Quick Jabs for December 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. So we’ve made through another year. And another crazy one at that! There have been way too many great releases this year. With the touring situation worldwide being the way that it is, it seems the free time bands have these days has been put to good use. In addition, many labels have also been busy digging into their vaults for re-issues to give the metal community new editions to feast upon. So without further ado, and with the aid of their press sheets on this round, I give you their descriptions coupled with my two-cents. Which in today’s economy, may or may not be worth that much. Enjoy! 

Serpent Cobra – Beware

February 25th, 2021 – Regain Records

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Hailing from Argentina, Serpent Cobra are one of the underground’s best-kept secrets. Forming in 2017, the quartet made short work of recording their debut album, ANATOMY OF ABUSES, in 2020. Less than a year later arrives a quick-hitting EP ominously bearing the title BEWARE. Much like that full-length predecessor, BEWARE is grubby and grimy doom offering in a most NWOBHM manner recalling the likes of Witchfinder General, Angel Witch, Pentagram, or even Venom. The approach to the music is fairly simplistic in form, yet it tends to deliver. The one cool thing here is the fact that Serpent Cobra are onto something with the three tracks here that could be a precursor to something big. I would only say two of the three as the title track “Beware” is a bit of a dud. Not bad, but it is a very slow and somber instrumental. I did enjoy the underground/garage recording feel it gives. One to look out for.

Messerschmitt – Oh Death

November 5th, 2021 – Self-Release

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Norwegian stoner rock band Messerschmitt is releasing their second album called, OH DEATH. It was recorded live with two drummers. OH DEATH features guest appearances by Kjetil Nernes from Årabrot who does noise guitar on “Oh Death” and Thomas Eriksen (Mork) who handled the vocal duties on “Ave Satani”, with the mix being done by Adam Kasper who has worked with Nirvana, QOTSA and Foo Fighters. This is a cool new addition to my ever growing doom/stoner library. Messerschmitt have outdone themselves here with six new tracks of sludgy yet uplifting stoner metal. Rock, metal, whatever, it’s too close to call. The tracks are fairly catchy and memorable in style. One of the things in this genre that tends to be a tough thing to find, is a sense of originality. Messerschmitt tend to have this. Not that my “stoner” side has heard them all, but there have been a lot and I can say that they do have their own sound. They have a faster bit of speed in regards to their tempo, so you metal elitists out there should be able to wrap your heads around it. Maybe. A good listen none the less.

Dungeon Steel – Bloodlust

November 5th, 2021 – Signal Rex

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Depending on your age, this one may take you back a bit. Hailing from Ecuador’s rising black metal underground and including members of the insanely prolific Wampyric Rites, the duo of Dungeon Steel wield a lawless, blackened speed metal on their debut recording, BLOODLUST. Aptly titled, BLOODLUST is both clandestine medieval rituals and sword-swinging bravado made flesh. While the vocals are delivered in an almost incoherent and sinister tone, they fit the music well. And the music is what it is all about here. I am really digging this one. It comes off as feverish and fun in a most devilish manner. Dungeon Steel kick out their “dungeon-metal” jams that strictly hail influences from the ’80s. The names of very earliest Bathory, Sodom, and Running Wild are invoked here.

Blood Blind – Tyranny

November 12th, 2021 – Self-Release

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Blood Blind is a Groove Metal band from Helsinki, Finland founded in 2015. After a few years hiatus, the band returned in 2020 with a new double-guitar attack in the form of Marko Lundahl and Joni Halmetoja. Blood Blind is not your typical groove metal band. At least not within the three tracks laid out on this EP. Sure there is some of that groove feel to the music, but from what I have just listened to has so much more to offer. At times they have more of a NWOBHM/thrash mix to them. The riffs and solos on the second track “Bastard”, have a bit of a southern rock vibe to them. This is one of those album’s (EP) that tends to leave the listener yearning for more. TYRANNY is fill with merciless riffs and aggression which are sure to get your neck muscles sore.

Matador – The Surge

December 11th, 2021 – Self-Release

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

I’ve never really been too into all-instrumental albums. With that being said, the four tracks here have slightly just changed my tune. Each track, and all of their glorious complexities make THE SURGE quite a dynamic listening event. It is rare in my experience that an instrumental track can tell a story without the lyrics. This is not the case here. Each track takes you on a journey of highs and lows with an ever build range of excitement. Matador are an instrumental Post Rock/Metal band which formed in early 2020 and are based in Vancouver, Canada. Their music blends heavy, driving and doomy post metal with emotive, melodic and atmospheric post rock. THE SURGE constitutes four tracks that showcase the band’s powerful, dynamic & cinematic style. Hypnotic doomy riffs, intense thunderous drums, & driving bass contrast with delicate ambience, soaring guitar parts & tribal percussive rhythms. Matador’s sound is somewhat reminiscent of acts like Russian Circles, Sleep, and Tool.

Exodus – Persona Non Grata

November 19th, 2021 – Nuclear Blast

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

In the true Quick Jabs fashion, I am going to take a stab at the long awaited PERSONA NON GRATA by the mighty Exodus. I cannot speak for anyone else out there, but the Slayer retirement tour could not end fast enough for me as I was longing for any new material from Holt & Co. Exodus are one of the greatest, as well as one of my favorites. No disrespect to the Slayer camp as they too rank right up there, but come on, Exodus are the merchants of thrash and there is none other out there like them. So in the Quick Jabs sense, I just picked this up yesterday and I have only enough time to run through it once. But once is enough to know that I am listening to a great piece of work by Exodus. I did notice on the one time through this album, it seems to harken back to some of their earlier works in regards to the deep chugging riffs and brutality. Not that they eased up much, but there are parts that make you stop and think. There is a bit of IMPACT, and PLEASURE in this one. The seven minute self titled opener could have well been from the FABULOUS sessions. It sounds like a true Exodus album. Fast, powerful, and relentless with a sense of maturity in the compositions if that makes any sense to you. It works in my head, so there! If one of our other writers do not break this one down for a full on review, I will do my best to fit one in with a few more listens. So for you full on thrash maniacs out there, PERSONA NON GRATA is finally here! And fuckin’ great it is indeed!

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