Due to their ferocious female vocalist Grace Perry and a solid mix of thrash, hardcore and Bolt Thrower, Arizona’s Landmine Marathon have always been in my periphery, but never quite taken it to the next level. With their 2006 debut release Wounded and subsequent split EP , they only come across as a band with lots of potential but still come across as a more rough and grittier version of Walls of Jericho.
Well, with Rusted Eyes Awake, Landmine Marathon looks to have finally peaked and come into their own with a gruff, snarling take on thrash and death metal. Grace Perry is still one of the most feral female vocalist around, without a single clean croon in sight, and with Light This City (Laura Nichol) calling it quits, she has to be considered one of the most vicious female metal vocalists around. Musically, Landmine Marathon continue to have an earthy, tangible Bolt Thrower rumble, but as evidenced by the opening trio of “Bile Towers”, “Certain Death” and “Bled to Oblivion”, a sense of classic, crusty grind prose (think Earache Records’ early years) and pacing has entered the fray and the result is vastly improved band who should start to make waves.
Of course, the Bolt Thrower influence is still heavily present as standout “Xenocide” cements with an opening monstrous lope and calamitous second half. “Heroin Swine” mixes furious blast beats with yet more unmistakable Both Thrower rumbling and chord progressions, shit, the opening chords of “Skin From Skull” made me think a Bolt Thrower cover track was lurching into view, and to be honest, it surprises me that with all the so called ‘real’ death metal band out there, it takes a female fronted under ground act from Arizona to perfectly capture the essence of Bolt Thrower almost 20 years later. Job For A Cowboy’s Jonny Davy gives a geographical shout out/guest appearance on blistering penultimate track “Red Days” and closing title track puts a stern, classically structured end note on the album.
My only gripe is the albums length with only 8 tracks coming in under half and hour, and one (“Skin From Skull”) is from the recent split EP. However, it’s an honest, intense and gritty slab of metal. With the demise of Light This City and Walls Of Jericho softening up, keep an eye on this lot.
Seriously.[Visit the band's website]