Quick Jabs for July 2021

Spread the metal:

This is a new monthly section where we will post an assortment of shorter reviews for albums that we have checked out or may have missed out on previously.  The reviews are short and to the point, thus the tile “Quick Jabs”.


Anaal Nathrakh – Total Fucking Necro

June 11th, 2021 – Metal Blade Records

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Anaal Nathrakh started as a two-piece black metal band from Birmingham, UK, in 1999. TOTAL FUCKING NECRO was initially released on Leviaphonic Records. From what I can come up with somewhere before or after their full-length debut. This release is a compilation of their first two released demos, ANAAL NATHRAKH and TOTAL FUCKING NECRO, as well as an unreleased demo titled WE WILL FUCKING KILL YOU. While deeply rooted in the art of black metal, I always felt they were better labeled as an extreme metal band back in the day. They do use hints of grind/death/speed metal throughout. Anaal Nathrakh is one of those bands that is impossible to put into any one genre. Anyways, Metal Blade Records have reissued this superb collection of the band’s early works, and this is a true gem for any extreme metal fan.


Anaal Nathrakh – The Codex Necro

June 11th, 2021 – Metal Blade Records

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Anaal Nathrakh is currently riding on the heels of eleven full-length releases since their inception back in 1999. The band, backed by Dave Hunt and multi-instrumentalist Mick Kenney, has never rested on their laurels regarding the extreme nature of their music. While I vaguely remember when this album first came out in 2001, I know it was one I enjoyed back then. Many dubbed them the future of black metal at the time. And while I may have lost touch with the band shortly after their sophomore release, this one took me back a bit. It has been 20 years. Anaal Nathrakh’s music, while not just extreme and pulverizing, has structure and emotion. Did they end up being the future of black metal? I’m not the guy to ask that question. But with this reissue from Metal Blade Records, those of you unfamiliar with the band or their earlier works now have another chance to get your hands and ears on some of the best extreme metal ever released.


Byrthing – Visage

March 5th, 2021 – Self-Release

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Boston-based Byrthing is a newly form metal band that seems to be creating quite a stir in the metal scene these days. It does not take long into their debut EP here to hear such influences that range from Slipknot and Pantera to At The Gates and Opeth. While their style takes you back a bit into the 90’s, it carries a fresh sound that will carry the band to a whole new level. ‘Byrthing crafts a sonically abrasive sound balanced by lean and distilled songwriting for a raw and minimalist soundscape.’ When you blend all that up while adding an energetic verbal assault over the grinding guitar riffs steeped with an unparalleled melody, what you get is a severe attack on the senses. Good stuff.


While She Sleeps – Sleeps Society

April 16th, 2021 – Spinefarm Records

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

While She Sleeps is labeled as a British metalcore band. Pretty much wherever you look. I know this is a no-no for this site amongst most, but myself, not being one of those asinine metal elitists, decided to take a jab at this latest release. Although I must confess, I may have only listened to one or two tracks by WSS in the past. Too much metal, too little time. What I found by giving this a couple of listens is that WSS is a damn good band. I need to brush up on my genre definitions again, as this does not come off as “metalcore.” Well, maybe in short bursts, but overall not. The band’s sound features down-tuned guitars, thick bass tones heavily, screamed vocals, and fast-paced drumming – occasionally complemented by melodic guitar tones and piano interludes. SLEEPS SOCIETY is a cool release. Just give it a try, and you will see for yourselves.


Slashdance – Everything Goes With Black

November 10th, 2021 – Ancient Temple Recordings

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Slashdance is a one-person project started by Dan Cadera just before the Covid pandemic hit. So the release was a bit delayed, you could say. Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable listen. For any fans of goth rock/metal, post-punk, and industrial, you are going to love this album. For me, it all sounds as if it has been done before. So there is nothing groundbreaking going on with this release. You can really hear Cadera’s influences of Ministry, Bauhaus, Lestat, and Joy Division, to name a few. And when I say you can hear these influences, they sound just like them. Not that this is judgemental in a wrong way, it just is what it is. Overall, not a bad offering here, just not one that ranks too high on my list. You may feel differently than I do, so if the goth/industrial style is up your alley, so will the music of Slashdance. I do love the name!


Bernth – Elevation

May 14th, 2021 – Self-Release

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Rising YouTube guitar sensation Bernth has unleashed his spectacular debut album ELEVATION. His roots lie in the extreme metal genre, where he started his career as a session/live guitar player for the Austrian band Belphegor in 2010. He also wrote David Hasselhoff’s debut metal song “Through the Night” with his electronic metal project CueStack. This release is not rooted on the side of extreme metal, but it does come off as one of your typical virtuoso guitar instrumental albums. Although I am not the biggest fan of listening to these types of releases regularly, I appreciate that they are out there and do enjoy them from time to time. This is one of those times. ELEVATION is a superb album full of some cool tunes and might be the ultimate guitar album. “My biggest goal with ‘Elevation’ was writing the ultimate guitar album,” says BERNTH. “A mix of completely new sounds with traditional elements all guitar enthusiasts love: blazing shreds, inescapable hooks, and captivating songwriting!”


Pacess – Poupe

May 25th, 2021 – Slovak Metal Army

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Pacess is primarily the work of selfsame Czechia guitarist and composer Pacess, who became known for his involvement in Defeated and Asgard. POUPE is the fourth full-length since 2011. Sonically, Pacess plays what they describe as epic/pagan black metal. A melodic to mid-tempo style black metal that has been arranged and executed flawlessly. This is a killer-sounding album, both stylistically and musically. The production is top-notch as well. Lyrically, the album is stated as containing subjects of nature, Paganism, Indo-European Folklore. I do not speak the language, so; I will take their word for it. POUPE is one for all fans of metal, epic melodic black metal, and the likes of bands such as Summoning, Caladon Brood, and Elffor.


Ape Vermin – Arctic Noise

May 7th, 2021 – Koloss Records

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Formed in 2017, Ape Vermin features guitarist/vocalist Brett Lee, Charlie Burleson on drums and bassist, William Deal. ARTIC NOISE follows the band’s monumental debut, 2018’s SONIC MONOLITH, which garnered much praise within the genre’s circle. This three-song EP is chalked full of sludgy goodness. I would gather, Ape Vermin play a brand of sludge/astral doom mixed with a touch of progressiveness to make those who have come before them a bit jealous. Ape Vermin’s music sounds as if seasoned veterans released it. This one does not disappoint when it comes to being a fan of this style. There is plenty of groove and doom here, with some excellent riffing throughout. Fans of Sleep, Crowbar, High On Fire, Conan, early Mastodon, and the likes, enjoy.

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