tonight’s concert and that feeling is heightened by Chia Shiraishi’s tribal drumming and when combined with Yuko Morino’s heavy riffs a hypnotic air is created and a tangible magic electrifies the venue.
Like most doom bands BlackLab owe a debt to the gods of the fuzzy riff Black Sabbath and they certainly wear their influences on their sleeves (if you need proof then check out ‘Symptom of The BlackLab from the album Under The Strawberry Moon) yet they put their own spin on the genre and sound like no one else on the scene. However, as with Sabbath they understand musical dynamics and temper-crushing sections with lithe moments as Chia plays both soft and hard and Yuko’s vocals veer between a trimerous, ethereal wisp and unearthly shrieks. BlackLab’s albums are guaranteed to blow your speakers yet in the live environment they become infinitely heavier and Abyss Woods, a taster from their forthcoming album, moves the earth beneath our feet. BlackLab perform a crowd-pleasing set and I’m sure they’ll be back very soon.