January 10, 2012 | , | 4

Landmine Marathon, Gallows

Landmine Marathon: Gallows

I enjoyed Landmine Marathon’s last full-length effort, Sovereign Descent. It was a solid helping of bruising death/grind, but it lacked something. The production was tight — maybe too tight — and there was a subtle lack of ferociousness to be found throughout the album. In the end it didn’t really hurt Sovereign Descent’s overall appeal, but it was a marked contrast from the band’s previous material that couldn’t fully be overcome by the album’s improved songwriting.

That, however, is not a statement that can even remotely be applied to their latest release, Gallows. The production is tight, but not nearly as clean and refined as Sovereign. The aggression appears to be at hurricane-force levels once again, as well. Perhaps that’s due to the arrival of new drummer Andy York, who handles himself quite well in his first contribution to Landmine Marathon.

Gallows unleashes a steamroller of thrashing death metal ala early Bolt Thrower like there’s no tomorrow. Riffs are sharp and scathing as the rhythm section detonates large portions of earth at their own free will. Grace Perry continues to be a standout as far as female-fronted metal bands go. Her delivery is so honest and straightforward. It’s always refreshing to hear her let loose with some bowel churning growls and screams.

“Three Snake Leaves” gets right down to business as Perry growls away amongst the pummeling rhythms and galloping riffs. It’s a memorable track that is sure to echo in your brain long after the album has ended. It’s followed up by the quick hitting “Cutting Flesh and Bone,” a song that has plenty of groove and malevolence.

At just over five minutes in length “Knife From My Sleeve” is not only the longest track on the album, but it’s also one of the more punishing, Bolt Thrower influenced bit of death metal I’ve heard in a while. Starting off with a slow moving, monolithic build-up, the track slowly lurches its way to one of the more memorable and well written efforts the band has put on disc to date. The string of “Liver and Lungs,” “Dead Horses” and “Cloaked in Red” combine for nine minutes of bestial devastation in the form of unrelenting drum work, momentum shifting guitars and vocal destruction. “Cloaked in Red,” in particular, shouldn’t be missed as it rips through two and a half minutes of grinding death with little regard to you well being.

Gallows is a step up from the Landmine Marathon’s previous material. It may not be as blindingly fast as older stuff, but what it may lack for in speed, it more than makes up for in substance through more soundly structured songs, memorable music and an aggressive-as-fuck delivery. Perry and crew have delivered the goods with this latest offering.