Quick Jabs for April 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. Loads of gratitude goes out to staff writer Peter who stepped it up this month for some quick jabs where I could not. For those of you who like it on the heavier side, here are a few of the more extreme band releases that are sure to please.


Brain Death – Misanthropy

Feb. 4, 2022 – Self Released

Rating [3.5/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

Still relatively new to the old school grind game, Australian grinders Brain Death haven’t wasted any time trying to get their name out there. After forming in mid-2020, the three-piece – vocals, guitar and drums, a la the always awesome Wormrot – dropped a four-track demo in February 2021 and follow it up almost a year to the day with this their debut EP. In typical grind efficiency, Misanthropy offers six tracks – five songs and a med school lecture intro describing the most common causes of brain death, yum! – in 12 minutes. The band provides the usual whipsaw spasmodics that make grind what it is – flailing blasts, ragged, tumultuous riffs, growl and shriek vocals – while leaving room for sporadic death metal chugs that give the EP some genuine heft. Definitely look forward to hearing more from these guys.


Genus Ordinis Dei – The Entropic Queen

April 8, 2022 – Eclipse Records

Rating [4/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

Italian symphonic death metallers Genus Ordinis Dei follow up their expansive third album Glare of Deliverance from late 2020 with a pandemic-inspired single that picks up where Glare left off musically, but with a far more topical lyric theme – one I expect we will be seeing a lot of as we emerge, or at least try to, from two years of COVID misery. Recalling Septicflesh or Fleshgod Apocalypse with its menacing yet opulent presentation – not to mention Niccolò Cadregari’s gut-ripping vocals – the standalone track packs martial trudge, frantic bursts and orchestral flourishes into five grandiose minutes. The lyrical allegory comparing an assault by a virus to an act of war is only more timely given the situation in Ukraine – “We are unwanted guest” – and offers lots to think about in a tidy, but resonant package.

 


Haunted Shores – Void

March 11, 2022 – 3Dot Recordings

Rating [3.5/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

After a lengthy slumber, and perhaps as something to do during COVID downtime, Periphery guitarists Mark Holcomb and Misha Mansoor dusted off their extreme metal side project Haunted Shores to offer its first new music in seven years with Void. The album’s bad-ass cover art is matched by some equally bad-ass – and frankly quite brutal – blackish metal when it launches with the ferocious “Hellfire” and “OnlyFangs,” which is contrasted by progressive/ambient forays, notably “When In Oslo,” “Null” and the title track, that recall Mansoor’s ongoing one-man effort Bulb. The

duo sticks to the all-instrumental format of the 2015 EP Viscera here, letting their freewheeling, genuinely thunderous guitar work do the talking, with the frenetic drum patterns for tracks like “Perpetual Windburn” programmed to provide a Meshuggah meets Emperor-like backbone that definitely makes an impact. The sax caterwauling from Shining’s Jørgen Munkeby on the shimmer-and-blast album closer “Nocturnal Hours” is a cool touch as well.

 


MÆNTRA – Kundalini Rising

Feb. 18, 2022 – Self Released

Rating [4/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

Don’t be fooled the cosmic/meditative Eastern motifs Bay Area trio MÆNTRA have draped themselves in. The band’s debut full-length is anything but chill, hippy-dippy bullshit. Boasting members of Origin (guitarist Paul Ryan who plays bass here), Cartilage (drummer Adam Houmam) and Cyanic (guitarist Rudy Pina), MÆNTRA is much more the three-headed grinding death metal monster one might expect from such a pedigree, with keyboardist Martin Boynton providing some industrial/electronic flourishes. While the album is billed as “a tour of the seven chakras,” it is one punishing ride, delivering its so-called “healing process” via flagellation for more of a purge effect. Or something like that. Anyway, Kundalini Rising is fast, furious and almost ceaselessly brutal, with Pina, Ryan and Houmam all shouting above the din. So drag your yoga mat into the mosh pit and enjoy. Namaste.

 


MASAKRE – Morbid Extinction

Feb. 18, 2022 – Pulverised Records

Rating [3.5/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

Morbid Extinction is the third EP from Indonesia’s Masakre, and second in just a couple months with the Infernal Praise collection of vintage Mayhem, Sepultura and Hellhammer covers having dropped at the end of 2021. Where the band’s 2018 debut EP Crawling To Perdition was more reflective of the influence of the acts highlighted on Infernal Praise, Morbid Extinction has a distinct death/crust/grind metal vibe, a la Nasum, vintage Napalm Death or Amebix. The five new tracks are absolute rippers, with gnarly, slashing riffs, hulking grooves, d-beat tempos galore and frontman Driga’s murky, mostly impenetrable growl – all delivered in an 11-minute blitzkrieg. CD versions of the EP include the Perdition tracks – minus the cover of Mayhem’s “Deathcrush” – and demonstrate in 10 tracks over just 20 minutes how the band’s sound has evolved, or at least become more finely honed. At the very least, the beefier attack and more robust sound on Extinction show Masakre have really stepped up their game.


RGRSS – A World Of Concern

Jan. 7, 2022 – Life After Death Productions

Rating [4/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

This one got a bit lost in the year end/new year shuffle, but glad I found it amid the pile because the debut full-length from Montreal’s RGRSS (pronounced “Regress”) is a definite keeper. The band describe themselves as “progressive death metal/grindcore,” and given that they take those elements and more and smash it all together in a glorious tangle of noise on A World Of Concern, I’d say they are pretty spot on. Indeed, tracks run the gamut from the minute-long opening salvo of “Thanatophobia” to the menacing expanse of the nearly seven-minute “Sickening Illusion.” The band’s raw, rough and tumble sound recalls Brutal Truth, Nails and Full of Hell while also embracing some of the abstract tendencies each of those bands is/were fond of – all while avoiding coming off as mere mimics. The approach provide a nice ebb and flow, with doomy trudge, hardcore thunk and some oddball, Voivod-like accents countering the band’s otherwise all-out assaultiveness, and sees these guys getting out of the gate in fine fashion.