Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Landmine Marathon - Gallows

Landmine Marathon.  On the surface, that doesn’t sound like much fun.  26.2 miles of running through landmines?  No, thank you.  Fortunately, the band is a lot more enjoyable than that.

I have heard a lot of good things about this band over the last few years, but somehow, despite the numerous metal shows I have attended in that time period, I’ve never seen them live and I’ve never picked up one of their previous releases.  So this won’t be one of those reviews that compare this to earlier releases or talks about their progression, or anything like that.  I’m doing this with virgin ears.

“Gallows” is the 4th album from Landmine Marathon, and it’s a good one.  The first track, “Three Snake Leaves”, reminds me somewhat of fellow Arizonans Job For A Cowboy, and my first thought was that this could just be some trendy Arizona deathcore thing.  But fear not, there is a lot of variety here.  Well, at least as much variety as you get with death metal.

“Knife From My Sleeve” is one standout track for me.  There are some nice tempo changes in which you get pounded slowly, or absolutely pummeled at about triple the slow pace.  Good stuff indeed.  “Beaten And Left Blind” is another favorite.  It gallops right along and you feel like you’re taking body shots from Manny Pacquiao at a rate of, oh, 100 punches per second.  That is how death metal is supposed to feel, at least in my book.  It’s not called flower metal after all, if it’s got the word “death” in the description, it ought to feel like it’s ripping the life out of you.  Or maybe make you feel like you want to rip the life out of someone.  Not that we condone that.

This is a very solid album and if you are a fan of death metal you owe it to yourself to check this out.  A lot has been made of the fact that frontwoman Grace Perry has been with the band since 2006, but is it really that big of a deal if a metal band includes one or more females?  She turns in an amazing vocal performance on this release and the entire band has the sound of a band on the rise.  You can hear that they have paid their dues, put in the hard work to become a unit, and they are ready to make some moves.  I will definitely be checking out the back catalog on the strength of this album.

If you’re not a fan of death metal, “Gallows” probably won’t change your mind.  But if you dig the sound of an apocalypse set to music, if you like your tunes nice and brutal, or you want the aural equivalent of being worked over with a baseball bat, this is your shit right here.

--  ODIN

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