Quick Jabs for May 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. With all the crazy going on in the world today, it is always nice to know that as hard rock/metal heads, we always have something to ease our minds and escape from reality a bit. Some damn good music to dive into. This months round is again a bit light, but the selections we have for you here will ensure that you will have a great month searching out some new music to fill you heads with.


Clairvoyance – Threshold of Nothingness

May 20, 2022 – Blood Harvest Records

Rating [3.5/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

Poland’s Clairvoyance mix a lot of old Sweden, England and New York into their debut mini-album Threshold of Nothingness. The band’s rumbling clamor delivers equal parts early Napalm Death/Bolt Thrower/Carcass grind, scraggly Swe-death grit and the guttural/bottom-heavy density of primal Immolation/Suffocation on this five-track outing. It’s as vehement and grimy sounding a 24 minutes as you’re likely to hear, but in channeling the aforementioned influences the band have also developed a knack for song-craft and dial up a fine batch of tunes amid all the ugliness. Chugging hooks and surging, gut-punch grooves abound here, punctuated by d-beat powered sprints or gloomy slogs, and grab a hold even with frontman Maciej Cesarczy’s murky roar. Spry guitar work is mixed in throughout as well, especially on the surprisingly epic 7-minute closer “Tarnished Vessel,” so there’s more going on here than it may seem – once you get past the abrasive core.


Anvil – Impact Is Imminent

May 20th, 2022 – AFM Records

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Canadian heavy metal stalwarts Anvil are back with a new album! And what a slab of molten metal it is. I must admit something here. Like the rest of the world, I had not given Anvil much thought since the early 80’s until that precious 2009 documentary THIS IS ANVIL came out. It put the band and their music back in our faces and really seemed to put the band back on the map. Since the doc, I have included a couple of their later albums to my listening collection. But a couple of weeks ago when I put IMPACT IS IMMINENT in the player, I was blown away. An album that starts off a bit slow for me with the first track, which is not a bad one, blasts right into a modern day collection of classic Anvil heavy metal. They take their straightforward, working man’s metal to a whole other level on their 19th full-length release. Great riffs and production on this one. Anvil is one of those bands that just needs to be shared by all with all. I’d like to say the band is sounding better than ever on this album, but the truth is, they have always sounded this good. Great stuff here.


Oblivion Throne – Marauder

April 8, 2022 – Self-Released

Rating [3.5/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

As if the pandemic wasn’t tough enough for existing acts, imagine trying to get a new band up and running when just having more than two people in the same room was nearly impossible. But that bump in the road didn’t seem to faze North Carolina trio Oblivion Throne. The band not only came together, first as a duo, then as a three-piece, but recorded a five-track demo and a six-song debut full length all in just over the last year as COVID’s Delta and Omicron variants raged and no one did much of anything. Marauder certainly doesn’t sound like the guys swapped their parts over the Innernets and stitched it together on someone’s laptop. With its buzz-saw guitars and bass, and clattering drums and cymbals, the uber-raw old school thrash here instead feels like a basement/garage rehearsal someone taped on a boom box – and I don’t mean that as a slight. It’s live, unpolished rabble recalls Hellhammer/early Celtic Frost – whose “Into The Crypt of Rays” the band covered on their demo – with shoutier vocals and none of the Satanic nonsense. There’s a freewheeling jamminess to the material as well, with most tracks clocking in at 5 to 6 minutes, that adds to its rehearsal-like vibe, almost as if the band are still fleshing out the arrangements. But given how quickly Oblivion Throne has gone from zero 60, it’s no wonder and only adds to the sense of excitement that is clearly in the air here.


Ulma – Shadows Of The Beast

Jan. 5, 2022 – Self Released

Rating [4/5]

Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

Issued at the beginning of the year, the debut EP from England’s Ulma is certainly worth catching up with. The band’s epic melodic death metal is impressively presented on Shadows Of The Beast, with the rather awesome cover art matched by a great sounding, quite compelling handful of songs that definitely leaves you wanting more. The band flavor their Lovecraft-inspired material here with depth and drama, yet go easy on the cinematic twaddle or overblown grandiosity, echoing the likes of Evergrey, Dark Tranquillity or Insomnium with their mix of melody, bombast and dread. Dense and methodical, but with just enough forward motion to not sound ponderous, Shadows rides the heaving riffs of Constantine Droutsas and imposing vocals of Elias Elias – who recalls Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe – building to the monumental, 7-minute epic “Tomb Of The Unnamable.” The short instrumental “Celephaïs” is curiously pasted on at the end, instead of serving as a more logical entry point to the EP, but that is a minor quibble with an otherwise stellar initial offering from Ulma.


Final Cry – The Ever-Rest

March 18th, 2022 – MDD

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

Final Cry have been slamming it up in and around the German metal scene for the better part of 30 years now. THE EVER-REST is just the 6th full-length release by them, and I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to hear this one. I would like to think that after all these years, I have listened to or at least heard of most bands out there. I am continually being surprised month after month. Final Cry is yet another one of those veteran bands who I feel should be embraced by all. They deliver a ferocious blend of power/death/thrash metal that is nothing short of perfect on this album. I have not been able to get enough of it here. Fans of Arch Enemy or Amorphis will fully enjoy what Final Cry has to offer. That is if they have not already. They are dubbed a melodic death metal band, but there is so much more to their sound than that. A great all around release and earful!


Return To Earth – Oblivion

March 11th, 2022 – Bald Freak Music

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0

Reviewer: John Haseltine

“After a decade-long layoff, Return To Earth are back with their third album, OBLIVION which, perhaps their darkest and angriest release yet. And one that still showcases the band’s willingness to explore a wide range of styles. OBLIVION creeps into more industrial territory than its predecessors, highlighted by Pennie’s precision style drumming, Hans Zimmer-inspired synth programming, and Scalzo’s bleak yet defiant lyrics.” Return To Earth hail from the New York/New Jersey area compromising of  drummer Chris Pennie (The Dillinger Escape Plan) alongside guitarist Brett Aveni and vocalist Ron Scalzo. These guys definitely check all the boxes of heaviness with this album. Within the “borrowed” intro sentence, it states they creep into a more industrial territory. Do not be set back by this claim. While the moments are there, this is not fully the industrial style one may think of. Myself being included. But when it gets to those points, it is nothing but a pure metal heaviness that takes hold of you a damn near rattles you to the brink. A similar style to Dog Fashion Disco meets Mobile Death Camp meets Pain sort of sound. A very enjoyable, neck-breaking experience. I have got to check out their previous releases.