Landmine Marathon


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Four albums into their career and Landmine Marathon still can't get anyone to talk about their crusty death/thrash metal talents so much as fetching frontwoman Grace Perry: a lovely maiden whom Satan hath improbably endowed with a (warning: gratuitous Carcass reference coming) cadaveric incubator of endo-parasites for a voice that few blokes can challenge. Released in 2011, Gallows is the Arizona group's latest attempt to overcome this strange handicap, or live with it, or prove the bandmembers really don't give two sh*ts about the whole deal anyway -- but that may be the least of Landmine Marathon's worries after listeners zero in on the album's sub-half-hour running time and the inevitable Reign in Blood-sized expectations imposed by such short, sharp shocks of metallic intensity. We'll spare you the suspense and forewarn that, no, by those lofty standards, Gallows can't possibly hope to compete, but that's not to say there aren't numerous memorable moments here that very successfully weld blazing technicality, apocalyptic fury, and sheer teeth-chattering speed. So much speed, in fact (see "Cutting Flesh and Bone," "Cloaked in Red," etc.), that one must once again ask whether a more appropriate band name might not have been "Landmine Sprint" (just saying) -- even while there are plenty of breakdowns and downtempo shifts sprinkled throughout, along with a bona fide slow burner in the Bolt Thrower vein named "Knife from My Sleeve." All the while, Ms. Perry blends right in with the boys and vice versa, so it remains to be seen whether Landmine Marathon can stop blending in with the competition and start standing out as much for their music as their doe-eyed vocal executioner. To be continued....

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