Quick Jabs for November 2021

Spread the metal:

Welcome to another installment of “Quick Jabs.” This is the section where we post an assortment of shorter reviews for albums that we have checked out or may have missed out on in previous months. This month did get a bit out of control on the home front, but we were still able to get a few Jabs in as I will always make sure of. I have also decided to add an honorable mentions list below which will consist of a few that I had the chance to listen to, but not the time to write about. As the requests for Quick Jabs keep coming in, from one month to the next, the list stacks up. This way, not all are forgotten or simply passed by. Enjoy!


Bloodred Hourglass – Your Highness

October 22nd, 2021 – Out Of Line Music

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

It did not take very long into the fifth full-length by Finland’s Bloodred Hourglass to realize I was listening to an incredible band! And very quickly as well, the sounds reminiscent to that of Children of Bodom started to fill my ears. This album is full of dark, yet groovy bangers in the classic melo-death vein. I know, how classic can a fairly new sub-genre be? Just roll with it here. The production is dubbed as a Finnish / Swedish blend. Again, not sure what that means to me deep down, but a superb sonic experience has been achieved. With this new album, Bloodred Hourglass is definitely establishing itself as one of the leaders of the new melodic death metal scene, in the old tradition but with this modern touch that gives it the legitimacy to take up the torch held by In Flames, the aforementioned Children of Bodom, and the others godfathers of the scene.


Atonement – Merciless Blasphemy

Oct. 14, 2021 – Helter Skelter Productions/Regain Records

Rating [4/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

The godfathers of formative ‘80s-era thrash metal could all be grandfathers now, literally and figuratively. And in new vintage-minded bands like Sweden’s Atonement, it would seem the apple isn’t falling far from the “family” tree, as it were. Though still all high-school age, Atonement’s primal death-thrashy sound echoes the likes of Destruction, Sodom, Sepultura or Possessed when they were all probably about the same age – nearly 40 years ago. Originally self-released as a demo last summer, the five-track Merciless Blasphemy caught the ear of Regain Records with its rough-and-tumble clamor. And it’s easy to see – and hear – why. Raw as it may be, Merciless delivers riffs by the truckload, energy to burn and a nice mix of gnarliness and catchiness – to go along with the band’s spot-on bullet belts, center parts and hi-tops old-school aesthetic. Kids these days!


Black Swamp Water – Awakening

August 20th, 2021 – Mighty Music

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Black Swamp Water from Denmark has just unleashed their 3rd full-length here, and boy is it a good one. I am new to the band and very pleased with the sounds I have been introduced to with AWAKENING. Their musical approach may be simple to read, but the old-school hard rock and heavy metal blend they make, with obvious references to bands such as Black Sabbath, Corrosion of Conformity, and Ozzy, grabs you by the balls and won’t let you go that easily. The tracks themselves are catchy as hell and very memorable. This one hits you in the “definitely like” zone from the get-go. There are some moments of easing up here and there, but it is the hard-driving rock sound and simply put, originality to their style that hooked me immediately. Great playing and writing that will have you setting this one on repeat for some time. For those of us here in North America, while this should top the charts of hard rock radio, I feel it is just a bit too good for the airwaves. Check ’em out!


Brundarkh – Haunted Worlds

Oct. 11, 2021 – Self Released

Rating [3.5/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

The debut EP from the South African duo Brundarkh blends symphonic extreme metal and wildly divergent dark fantasy story lines into something fans of Cradle Of Filth or Dimmu Borgir should find right up their alley. The EP’s four main tracks – accompanied by two brief intros – are crammed with opulent orchestrations, clean/dirty vocal tradeoffs and careening black/death metal, with “Wraith Of Dominion” featured twice in alternate mixes. Haunted Worlds is an ambitious undertaking, with songs inspired by Elizabeth Bathory (“Tower Of Blood”), the video game “Diablo IV” (“Bells of the Drowned”) and the Nazgûl from “Lord Of The Rings” (“Wraith”) and featuring Elisheva Abramson as the voice of the “Blood Countess” on “Tower” and a guest solo by Jori Haukio of Mors Principium Est on “Wraith.” But it’s well conceived and deftly executed, if somewhat ostentatious. So the EP treatment is just about perfect, as a full album’s worth might be bit much.


Rot Away – Nothing Is Good

August 13th, 2021 – Last Mile Records

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Here is a good and heavily death infused hardcore band from Denmark. I know, I know. I just used the “H”-word here. As stated on previous occasions, there is a fine line between HC and pure and brutal metal. Rot Away is one of those bands currently who are right on that edge. Their sound on this dynamic debut offering does remind me of a band like Terror, but a copy cat is not at play here. The previous inspirations from bands like Grieved, No Omega, Trap Them etc., can still be found in the music, but the focus on NOTHING IS GOOD has shifted to a heavier and more metallic sound, in a larger style than before, with bands such as Brutality Will Prevail, END, Power Trip. This is one juicy slab of metal full of plenty of groove and brutality. I look forward to what is to come from these guys. So if you like your metal chunky and heavy, look no further.


Illyrian – Aegis

Oct. 15, 2021 – Self Released

Rating [4/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

After issuing two full-lengths, Calgary’s Illyrian return with a concept EP that concentrates their considerable instrumental prowess and thematic ambitions into a streamlined package that still manages to dazzle. Echoing The Black Dahlia Murder or Arsis with their super-charged, technically adept death/thrash metal hybrid, Illyrian squeeze an album’s worth of shreddy solos, kinetic, twisty-turn riffs, stampeding drums and whip-saw tempo changes into a very busy, but engaging 20-minute package. The caterwauling vocal back and forth of bassist Jeff Perry and lead guitarist Scott Onofrychuk spins a yarn inspired by the video game Dark Souls, which gives things a nerdy twist with its swords and sorcery and demon-slaying that only adds to the fun without slathering on too much cheese.


Panzerchrist – Soul Collector (re-issue)

October 29th, 2021 – Emanzipation

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Panzerchrist were formed in 1993 and were doing relatively well in Europe after releasing two full-length albums. Their 3rd effort, SOUL COLLECTOR,  seemed to be a true turning point for the band. not only in terms of a critically acclaimed album, but it caught the attention of Mighty Music who in turn signed the band to the label releasing a couple of albums to gain a world-wide following. With SOIL COLLECTOR, the band topped their own speed and brutality by delivering this spectacle of an album, sung entirely in German, where the fastest death metal met some black metal influences to bring Panzerchrist to the top of their game. All the while gaining the band even more respect and admiration. It seems the band has been a bit on the inactive side since 2013’s release, 7th OFFENSIVE. Hopefully, and I do mean this, this re-issue has something to do with the band moving forward with some new music. Their brand of brutal death metal is right in the vein of death metal I enjoy. And that is good.


HONORABLE MENTIONS FOR NOVEMBER 2021

1. Veterans – Fake Quiet and Peace released August 23rd, 2021 through Black-Roos Entertainment. Hard Rock / Metal (www.facebook.com/veteranssg)

2. Bloodphemy – Blood Sacrifice released September 3rd, 2021 through Emanzipation Productions. Death Metal (www.targetshop.dk/bloodphemy)

3. Hellsword – Cold Is The Grave released September 24th, 2021 through Emanzipation Productions. Blackened Speed Metal. (www.targetshop.dk/hellsword)

4. Lucer – L.A. Collection released July 30th, 2021 through Mighty Music. Hard Rock / Metal (www.facebook.com/lucerofficial)

5. Tardus Mortem – Armageddon released November 5th, 2021 through Might Music. Blackened Death Metal (www.facebook.com/tardusmortemdenmark)

 

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