posted on 4/2010 By:
With the demise of Light This City, the race for the most marketable, Ozzfest-ready, popular female-fronted metal act boils down to Walls of Jericho, In This Moment, The Agonist and to some extent, Arch Enemy. But there’s a dark horse in this race in the form of Arizona’s Landmine Marathon.
Already graced with Grace Perry -- arguably one of the more venomous frontwomen in metal -- the band has flirted with excellence with two full-length albums that strayed from the usual commercial Hot Topic metalcore and instead delved into far more intense thrash and death metal influences, most notably (and surprisingly) Bolt Thrower. But the band still came across as a cheap Walls of Jericho clone. And what better way to enforce your metal credibility than by having Dan Seagrave do your cover art? But beyond that, musically, the band is ready to make some strides into the limelight and do it with a more visceral and brutal take than some of their softer, more commercial peers, and Sovereign Descent shows a band finally reaching their potential.
No ballads, no clean vocals, no interludes... Sovereign Descent is 40 minutes of no-bullshit, rumbling fury that not only puts Grace Perry’s feral voice on display, but shows that, somehow, Landmine Marathon manages to be one of the few bands that truly captures the vibe and essence of Bolt Thrower with a churning, death metal backbone very lightly tinged with thrash and hardcore. (Just listen to openings of “Cruel Policy”, “Flood the Earth” and “Rise with the Tide.”) From opener “Exist” through “Justify the Suffering” and “Chained by the Same Fate” to closer “Rise with the Tide," with a few exceptions, the album has the pace of a runaway steam train, careening down the tracks on a deliberate and unstoppable inevitable collision course. And as you can tell, lyrically, there’s no tales of forlorn love or emotions or anything Twilight fans can relate to.
Perry is even more vitriolic, with her banshee-like screams adding even more intensity to the tracks. And even on the rare occasion, when things are a bit more controlled--like on potential single “Foul Revolt”, and the band's first ‘epic’ song, the 7+ minute “Steadfast Hate,” with its slow-burning, moody, doomy first half--she still shrieks like a hawk/ She's simply relentless; as is the majority of this album, from a band who looks to be on the cusp of something special but is still keeping it real and underground.
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