Landmine Marathon – Gallows

Landmine Marathon, from Phoenix, Arizona is getting ready to release their fourth album “Gallows” tomorrow. Despite seeing a slew of reviews praising them in the past, up until now I’ve not really given them a good solid listen to hear what they sound like. So much metal, so little time I guess.

“Gallows” is a pretty impressive slab of extreme metal; I think I’ve been missing out. Looks like I’ll be checking out their back catalog to see what else I can find. The album has a slightly raw sound combined with a good production quality so I’m happy with the way it all sounds. The songs vary from all out fury to slower thunderous moments of plodding destruction. Singer Grace Perry has a formidable harsh vocal style that sounds perfect with this music.

I read online where a guy was saying how Landmine Marathon played in a Bolt Thrower style, and my first thought was disbelief. I hadn’t heard much of Landmine Marathon at the time but that just didn’t seem right to me. Now that I’m paying closer attention I actually see what he means. Bolt Thrower has a rather distinct sound to the later albums, and I hear a bit of that here, particularly in some of the lead guitar work. However, I think Landmine Marathon has a bit more groove in the music and the vocals are higher in pitch than Bolt Thrower. But yeah, I hear it in there.

This album is really clicking with me way more than I ever expected it would. There are extreme metal albums out there that are good and ones that are bad. And then there are some that are great. A good extreme metal album is recorded well and pounds you into the ground. A bad extreme metal album sounds like an unlistenable mess. A great extreme metal album goes beyond good production and punishing songs; it adds a subtle layer of technical nuance that you might miss in all that thrashing and moshing that the style inspires. But if you listen carefully you find yourself in the eye of the tornado where the chaos raging around you fades away and something beautiful is revealed. I feel like “Gallows” is that sort of album.

So don’t just give this a passing listen and then continue on your way. It’s worth the extra attention. Come for the punishment, stay for the beauty.