Quick Jabs for February 2022

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. 2022 is starting off with a bang! Frigid cold in some parts of the world, and crazier than ever in other parts. Here we have a few submissions that should help you get your year off to the right start. A few newer, not as well known acts who are releasing material that needs more than just a listen from me. Check them out!

Initial Mass – Alluvium

April ?, 2022 – Self-Release

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

At their core, Initial Mass is a heavy prog rock trio that melds hard-hitting riffs, soaring choruses and complex arrangements to their musical whims. The Los Angeles-based group is comprised of Mark Baldwin (vocals/guitar), Kevin Robertson (drums) and Scott Smith (bass). While Initial Mass does not seem to hit the “heavy metal” sound throughout the entirety of ALLUVIUM, their blend of heavy prog / hard rock does walk a fine line. One fine enough to include here. They have a clean sound that will land them on the rock radio charts with the right direction. These guys have a great sound, even if they are not the heaviest at times. A good change of pace for you listening pleasure.

Unexpectance – Vortex

January 4th, 2022 – Self-Release

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

UNEXPECTANCE, from Spain, started their journey into the metal world in 2014. With influences ranging from melodic death metal to groove metal with a strong modern influence, featuring
progressive and djent. The latest, new concept album is focused on the amazing work Inferno from Dante Alighieri. Musically, “we wanted to go one step further, mixing our most modern and extreme influences to evolve our music into a new and darker sound, bringing our songs to a new standard.” With a sound that will appeal to fans of acts such as Whitechapel, In Flames, Meshuggah, Trivium, and Chimaira, Unexpectance pull no stops here with VORTEX. And while there is nothing out of the ordinary here in terms of the music, what these guys pull off is a powerful nod to the genre. A very well done album that needs more than a couple of listens to sink in. I am looking forward to spending a bit more time with this album in the coming days.

Paradoxicide – Savior

December 17th, 2021 – Self-Release

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Paradoxicide is a new classic death/groove/thrash metal band and is the brainchild of a middle aged mid-west male in Holland, OH. The music and lyrics came to him in a Covid induced fever dream over the 2020 lockdown. Now there is a line we haven’t heard before. At first riff, I was really thinking I was instore for something special. Yet as I kept it going, what I found was a really good collection of tracks that have the remnants of many who have come before. And while they are not going out of their way to push any new boundaries within the genre, Paradoxicide do have a keen ability to insert some memorable groove-laden spots here and there making the album a pleasant listen. I would have liked to hear a few of these tracks really take off in terms of thrash and speed, but they never did. All in all, a good debut album from a band I will be following here on out. A good listen for fans of Slipknot, Testament, Slayer, and Cavalera Conspiracy.

Symphony Of Heaven – Maniacal Entropik

December 17th, 2021 – Rottweiler Records

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

“The second full length album from Indiana’s Symphony Of Heaven is an intimidating onslaught of melodic death metal, painted in shades of black and punctuated by moments of perfect tranquility; a torrent of all enveloping sorrow and loss, dark times and bleak reflections captured in breathtakingly emotive songs.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Really, that’s why I used it. What Symphony Of Heaven put out here is a stellar opus of maniacal proportions. This is not what one would expect from a band from the Mid-West, but more like one from the ever growing Euro scene. I only got to listen to this one a couple of times, but what I can tell you from that, is that it is not enough. This is a band that will be gong paces within the genre if they keep up what they have started. MANIACAL ENTROPIK checks all the boxes when it comes to blackened melodic death metal. Excellence in the making!

Sheev – Mind Control

October 15th, 2021 – Self-Release

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Multi-international metal band, (Israel, Germany, and Nepal) got their start in 2018. The band was starting to make some serious waves up to the summer 2019 release of the EP, HORSEMOUTH, and then that good old pandemic reared its ugly head. It gave Sheev some time to really hone their chops. the result is their latest album MIND CONTROL. Now this one sets its eyes on the progressive stoner metal genre. Do not be alarmed if you either hate or love this genre as from where I stand on the subject, the stoner part is to be taken lightly. This album does not have the sludgy slow parts some may expect. What it does have is a unique sound that is all their own. This is a well conceived, almost grunge, metal outing. There are too many genres these days as it is and trying to put Sheev into one of them is damn near impossible. But what I can say is that this is an amazing album. Even if it does not hit the heaviest at times. In short, this is freaking good!