Four musical kindred spirits from Birmingham, Alabama, collectively known as EMBR have delivered a crushing, yet beautiful debut album in '1823.'
At this point, it is worth stating that the title ‘1823’ has significance. Drummer Eric Bigelow received a kidney transplant in the middle of writing the album. The kidney was from a deceased donor. All Eric and Crystal Bigelow (singer and Eric’s wife) know about the donor is that they were female and between the ages of 18-23. The album is dedicated to the donor and the surgeons at Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville TN. And a fine tribute it is.
Musically ‘1823’ could be classed as ‘Doom’ metal. However, on the basis of this debut it’s obvious that EMBR have a range, ambition and a desire to and add to the genre, to broaden it whilst always staying true to its core. The band have all the nuts and bolts in place, massive drop-tuned guitars, chest rattling low end, pounding drums, distortion. But they also add in synths, a bit of grunge and alt rock, and most strikingly, the stellar vocal talents of Crystal, who’s powerful soaring voice when added to the mix, helps transport the band’s music skyward, adding soul, and an air of melancholia to the proceedings. If a musical pointer were needed, think Mastodon meets Witch Mountain with added epic sweep and gothic drama, and you’d be in the ballpark.